What is soil?

Soil is home to many plants, worms and little bugs and has plenty of food to keep them strong and healthy. Soil comes in many different colours and textures and takes a very long time to form. But what is soil made of? Do you want to know the secret recipe?

The secret recipe to make the perfect bowl of soil: Water, air, broken bits of rock, minerals, organic matter (bacteria, fungi) and lots and lots of patience!



Different types of soil

Not all soil is the same. Some soils are perfect for plants to grow in, while others are too wet or too dry.

There are 5 main types of soil: 

Sandy soil - doesn’t hold water or nutrients well. It’s too dry.

Clay soil - holds too much water which stops oxygen from passing through. 

Silt soil - is not too dry and not too wet. It holds water and nutrients well so plants like it.

Loam soil - is a mixture of sandy, silt and clay soil. It’s perfect for plants!.

Peat soil - is found in places with lots of water. Only some plants can live here.



Difference between soil and dirt 

Soil is filled with nutrients, it gives plants and living creatures plenty of food.

Dirt is like dead soil, it has nothing inside it and no nutrients to keep the plants and bugs alive.

 

Why is soil important? 

  • Soil is very important for plants and living creatures like worms and snails. It is also important for animals and humans.
  • Plants use soil to hold themselves into the ground with their roots. Soil gives them food to grow. It is a perfect home for little organisms like insects and bacteria but also bigger animals like groundhogs and moles.



  • Soil helps filter and keep water clean.
  • Soil breaks down material and turns it into food.
  • Soil is used to build roadbeds, buildings, and dams.