Soil Science is a chemical study of dirt, it is not about soil but rather about the base components needed for dirt to be ready to become soil. There is a problem with the way most people use soil science. Most people that want to start gardens or farms or any type of growing of plants will be advised “get a soil test” it will tell you what you need to add to grow great plants. When you take your samples of your land to the lab and they give you your analysis report. There is no mention of the biology that sample contained, only the mineral components, perhaps the particle size break down will be included in a “complete” soil analysis you will also get “micronutrient” lists. The report will also tell you what to do to get that point we call “normal” but it will again only be mineral additions, pH adjustment amendments and perhaps particle size amendment, all based on what is considered to be “normal, friable, land”. Nothing about anything biological that needs to be added will be mentioned. Why is this? It is because then we would not be soil scientist we would be biologist or microbiologist. See the problem here? Soil is Living, Dirt is Inert. In this thread we are going to gain knowledge about the mineral parts of land. Then we are going to gain knowledge about the living part and how these parts go together to create the medium that all life is dependent on for life, that we call soil. Then we are going to learn some methods for getting that hunk of land we call our own to become the best soil it can be for what we want to grow. Given that land usually contains decent amounts of the right minerals, fair pH range, good enough particle size distribution, enough organic matter to hold good amounts of water. The real issue becomes how to get those minerals into a form that the plants can actually use. This is not the focus of Soil Science, even though the name indicates otherwise. This is the goal of this thread, to get all the information needed to arrive at the perfect or as perfect as possible soil condition and health for optimal plant growth. While having good soil can seem to be complicated, (it can be very much so) it can also be very manageable with the right knowledge. Perhaps the most important things in this thread will be ways you can determine, on site, what you need to do and how to best accomplish this yourself. Sure you can use your plants to tell you, but that means that by the time they are showing you something is wrong, it is too late for that crop. I consider the most important tool for people doing what we are doing to be a microscope, without one you will never know what life your soil contains nor how much of that life your soil contains. Interestingly enough, that soil life will tell you more than all the comprehensive soil tests you ever have done can tell you. Why is this? Because most likely your land already has the quantities of minerals (at least for the most part) that what you want to grow need to be there. Without the right soil biota present we are not being the good steward for those plants we want to thrive, nor are we making the best use of most of the water we manage to store in the land. The goal here is to disperse that knowledge needed to have gardens that even in draught periods of a year or more will produce at least a decent amount of food. I will end this thread with some step by step methods, along with tests for making sure you are heading to that wonderful place called great soil. Redhawk This will be done in installments so it doesn't take a huge amount of space all at one time.