Gardening Guide to Growing Organic Vegetables, Herbs And Fruit

Soil Layers

Soil Layers

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Soil Layers: Soil is composed of three basic layers: the topsoil, the subsoil, and lastly, the parent matter.

The Topsoil

Topsoil takes years to form; its formation is a byproduct of the incorporation of lots of organic matter created by the decomposition of animals and dead plants. This soil houses numerous living organisms and a large number of the plant’s feeding roots exist in this layer. By adding organic matter regularly to this layer, you can improve its quality.

The Subsoil

Subsoil is considerably low in nutritional content compared to topsoil and is not friendly to the plant’s roots. When digging, you should bring small amount of it to the surface. You can mix it with the topsoil to convert it into the healthy and favorable topsoil.

Double digging is a useful practice that disintegrates the subsoil, which in turn enhances the drainage and does not bring it to the soil’s surface as well. The subsoil’s nature plays quite an impact on the soil’s water-holding ability. If your garden’s soil contains rocky or sandy subsoil that drains freely, you have to improve the content of its organic matter and consequently the topsoil’s water-holding ability. As opposed to this, if your garden’s subsoil comprises of heavy clay that drains quite poorly, you need the help of an additional artificial drainage system.

Parent Material

The parent material forms the third layer of soil. It consists of the original nutrients and minerals that resulted in the soil’s formation. The parent material is usually deep; therefore, it does not bother the gardener much. However, if the parent material in your garden is close to the surface, you need to increase the topsoil’s depth by adding organic matter to it.

In addition to learning about the soil’s layers, you need to know of the five basic soil types. Knowing this will help you know how to care for a certain soil type. Let us look at the various types of soils.