Public Lab Wiki documentation


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What is soil?

Healthy soil is made from the following: +Minerals (45%). +Organic Matter (5%). +Water (25%). +Air (25%).

It is home to countless microorganisms, plants and animals.

The Soil Triangle.

The soil triangle is used in the USA to classify the texture of the soil based on the amount of sand, silt & clay.


Testing Soil: The Settlement Test.

This is used to work out the ratio of sand: silt: cley.

All you need is a soil sample, a jar and some water.

1.Take the jar and measure the volume.

2.Fill the jar about 2/3 full with water.

3.Take your soil sample & remove any big clumps of matter (e.g.sticks & stones).

4.Fill the jar with soil until it reaches the rim.

5.Put on the lid and then vigorously shake the jar until all the soil particles are mixed into the water.

6.Leave the jar for a few hours until the sediments have settled to the bottom of the jar.

There should now be three distinct layers at the bottom of the jar + the water left on top. These layers should be, from the top down, cley, silt & sand.

All you then have to do is to mark a line on the jar at the edge of each layer & do the math using the soil triangle above to work out the texture of your soil sample.

Testing Soil: The Ribbon Test.