Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thursday Thirteen: The Year of Soil

Did you know that 2015 is the International Year of Soil? Dirt is kind of important but it's probably not something most people think about (except to vacuum it up or sweep it out).

Here is the dirt on dirt:

1. There are three types of soil: clay, silt and sand. Most soils are a blend of all three types.

2.  Soil holds 0.01% of the Earth's water. Soil is composed of 49% Oxygen, 33% Silicone, 7% Aluminum, 4% Iron, and 2% Carbon; half of soil (50%) is air and water. The remainder is minerals and organic matter.

3. Soil is created by the breaking down of rocks, usually by weather. After the rocks crumble, soil is created by the addition of organic materials from decaying plants and animals.

4. Soil needs microorganisms to break down the organic matter.

5. Topsoil, the uppermost layer of soil, has the highest amount of humus and microorganisms. Most plants get their food from this layer of soil.

6. It takes more than 500 years to form 2 centimeters of topsoil. Ten tons of topsoil spread evenly over one hectare (about 2.5 acres) of land comes out to be as thick as one Euro coin.

7. Good, functional soil holds 3750 tons of water per hectare, which reduces the risk of flooding.
8. A single one gram of soil contains 5000 to 7000 different species of bacteria.

9. Scientists have found 10,000 types of soil in Europe and about 70,000 types of soil in the United States.

10.  Nearly 75% of the earth's crust is composed of silica and oxygen.

11. Compost is soil created from things we use daily. This is good soil that can be used in gardens.

12. Things to leave out of compost piles include tea and coffee bags (the grounds are okay, just not the bags), citrus peel, onions, dog and cat droppings, fish, meats, glossy or foil papers, plastics, metals, ash, treated wood or sawdust, artificial fertilizer, and big branches.

13. Things to put into your compost pile include grass clippings, newspaper, certain fruits and vegetable leavings, and certain types of manure, such as horse, cow, and chicken droppings.

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here. I've been playing for a while and this is my 379th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.


  1. Our soil and red clay and rocky but we still manage to pile on the manure every year and grow food. When Josh was a little boy he once said, "Mom the earth is a ball of dirt!"

  2. Yeah, I don't really think about dirt a lot except when I'm planting stuff. It's amazing how complex and cool common things like dirt are. Does it really take 500 years to make two inches of top soil? Wow.

  3. Who knew soil was being celebrated? We have a lot of clay in our area, which is a PITA for gardeners.

  4. I had a whole long thing, but Blogger zapped it. Sigh.

    Soil is a royal pain in Montana. Most of the ground is rock.

  5. Greetings from clayville. I love it when you talk dirty.

  6. I wonder why they have found so many more types in the US than in Europe? Makes me wonder... and wondering is good! Very informative post!


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