The Science of Soil: What Every Gardener Should Know

The Science of Soil: What Every Gardeners Should Know is a must-read for gardeners who want to grow sustainable food. The book is ideal for small-scale farmers, as well as large-scale growers who have realized that soil science is missing from their practice. The book is user-friendly and packed with soil-based common sense.


Composting involves a process where organic matter breaks down and becomes useful soil amendment. Fungi, molds, and bacteria all play a part. Red wiggler worms are able to break down up to ten pounds of food waste in a day. Other organisms such as bacteria and fungi break down tougher materials. In addition, the decomposition process is optimized by the symbiotic relationships between microorganisms. Each compost heap has a different population of microorganisms depending on its age and thermal phase.

Compost is composed of 100% organic matter, including plant and animal waste. Heat-loving soil microbes convert these materials into a rich, nutrient-rich soil. When added to soil, compost increases its water-holding capacity. It also improves its structure and prevents compaction. Soil compaction is a major factor in reducing crop yield. Therefore, compost applications are an effective soil amendment.

Peat moss

Peat moss is a very useful soil amendment, and can be used in a variety of garden projects. Its moisture-retentive properties make it ideal for plants and vegetables. It also has an excellent cation exchange capacity. It is also highly resistant to compaction, which makes it a great choice for DIY potting mixes. Another major advantage of peat moss is that it is sterile and does not harbor bacteria or weed seeds. Seacliff Organics sell good quality peat moss and even sphagnum moss if you’re interested in taking your gardening to the next level.

The vast majority of peat moss sold in North America comes from Canada, which is increasing production to meet demand for soilless media. Canada has more than 73,000 acres of peatland, and only 0.03 percent of that area is harvested each year. Peatland restoration is a key part of the peat moss industry’s mandate, which includes re-establishing water tables, restoring plant species, and replenishing peatlands. According to Paul Short, president of the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association, peatland restoration programs are well underway in Canada.

Rock dust

Rock dust has a multitude of benefits for the health of soil and crops. Its micronized mineral content makes it readily available to plants. It can also improve the balance of nutrients in soil. It can be used liberally as an organic fertilizer. It works best when applied to suitable soil gradation. Maximum application rates are usually 5 pounds per 100 square feet. The actual rate will depend on the type of soil, pH, and organic matter content. The volume and frequency of applications are also determined by the type of particle size and the proximity of the source.

In addition, rock dust can effectively control pests. While conventional agriculture relies on noxious chemicals, rock dust can prevent insect damage by limiting their population. It is environmentally safe and does not breed resistant pests. In addition, it is cost-effective.

Organic matter

Organic matter in soil plays a major role in crop growth and soil health. Its presence in soil promotes numerous soil processes and is essential to many regional and global cycles. Whether it is living or dead, soil organic matter is essential for crop growth and sustainability. In addition, it protects and nourishes plants.

Organic matter in soil is made up of various types of organic materials that are in various stages of decomposition. The most important component is soil humus, which is relatively resistant to microbial degradation. Humus is an important component of soil fertility, as it helps maintain optimum physical conditions and promotes plant growth. Organic matter also contains heterotrophic biomass, which is composed of soil microorganisms.

Soil organic matter has many beneficial properties, including the ability to store and sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide. This property of soil makes it an important source of carbon dioxide and a sink for it. However, extractive farming practices can have negative effects on the nutrient balance and contribute to soil degradation. Recent studies have revealed that 78 – 12 Gt of C has been depleted from soil in the last century. This amount dwarfs the C produced by fossil fuel combustion. As such, enhancing the soil organic matter pool is an important challenge.


Soil pH testing is an important part of gardening. Not only can it help you get a better idea of the pH of your soil, but it also provides you with specific recommendations for what fertilizers to add. A soil pH test can be obtained by purchasing a kit from a garden centre or an agricultural laboratory. The kits are simple to use and require you to take a sample of soil. Make sure you follow the instructions for sampling carefully.

Soil pH is important for a garden because it will affect the health of the plants and the condition of soil-dwelling organisms. Generally, soil that is slightly acidic will be more friendly to most plants. Microorganisms that convert nitrogen from the air into a nutrient are more likely to grow well in slightly acidic conditions.

Cation exchange capacity

Soil cation exchange capacity (CEC) is the ability of soil to hold chemical nutrients in solution. This capacity is influenced by pH and the amount of organic matter in the soil. Soils with more clay and organic matter will have higher CEC. The availability of cations is critical to soil fertility.

Various methods exist to measure cation exchange capacity. In one method, a sample of soil is added to a cation exchanger solution. In another method, the soil is amended with barium chloride and substituted with magnesium. However, this method is not fast and requires extensive analytical procedures.

In soils with low CEC, calcium is the dominant cation. As a result, it is available for plant uptake. But low cation exchange capacity soils usually contain very low levels of calcium. These soils are typically leached, weathered, and coarse-textured. In addition, acidic soils often have low calcium content because of high aluminum saturation. On the other hand, moderately weathered soils tend to have higher levels of calcium.


In order to understand the effects of raindrops on soil, a thorough understanding of soil quality and erosion is necessary. Soil erosion is a three-phase process that involves the detachment of soil particles from the soil mass, transport, and sedimentation. However, few studies have looked at the impact of raindrops on soil losses, particularly in semi-arid environments with poor vegetation cover. Therefore, this study sought to determine the role of raindrop impact on soil loss and change.

Raindrop splashing is a key process in the transport of sediment from soil to the air. The particles detached by raindrops contribute to sediment transport in different ways, which vary with their size and surface conditions. These factors influence the flow path development, sediment transport, and source and sink dynamics. In addition, landscape may influence wind-driven raindrops.

Organic matter in the soil

Soil organic matter is a very important component of the soil that helps plants grow. It can be found in various forms, ranging from trace amounts to up to 20% of the total mass. Soil organic matter is made up primarily of carbon, with small amounts of oxygen, hydrogen, and phosphorus. It also contains a wide variety of intermediate forms, including resistant organic matter, active organic fraction, and microorganisms.

Organic matter accumulates in the soil over a long period of time. This process allows it to release nutrients into the soil. Even a one percent increase in soil organic matter can release about twenty pounds of nitrogen, 4.5 to 6.6 pounds of phosphorus pentoxide, and two to three pounds of sulfur. Organic matter releases nutrient more rapidly during the spring and summer, which is especially beneficial for summer crops. Besides releasing nutrients, organic matter also releases most of its weight as water. A single percent of soil organic matter can hold as much as 16,500 gallons of water per acre.

Organic matter in the soil food web

The soil food web is a complex system of organisms that eat organic matter in the soil and break it down. These organisms include bacteria and fungi, which break down organic matter and make it available for plant life. Other animals, such as nematodes and protozoa, feed on these organisms. Arthropods, which break down organic matter and provide food for other arthropods, are also important members of the soil food web.

The soil food web is a complicated system of organisms that interact with plants and soil to maintain the balance of nutrients and water. A healthy soil food web helps plants retain water and improves soil structure. It also prevents the buildup of toxins and manure in the soil. However, despite the benefits of soil biology, the soil food web is affected by activities that alter the soil, including the use of chemical-based pesticides and herbicides.