Plants Can’t Swim
- Students will be able to explain the importance of proper drainage and the soil conditions that promote it.
Teach the Teacher
Tools & Materials
- 1 or 2 liter bottle
- Small hand shovel
- Soil sample
The composition of the soil in your raised planters or garden beds can have a profound impact on the growing process. Holding nutrients, allowing for airflow, draining properly, and providing the necessary structural habitat for beneficial microbes and insects are all elements of good soil.
The absence of those attributes can lead to soil compaction, nutrient loss, insufficient microbial activity and an environment that is too wet or dry. But how do you know what kind of soil you have?
Run a basic soil drainage test. The results will provide a baseline for comparison and allow you to better understand the impact of your soil amendments over time.
Transfer a vertical sample of the planter or garden soil to a small container such as a 1 or 2-liter bottle with the bottom cut off. The bottle should be inverted to allow the water to drain through the small hole at the top (which for this test will be the bottom). Measure the rate at which water drains through the soil. Log the result and test it periodically.
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