10 Things You Might Not Have Known About Soil

February 11, 2013

Planting season may seem far off with snow still on the ground in many parts of North America, but it’s never too early to start planning next year’s garden. To get you thinking green, here are 10 facts you may not have known about soil.

  1. Less than 10 percent of Earth’s surface is covered with usable soil. That’s all the land we have to grow the world’s entire food supply!
  2. Soil is slow-growing stuff: A single inch of topsoil can take 500 years to form.
  3. Soil doesn’t hang around forever. According to the NRI, the US currently loses topsoil at a rate of three tons per acre per year.
  4. Crops grown in soil amended with compost have been shown to have equivalent yields to those grown with artificial fertilizers and chemicals. [Source: Rodale Institute]
  5. Earthworms are nature’s plows – they loosen soil, allowing air and water in to help the roots of plants grow.  One worm can process the equivalent of its own weight in soil each day. With more than a million earthworms per acre in some places, that makes for very fertile soil.
  6. According to the EPA, supplementing soil with compost improves the strength of the plants, which helps control certain diseases.
  7. Soil stores 0.01 percent of the Earth’s water: that’s more than 32,000 cubic miles of water!
  8. Soil comes in many colors. For example, red or yellow soil may indicate iron content, and black soil usually means a high concentration of decomposed organic matter.
  9. Live somewhere rainy? Use the improved structural properties associated with compost to make your soil more absorbent: Just three inches on a slope can eliminate run-off from a two-inch rainfall!
  10. One spade full of rich garden soil can contain a larger number of organisms than live in the entire Amazon rain forest above ground.

Keep these facts in mind as you plan next year’s garden, knowing that by gardening you’re helping spread green! While you’re at it check out Harvest Garden Pro’s wide range of natural soils and mulches.

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