What Is Soil Components?
Soil is the vital seed bed of the plant. It helps determine the plant’s chances of survival after the hard work of planting seeds and waiting for the crops to grow. The type of soil determines the plant’s requirements in terms of nutrients, water and space. In other words, it is the foundation on which the whole garden is built.
Soils are generally made up of decomposed organic materials such as dead plants, animal waste and human beings’ waste and dead plant matter. Soils are also composed of collagens, clays, calcite, silt, silica, trace elements, potassium clay, and magnesium sulfate. Soils are categorized into two: wet and dry. Wet soils form before deposition of the soil and become fixed as they are mixed with air, water and other substances. Soils dry out as they pass through time from weathering and thus become suitable for plants to grow in. Most of the earths soils undergo several changes before they settle down to their specific conditions.
A soil profile is the way in which different areas of an earths surface are distributed. Soils are classified into two: flat and sloping. Flat soils have no distinct structure whereas slopes are hilly and are differentiated by how their topography is formed. The topography and level of water and other resources availability affect the level of soil fertility. Soils with steep slopes have less fertile soils than those with flat or hilly surfaces.
Soils are usually decomposed or broken down to their constituent parts, the component parts being the earths living organisms (or their remains). Soils with plenty of these organisms (called ‘nutrients’) and organisms are said to be ‘fertile’, whereas soils with little or no of these organisms are said to be ‘unfertile’. A good example of unproductive soil is clay soils, as clay soils contain no living organisms. Clay soils are therefore less fertile than soils containing living organisms.
Soils are not only composed of living organisms, but they also contain other mineral constituents. These mineral constituents can either be basic (carbonate) or trace. They can react with each other or with soil minerals such as potassium or magnesium to form new minerals. Soil minerals are mostly found in clays, gypsum, humus, and decayed plant materials. In a number of cases, the parent materials in soils may be decomposed rocks and fossils, but they are most often soil minerals.
Some of the most important soils are the ones that contain both organic matter (for example, plant matter) and inorganic matter (for example, sodium chloride). The components in soils are made up of primary (carbon-based) and secondary (sulfur-based) matter. The primary matter is the material that is mainly responsible for carrying water and nutrients to the roots of plants, and is therefore generally alkaline in nature. The inorganic matter, on the other hand, consists of a variety of minerals such as iron, aluminum, manganese, zinc, and calcium. Soils with a combination of these two parent materials are termed composites.