What is soil?
Soil is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms that together support life.
Soil is a product of the influence of climate, relief (elevation, orientation, and slope of terrain), organisms, and its parent materials (original minerals) interacting over time. Soil continually undergoes development by way of numerous physical, chemical and biological processes, which include weathering with associated erosion. Given its complexity and strong internal connectedness soil has been considered as an ecosystem by soil ecologists.
Soil is used in agriculture, where it serves as the anchor and primary nutrient base for plants; however, as demonstrated by hydroponics, it is not essential to plant growth if the soil-contained nutrients can be dissolved in a solution. The types of soil and available moisture determine the species of plants that can be cultivated.
Soil material is also a critical component in the mining, construction and landscape development industries. Soil serves as a foundation for most construction projects. The movement of massive volumes of soil can be involved in surface mining, road building and dam construction. Earth sheltering is the architectural practice of using soil for external thermal mass against building walls. Many building materials are soil based.
How to Improve Garden Soil Quality
Understanding Your Soil
Improving Your Soil
Once you have explored the quality of your soil, you may need to improve it. The soil in your garden or community plot is your most valuable resource, but without feeding, the quality of your harvests will deteriorate.