Samples of loam and garden soil

Samples of loam and garden soil

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Samples of turf loam (left) and garden soil (right). Loam is made by cutting turves and stacking them for 6 months or more. It contains low levels of humus derived from decomposed grass, and has a high mineral content comprising particles of small size, from clays and silts up to sand.The soil (right) is from a garden in Norfolk, UK. Compared to the loam, is has larger mineral particles, from grit up to small stones. The quality of loam and of soil as growing media varies greatly. This is due to the nature of original turf in the case of loam, and of horticultural skill and practice in the case of garden soils. Loam is the basis for "John Innes" composts; its natural properties are enhanced in the commercial product by the addition of humus ( leaf mould or peat ), additional drainage materials ( sand and grit ), and fertilisers, including nitrogen, potash, and lime to adjust the pH.

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Keywords: biological, biology, botanical, botany, clay, fertiliser, grit, humus, john innes compost, loam, mineral, sand, silt, soil, turf loam

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