Soil Is LivingSoil is alive with living organisms such as worms, fungi, insects, bacteria, and organic matter. It supports life with its naturally occurring nutrients and minerals, making it a perfect planting medium. It is a complete and self-sustaining ecosystem. Sand, silt, clay, and organic matter make up soil. The different sized particles create texture and structure, which aid in aeration and drainage. Soil color shows its mineral content. Different soil types are described by their properties. When this magnificent living thing called soil leaves the garden on your hands or clothes, it gets displaced and is now defined as dirt. Nan Fischer
Dirt Is DeadDirt is made up of sand, silt, and clay, and it may be rocky. It has none of the minerals, nutrients, or living organisms found in soil. It is not an organized ecosystem. There is no topsoil or humus, no worms or fungi. Lacking texture and structure, dirt does not compact when wet, unlike a handful of soil. The result is run-off and erosion. An old dirt road comes to mind with this definition. Dirt is dead and does not support life. You cannot plant a productive garden in dirt.
Soil FormationAll soil began as dirt. Natural soil formation takes thousands or millions of years, as rocks erode into sand and organic matter decays and accumulates. To archaeologists, the resulting layers of soil represent time, each telling how and when it was created. To them, dirt has no history. Think of that landslide again. Ancient layers of healthy soil wash away to a new location with no topsoil, no layers, no organization, and no history. Now it’s a pile of dirt, and the process of soil building must begin again. There are five factors that affect soil formation:
- Relief (landscape)
- Parent material
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