soil in Australia

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

Make the most of your garden soil and keep plants thriving with this guide for enriching garden soil with fertilizer and mulch.
To get the most out of your productive crops and ornamental plants, you may need to improve the fertility or moisture-retaining capacity of your garden soil. There are many ways to go about this, following organic or chemical methods. 

Understanding Your Soil

The type of soil you have in your garden determines everything from how easy it is to dig to what kind of plants you can grow. Here's how to better understand what you've got.
Getting to know your soil is an essential part of the garden design process. The type of soil you have in your garden determines how well it retains water and nutrients, how easy it is to dig and the type of plants that thrive in it.

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.