Soil is the basic unaltered form of surface earth which we can see in daily life. But due to growth of cities and urbanization, the chances of getting in touch with soil daily has gone down drastically. It seems there are millions of people whose feet have not touched the soil for many long years. But feel of the soil is immense and heart touching. It reduces mental stress and enhances blood flow to the soles and thereby bring about normalization of blood pressure. In psychological terms, daily feel of the soil by foot seems to reduce negative thoughts and bring in positive out look. So soil has prime importance and has to be conserved.
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Soil is the loose superficial layer of earth’s crust mingled with organisms, water and air forming a thin layer on land surface ranging from few inches to few feet in thickness.
Properties of soil & its features:
♠ Soil is upper most layer of earth crust. It is of considerable thickness and can be classified into different soil layers.
♠ The three soil layer are classified as A-horizon, B-horizon, C-horizon. A-horizon is suitable for plant growth due to high fertility. B-horizon holds water while C-horizon is of rock and is less suitable for plant growth.
♠ The depth of soil getting wet rises with the length of raining. If time of rain is short, the thickness of soil which gets wet is low. So rains with long duration are better for wetting the soil and also raise ground water levels.
♠ Soil entrapped air has high concentration of CO2 and low concentration of O2. In water stagnant soil, O2 concentration is even lower.
♠ Based on diameter, soil is classified as coarse gravel, fine gravel, coarse sand, fine sand, silt and clay.
♠ Water from the soil is available to the plants by capillary action.
♠ Loam soil is most suitable for plant growth due to optimal aeration and water holding properties.
♠ Humus is increases soil porosity and water capacity of soil. It is formed due to decomposition of dead remains of organisms.
♠ Soil microbes especially saprophytic (eats decaying matter) and nitrogen-fixing ones are beneficial to soil fertility.