Comparison of two "soil" samples. To the left, soil from a garden in Norfolk UK. Garden soil contains mineral particles of varying size, from the smallest (clays) through silts and sands, up to small stones. Its humus content is very varaible and depends upon horticultural practice, the use of mulches, fertilisers and other soil conditioners. Garden soils are also the habitat for large numbers of micro-organisms and soil animals, including slugs and many types of small insect.To the right, a sample of a commercial peat compost. Peat is derived from the slow anaerobic decomposition of bog mosses. It is high in humus content, but low in mineral particles and plant nutrients. Commercial composts containing peat have added minerals (such as sands) and added fertilisers. Their use in horticulture is declining due to the environmental impact of peat extraction on lowland and upland bogs.
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