Soil is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms that support life on Earth by supporting plant growth and water supply.
Scientists are discovering that soil has a microbiome, much like our own digestive system, and that there are more soil microorganisms than people on Earth.
Soil organisms interact with plants in fascinating ways that are only now being discovered. For example, trees communicate with each other by a natural “internet” of mycorrhizae.
Spending time with your hands in the soil can have a cathartic effect, and soil microbiomes may contain antidepressants.
Mother Nature uses dead plants and animals to keep the soil healthy and fertile. Fallen leaves and weeds help prevent soil erosion.
Soil Facts for Kids
- Healthy soil is dark and rich and has worm castings and manure in it.
- The water drains out of the soil, but not too quickly.
- Manure provides plants with nutrients.
- Manure should not be applied fresh since it can burn plants.
- Composting manure is a better option than applying it fresh.
Soil is a complex mixture of minerals, water, air, organic matter, and countless organisms that has been subjected to and showed effects of genetic and environmental factors over a period of time.
It provides a habitat for many animals, toxins for plants, and nutrients for living things. It is also used for foundations, roadbeds, dams, and buildings.
There are different types of soil, each with its own set of characteristics, forming a soil profile, which tells a story about the life of a soil.
Soil can die
Agricultural practices like excessive tilling, chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and lack of deep-rooted native prairie grasses can kill soil ecosystems and lead to the degradation of soil ecosystems.
Forests are burned in the tropics for agriculture, but the soils that live beneath the forests are left with nothing to grow on, and the cycle repeats, destroying both soils and forests in the process.
Soil is a non-renewable resource
Soils form from the slow physical, chemical, and biological weathering of bedrock. Soil erosion can wipe out thousands of years of soil formation in a matter of moments.
A massive amount of carbon is stored in the soils, and some of that carbon is released into the atmosphere when soil is tilled.
Soil is a major component of the Earth’s ecosystem and impacts the world’s ecosystems in many ways. Soil also holds carbon and can add carbon to the atmosphere as the planet warms.
Soil v Dirt
The difference between soil and dirt is a matter of connotation. So next time the subject comes up, use the word “soil” instead of “dirt.”