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A Soil Primer
by Paulette Mouchet

Originally published in American Rose

The basis for successful organic gardening is excellent soil. The better the soil, the better the plant. What is excellent soil? There are three aspects to defining soil: texture, structure, and porosity.

Soil texture is essentially the percentages of clay, sand, and silt. The National Gardening Associationís Gardening for Dummies has a simple test for approximating soil texture. Take a handful of moist soil and squeeze it into a ball. Work the soil into the shape of a ribbon by pressing and rolling it between your thumb and forefinger. Stand the ribbon straight up.

If you canít make a ribbon without it falling apart, the soil is at least 50% by volume sand with very little clay. If the ribbon is much less that 2" long before it breaks, the soil has about 25% clay. If the ribbon is between 2" and 3.5", it has about 40% clay. If it is still together and longer than 3.5", then it is at least 50% clay.

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