Soil Test in a Glass Jar
Test your soil with this interesting scientific experiment!
- 25-30 oz glass jar
- Soil – see below
- Measuring cup
- Dish soap
- First find a 25-30 oz glass jar with lid. Could be bigger but not smaller.
- Look for areas near your home with different types of vegetation. For example: near the beach and up a mountain (2 samples to compare).
- With the help of an adult, use a shovel to take out soil sample (at least 12” deep).
- Add 1 cup of soil + ½ tsp dish soap + 2 cups of water.
- 1 part soil : 2 parts water
- Shake well until everything is mixed and let sit for 24 hours
After 24 hours check your experiment. As with any experiment, It is a good idea to take notes in your nature journal, of your procedures and findings.
- Bottom layer will be sand.
- Middle layer will be silt.
- Top layer will be clay.
- Organic matter will float to top.
Ask an adult to help you collect data on your experiment.
If you find equal parts of sand and silt with a small layer of clay…..YOU HAVE GOOD SOIL!
- 40% sand + 40% silt +20% clay + floating organic matter = GOOD SOIL!!!!!
|Sandy Soils||Clay Soils|
|drain too quickly||do not drain well|
|are unable to retain moisture or nutrients to feed your plant||retain too much moisture and might drown plant|
|can be corrected by adding compost||can be corrected by adding equal amounts of sand and compost|
The pH Test:
Test your soil’s pH with a simple and FUN experiment. Don’t forget to always take notes in your nature journal.
- glass of water
- baking soda
- Grab a spoonful of dry soil and add a few drops of vinegar.
- If it fizzes you have alkaline soil (>7.5)
- Clean spoon and grab new spoonful of soil, add a few drops of water and sprinkle some baking soda.
- if it fizzes your soil is acidic (<5)
Always remember junior gardeners, the best ways to maintain happy balanced soil is to add 2-3 inches of compost on top of your garden as a mulch. It is cheap, retains moisture, attracts earthworms (that tickle roots) and keeps plants fed.
- soil – a complex mixture of minerals, water, air, organic matter, and countless organisms that are the decaying remains of once-living things. It forms at the surface of land – it is the “skin of the earth.” Soil is capable of supporting plant life and is vital to life on earth.
- sand – tiny, loose grains of ground rock, found on beaches and in deserts
- clay – a heavy, sticky material from the earth that is made into different shapes and that becomes hard when it is baked or dried
- silt – fine particles of earth, clay or sand that eventually settle out of water
- organic matter – matter composed of organic compounds that has come from the remains of organisms such as plants and animals and their waste products in the environment.
- sample – a small quantity of something
- compost – Most gardens thrive with the help of a compost This rotted, homemade mixture of organic matter is often called synthetic manure. Compost supplies plants with food and improves soil structure.
- nature journal – where you can keep a record of observations and experiment procedures
- pH – is a measure of how acidic or basic the substance is. Measured on a scale from 0 to 14, pH is based on the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution
- alkaline – having a pH above 7
- acid – having a pH less than 7
- junior gardener – you
sourced from Life Lab, Wikipedia and CultivatorsCorner.com