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mason jar soil tests  RSS feed

 
steward
Posts: 25188
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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I would like to encourage people to take a soil sample, mix it with water in a mason jar, let it set for a couple of days and then post the results here.

I would like to use these pictures in the upcoming "world domination gardening" 3-DVD set.

 
Posts: 65
Location: NW lower Michigan
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I'm up for it.
For the sake of comparison, do you want to establish an amount of soil, and an amount of water? Quart mason jar?
 
Posts: 151
Location: Cumming, GA
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Is this to show the sand clay organics layering?
 
Posts: 1983
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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Steve Hoskins wrote:I'm up for it.
For the sake of comparison, do you want to establish an amount of soil, and an amount of water? Quart mason jar?



How about two cups of soil, then fill the rest of the mason jar with water? I've been told a drop of soap helps.
 
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We'll Jon the fun! How much dirt and water, etc.?
 
Posts: 32
Location: Minnesota
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Could someone post a couple informative links on this mason jar soil test concept for us newbie to educate ourselves with?
 
paul wheaton
steward
Posts: 25188
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Steve Hoskins wrote:I'm up for it.
For the sake of comparison, do you want to establish an amount of soil, and an amount of water? Quart mason jar?




Quart jar. Half water.
 
paul wheaton
steward
Posts: 25188
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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john giroux wrote:Is this to show the sand clay organics layering?



Yes!

 
Posts: 47
Location: Cascadia Zone 8b Clay
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We did this test last year. If not, I'll do it again.
We followed the instructions in The Intelligent Gardener and it was quite hysterical.
We set the jar on the counter for TWO WEEKS.
It never cleared even one tiny bit.
Our soil is - wait for it - ALL CLAY.

Our swale needed drainage holes. rofl.
We are putting in french drains and swales both because the water
doesn't move otherwise, except in deep gullies worn over the years
of no one doing anything on this property.
We won't need pond liners, either.

For the gardens and planting areas we are building up from the top of the
existing soil. As he said in the book - if it's more than 3/4 clay, just consider it the
subsoil and build from there... so that is what we are doing.

If we didn't take pictures I can do it again for you. I'm sure it will be the same!
 
pollinator
Posts: 910
Location: Longbranch, WA
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I can contrast my sandy soil and my clay soil.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4339
Location: Anjou ,France
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Er.... Mmmmmmmm I am not sure what a mason jar is ?
maybe we call them something else here in France

David
 
Posts: 395
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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mason jars are canning jars, the clear glass jars used in canning. i wonder if mason is a brand or how that word came into being used.
 
Posts: 320
Location: NC (northern piedmont)
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Olivia Helmer wrote: i wonder if mason is a brand



Sort of...They were invented/patented in 1858 by John Landis Mason. The most common U.S. brands of Mason jars are Ball and Kerr.

 
Posts: 29
Location: East MN, SW WI
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Our "brown stuff" is still under "white stuff"
 
Posts: 641
Location: Missoula Mt
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Here are some samples from the pond site as well as the swale site from the Earthworks workshop.
mason-jar-soiltest.jpg
[Thumbnail for mason-jar-soiltest.jpg]
 
Sam Barber
Posts: 641
Location: Missoula Mt
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Here are some from the hugelkultur/lemon tree site.
masonjar-soil-test.jpg
[Thumbnail for masonjar-soil-test.jpg]
masonjar-soil-test2.jpg
[Thumbnail for masonjar-soil-test2.jpg]
masonjar-soil-test3.jpg
[Thumbnail for masonjar-soil-test3.jpg]
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1983
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
71
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These past couple of days have been a washout of flooding and hail and I'm itching to put some soil in some jars
 
gardener
Posts: 723
Location: south central VA 7B
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Here are our from last year - 3 different areas on our VA clay goodness.
mason-jar-soil-test.jpg
[Thumbnail for mason-jar-soil-test.jpg]
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1983
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
71
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paul wheaton wrote:

Steve Hoskins wrote:I'm up for it.
For the sake of comparison, do you want to establish an amount of soil, and an amount of water? Quart mason jar?




Quart jar. Half water.



OK, heading out. Quart jar, half water, how much soil? Drop of soap?
 
Posts: 94
Location: Medford, OR
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soil sample from the Rogue Valley, OR

Upon closer look, there appears to be a gritty level at the bottom and a muddy one above that, then the water and organic matter. I am guessing the level above the grit is the clay.?
mason-jar-soil-test2.jpg
[Thumbnail for mason-jar-soil-test2.jpg]
 
Posts: 6551
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
598
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half soil and half water, shook it up and waited a couple days, soil from the yard and two main growing areas. Pictures have one with a back drop that shows the soil layers and particles better, I think, and one without.
dirt-001.jpg
[Thumbnail for dirt-001.jpg]
dirt-002.jpg
[Thumbnail for dirt-002.jpg]
 
Meryt Helmer
Posts: 395
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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I have been waiting to see if the water would get clearer but I guess this is as clear as it wants to get. I will leave it though and post another picture if it clears up significantly more.
This is from my backyard which is a Bishop Pine forest in California.

