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The structure of a garden soil

The structure of a garden soil

C021/5131

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Credit

DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

The surface of the soil in a garden in Norfolk UK. The long edge of the picture represents 8cm in the original subject.Soil is a complex mixture of different components, that initially arises from the weathering of rocks. Here, this component is visible as small stones and sand particles, embedded in much finer materials ( clays ). A fertile soil also contains humus, the organic remains of plants that have previously grown in the soil. Good natural soil is not just a substrate for plant or crop growth; it is the habitat of many living creatures. These may be large ( worms, woodlice ) or microscopic ( bacterial cells, fungal hyphae ). The picture shows a worked garden soil from a dry region of the UK. The gardener has removed large stones, so the soil is rather uniform in texture. It is an ordinary garden soil, of a lightish hue due to low levels of humus.

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