Soil – more than just dirt!
Category: Food Production
Climate Region: Arid | Temperate | Tropical
State or Territory: ACT | NSW | NT | QLD | SA | TAS | VIC | WA
Age Range: 7-13


Anne as a Landcare volunteer knows how important soil structure and texture is to growing healthy plants. Her local school have invited her to help their school Junior Landcare group create a food garden within the school grounds.

As she helped Beth, Eliza, Hayley and the rest of the Junior Landcare group create their no dig garden, Anne showed them how to check the soil texture. She took some soil from the garden bed, the sandpit and various places around the school grounds. She showed them how to mix each soil with water so they could feel and see whether it was a clay, loam or sand soil type. Beth and her friends enjoyed touching each soil type and understanding how it responded to the water. They could see that soil that could hold the moisture was essential to healthy plant growth. This made them very motivated to be ‘soil aware’ Junior Landcarers to help their food garden grow well.


Explore different soil textures and discover their various properties. Through simple soil testing, children will learn to appreciate the true value soils have in helping plants grow.


For children to:

  • understand how soil texture influences the amount of water and air it holds
  • appreciate how these characteristics affect plant growth and thereby food production
  • value the importance of soil as a non-renewable resource.

When collecting soil in drier conditions, you may need to try a few different locations and wet or fork the soil before you collect it for testing. Try to avoid collecting soil in extremely wet conditions.

Did you know?

Soil is made up of 45% minerals, 25% water, 25% air, 5 % organic matter.

Did you know?

Sand is found on the beach and in deserts all around the world. There are even sand dunes in Antarctica the world’s driest continent.

Did you know?

15 essential elements for plants to grow properly come from the soil.

Did you know?

It can take up to 1000 years to produce just 2 – 3cm of soil.

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Why not try one of our other Junior Landcare learning activities?

Love Letters to the Land

Biodiversity|First Nations Perspectives|Food Production|Waste Management

Creating a food garden: vision

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Creating a food garden: planting

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Creating a food garden: installing a no dig garden bed

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