 
Posts: 57
Location: aguanga, california
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This has been sitting for 4 days. Taken right outside of our back door in Aguanga, California
soiltest-jar.jpg
[Thumbnail for soiltest-jar.jpg]
 
Posts: 337
Location: PDX Zone 8b 1/6th acre
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Better late than never. This clay is never going to clear.

 
Posts: 198
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This is 3 soil samples from 3 distinct locations. The 1st sample on the left has No growth whatsoever on it, and there are a few patches nearby that are similar. the muddle sample is regular garden soil that is lacking in some regards. the sanple on the right is in an area that does not drain quickly. water will pool up here for a week or more.
jar-soil-test-3.jpg
[Thumbnail for jar-soil-test-3.jpg]
t-0
jar-soil-test-3a.jpg
[Thumbnail for jar-soil-test-3a.jpg]
t-30min
jar-soil-test-3b.jpg
[Thumbnail for jar-soil-test-3b.jpg]
t-3days
 
Posts: 42
Location: Geraldton, Ontario -Zone 1b
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I had expected a high amount of clay but my jar cleared up pretty quickly. The material at the '5 min' line settled down to the current state in a few hours. I'm not sure if there's any clay in here. Am I wrong to consider this a sandy loam?
mason-jar-soiltest.jpg
[Thumbnail for mason-jar-soiltest.jpg]
 
pollinator
Posts: 1152
Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
149
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Here is what the soil in my area (Katy, TX) looks like:
By using the soil by feel chart, the soil where I live is a silty clay loam. By using the calculations and a soil triangle chart, the soil in my area is on the border between silty clay and a silty clay loam.
photo-1.JPG
[Thumbnail for photo-1.JPG]
This is the 2.5 cups mason jar with a measuring tape by it. I did not have a quart mason jar on hand.
photo-5.JPG
[Thumbnail for photo-5.JPG]
This is the soil ribbon.
photo-3.JPG
[Thumbnail for photo-3.JPG]
These are my calculations.
 
gardener
Posts: 3558
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I like the instructions for this test which were published by Colorado State University Extension:
Estimating Soil Texture -- Sandy, Loamy, or Clayey?

It recommends measuring the sand layer after one minute, and the silt level after 2 hours, and the clay layer after days or weeks.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
gardener
Posts: 3558
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Here's what the mason jar soil test looks like for my kitchen garden, I started the test 2 days ago...

clay 5%
silt 61%
sand 34%

That would make it a silt loam.
mason-jar-soil-test-2.jpg
[Thumbnail for mason-jar-soil-test-2.jpg]
mason jar soil composition test
using-soil-triangle.png
[Thumbnail for using-soil-triangle.png]
Using soil triangle to classify soil type
 
Posts: 97
Location: Western OK, avg rain 23" hazards: drought, tornado, wildfire
10
homestead
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I found this thread when I was searching for soil texture testing. Here is the worksheet we used in my permaculture class. I'm wondering if I need to get the small lumps out of the soil I'm testing. It has been sitting for a few months since I got back from the farm. I just used a potato masher on it but it has tiny hard bits of soil in it still. It is a mix of 10 or 15 samples from the area where a garden will go. i can put the soil in the Ninja blender.

SEDIMENTATION TEST OF SOIL TEXTURE

Purpose:

Measure the relative amounts of sand, silt and clay in a soil sample.  This activity is based on the fact that large, heavy particles will settle most rapidly in water; while small, light particles will settle most slowly.  The laundry detergent is used to dissolve the soil aggregates and keep the individual soil particles separated.

Objective:

1. Determine and calculate the amount of sand, silt and clay in a given soil sample.
2. Determine the textural class by using a textural soil triangle.
3. Recognize the differences in soil textures.

Materials:

 Soil sample
 One-pint fruit jar with lid
 Distilled water
 Eight percent Calgon solution - mix 3 tablespoons of Calgon per one-pint of water or 1 teaspoon non foaming laundry detergent
 Metric ruler
 Measuring cup
 Tablespoon

Procedure:

1. Place a 1/2 cup of soil sample in the jar. Add 1.5 cups of distilled water and 3 tablespoons of the Calgon solution.

2. Cap the jar, and shake for 5 minutes. Leave the jar on the desk. Allow it to settle for 24
hours.

3. After 24 hours, measure the depth of the settled soil using the metric system. All soil particles have settled. This is known as the TOTAL DEPTH. Record and label the total depth of soil.

4. Shake the jar for another 5 minutes. Allow it to stand 40 seconds. This enables the sand
to settle. Measure the depth of the settled soil using the metric system, and record as SAND DEPTH.

5. Do not shake the jar again. Let it stand for another 30 minutes. Measure the depth by subtracting the sand depth to determine the SILT DEPTH.  Record and label the data.

6. The remaining unsettled particles are clay. Calculate the CLAY DEPTH by subtracting the silt and sand depth from total depth.

7. Now calculate the percentage of each soil texture using these formulas:

                 SAND DEPTH
% SAND = ----------------------- X 100
                 TOTAL DEPTH


                SILT DEPTH
% SILT = ----------------------- X 100
                TOTAL DEPTH


                 CLAY DEPTH
% CLAY = ----------------------- X 100
                TOTAL DEPTH



Record data in box. Draw a diagram of soil sample in jar.

denise
























 
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