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Tuesday
Mar272012

It's Science - Part 2

To continue on with our soil testing, I promised I would discuss how to calculate your soil composition.

We left off last time with our mason jars half filled with soil and half filled with water sitting overnight to settle.  We then measured the contents of the soil once they settled.  They layer with sand on the bottom, clay in the middle and silt on top.  As you can see from my sample, we have very sandy soil. Which is great for air porosity and general workability, but sand doesn't do a good job of hanging onto soil nutrients.  Anyhow, back to the calculation.  The total height of the settled soil in jar 1 came to 1.75", with sand taking up 1.5", clay 0.5" and silt 0.25".  I changed these into percentages - sand 57%, clay 29% and silt 14%.  Then to determine the composition you need to look at a soil texture triangle.  There is an online one here that you can just plug your percentages into and it will determine your soil for you. My samples from both fields lay in the sandy clay loam area.  Not a surprising result, but a fun experiment nonetheless.

 

Next I am taking the liquid from these two jars and using the Rapitest Soil Test Kit to roughly figure out the available nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the soil.  From this, it will be good to know what ammendments are needed before I start planting.

 

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