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mason jar soil tests

 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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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.

 
Steve Hoskins
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?
 
john giroux
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Location: Cumming, GA
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Is this to show the sand clay organics layering?
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
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.
 
Lindsay Hodge
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We'll Jon the fun! How much dirt and water, etc.?
 
Quintin Holmberg
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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
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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
master steward
Posts: 20425
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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john giroux wrote:Is this to show the sand clay organics layering?


Yes!

 
Adam Baker
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Tag for later...
 
joseph wittenberg
Posts: 57
Location: aguanga, california
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Quintin Holmberg wrote:Could someone post a couple informative links on this mason jar soil test concept for us newbie to educate ourselves with?


Here is a link that seems to explain it
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/214.html

 
Becky Mundt
Posts: 45
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!
 
Hans Quistorff
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Posts: 649
Location: Longbranch, WA
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I can contrast my sandy soil and my clay soil.
 
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 plan to do it this weekend.
 
David Livingston
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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
 
Meryt Helmer
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.
 
David Livingston
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Thanks
 
Susan Doyon
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Location: Massachusetts
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I will look and see if I have a quart mason jar !
 
Joe Braxton
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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.

 
Holly Turner
Posts: 11
Location: Potosi, Missouri (zone 6a)
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I'm in!
 
Jeff Bartol
Posts: 29
Location: East MN, SW WI
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Our "brown stuff" is still under "white stuff"
 
Sam Barber
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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.
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Sam Barber
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Location: Missoula Mt
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Here are some from the hugelkultur/lemon tree site.
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Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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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
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 660
Location: south central VA 7B
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Here are our from last year - 3 different areas on our VA clay goodness.
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Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
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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?
 
Gail Saito
Posts: 88
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.?
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Judith Browning
Posts: 5613
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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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.
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mary yett
Posts: 74
Location: Manitoulin Island - in the middle of Lake Huron .Mindemoya,Ontario- Canadian zone 5
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Is there a time line for this? We still have several feet of snow.
 
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.

 
joseph wittenberg
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
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Charles Tarnard
Posts: 337
Location: PDX Zone 8b 1/6th acre
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Better late than never. This clay is never going to clear.

 
Daniel Kern
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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.
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Mike Sved
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?
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Dave Burton
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Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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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.
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This is the 2.5 cups mason jar with a measuring tape by it. I did not have a quart mason jar on hand.
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This is the soil ribbon.
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These are my calculations.
 
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