Less than 15 hours left in our kickstarter!

New rewards and stretch goals. CLICK HERE!



  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Soil jar composition test shows no layers  RSS feed

 
Kim Dostaler
Posts: 8
Location: Northwest Vermont
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hi! i am testing the soil in my new, very tiny front yard. i'm in an "urban" area but it's vermont so it's not really that urban. my composition test is showing no layers. (photo attached)...so i'm not sure how to tell what kind of soil it is. I looked up soil composition for my area and it says this:

"Ap--0 to 7 inches, very dark grayish brown (2.5Y 3/2) slaty loam; strong fine and medium granular structure; friable; many roots; 15 percent coarse fragments; slightly acid; clear smooth boundary. (6 to 10 inches thick)."

so, my guess is it's this "slaty loam." But what exactly does that mean? is there clay or silt in it? I thought loam was supposed to mean a mixture of sand, clay and silt. so i'm wondering why no layers have formed...

any help is appreciated!
photo(1).JPG
[Thumbnail for photo(1).JPG]
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
58
books fungi hugelkultur solar wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kim If you are truly lucky your clay boundary may be down a couple of yards deep, and your soil is a deep eddy pocket, were you looking to find clay? I had to go look up the
definition of 'loam' and your definition matches the book's ! I can only agree that you sample appears to be mostly silt, very low on sand and no visible traces of clay, Clay rich
soils compact, easily, and don't drain well, and sand drains to freely, What your sample shows is a need for Organic material and some sand to drain through below it !

Try going deeper, and see what you find, also what does your guide say specifically about sub-soil types in your area ! While a little confusing at least you are not starting with
major problems ! Grab the shovel and dig !

Was there a reason you wanted clay ? Big AL
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2392
79
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
From the picture, it looks like all silt.

If you want to go beyond the shake-in-a-jar test, you are going to have to put it through some sieves to get a better idea of the particle size. If it is 15% "coarse fragments" you should be able to get a fine screen that will hold back that fraction. Some bacon spatter screens that you can buy at the dollar store have a mesh that size.

And on the other end, separating the silt from the clay, you can probably use a cloth filter to see if there is any clay that is small enough to wash through. There is probably a relation between the thread count of sheets and the size of particles they will pass, but it's getting too late for me to look that up today. If it's really important to you, let me know and I can work up a test method for you.
 
Joe Portale
Posts: 24
Location: Tucson, AZ Zone 9A
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I usually don't care what type of soil my garden has. Dig down 2 shovel spoon lengths, augment the heck out of it with compost, potting soil and vermiculite anyplace plants will go. You want to do a perk test and see how that stuff drains.
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
John Elliott wrote: If it is 15% "coarse fragments" you should be able to get a fine screen that will hold back that fraction. Some bacon spatter screens that you can buy at the dollar store have a mesh that size.


We've got lots of coarse silt fragments in our decomposed granite. Better to screen them out? What difference does it make?
 
Seth Wetmore
Posts: 158
Location: Some where in the universe in space and time.
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Looks alot like silt or fine sand. Regardless of what it is ADD Organic matter. Leaves, twigs, bark, branches, lawn clippings, egg shells, coffee grounds, any none meat kitchen scraps, Anything to improve the structure of what you have there. The soil test you did I hope was inexspensive. Because the sollution is going to be the same from anyone who looks at it. Add organic material. Clay could help but to much and you will be going the wrong direction. plant many varieties of plants to account for the poor structure. chop and drop any weeds and waste plants, or nonusefull plants. When in doubt raised beds.
 
The City calls upon her steadfast protectors. Now for a tiny ad:
2017 Homesteaders PDC (permaculture design course) & ATC (appropriate technology course) in Montana
https://permies.com/wiki/61764/Homesteaders-PDC-permaculture-design-ATC
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!