There are 5 basic kinds of dirt: Clay, sand, loam, silt, and peat. Some types are comprised of a mixture of dirts. For example, loam is made of silt, sand, and clay and is considered the ideal soil for growing plants. Silt, on the other hand, is often found in rivers because the finer particles are washed down stream, leaving behind only silt. Peat soil is chiefly organic matter, 65%, which means it is born of the leftover particles from decaying matter. Adding peat soil is fairly easy as one only has to add organic materials and allow them to decay. Sand is comprised of the largest particles from degraded rocks and minerals. In a rocky area there may be more sand soil as a result of the rocks degrading.
Soil composition is determined by the size of the rock particles and the amount of organic matter in it, as comitar said. Larger particles let water drain easily, smaller particles trap it. Larger particles make looser soil with more air, while smaller particles compact into a hard airless mass. Organic material holds water and air. Large particles are sand, medium particles are silt, and small particles are clay. The ratio of sand to clay and how much organic material is in it determines what the soil is like.
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