Here is a fun way to find out how much of what is in your garden soil. This can also be a great way for kids to learn about what makes up soil.
First, find a clear container that had a lid that will fit securely on top. I chose to use a mason jar.
Go outside and collect a soil sample. Try not to just skim the soil off the top, dig down and get some of the soil several inches down as well.
Mix up the soil and fill your container about half-way.
Now, add water to fill up the rest if your jar. Secure the lid on top and…
Shake Shake Shake! make sure you shake the soil for several minutes to be sure all the particles of the soil have a chance to separate. When you are almost finished, give the jar a little swirl and put it down on a counter or somewhere where you will not have to move it for several days.
Now comes the fun part! Watch as the soil starts to separate. You will probably notice right away that the sand and pebbles sink to the bottom of the jar first. Next, you will see the silt collect, then all the organic matter in your soil will float to the top. The water will appear murky for several days because the clay in the soil takes the longest time to settle and separate from the water.
Once everything has separated, get a piece of paper, hold it up to the jar and measure how much of what material is in the jar.
You can break it down to the percentages for an extra math challenge.
Here, you get to find out if you have too much of something in your soil or not enough. Also, your children get to learn about what makes up soil and you can throw in a little math lesson too! :)