1. Learning objectives
    1. Identify soil texture and its relationship to infiltration
    2. Identify soil-based problems encountered when gardening with native plants
    3. Describe the proper soil management through use of mulch and amendments
  2. Homework review
    1. Natives in the garden – Do the sources agree on mature size/shape/flowering?
    2. What did you learn about their maintenance needs?
    3. Discuss usefulness and completeness of resources. Were there any discrepancies in the resources? Why might that be?
  3. Discussion: Soil
    1. Soil is composed of four components: minerals from broken down rock, living & decaying organic matter, air, and water. Air and water occupy the pore spaces between the mineral particles. Properly managing for all four soil components leads to a healthy landscape. This applies to all landscapes, not just those with native plants.
    2. Soils provide three basic functions for plant growth: anchoring plants, allowing for microbial & fungal activity, and facilitating water and nutrient movement. This class largely focuses on the third function. Consider also the soil conditions of the plant community you are developing; oak woodland and riparian habitats have more organic matter versus chaparral and desert communities which have far less.
    3. Soils capture water and store it. Plants use this moisture to grow and to move nutrients throughout their tissues. Plants also rely on soil moisture to obtain nutrients that reside as molecules in the soil. Once dissolved in soil moisture, these nutrients move into a plant as the plant absorbs the water.
    4. Understanding how water moves through different kinds of soils is critical to maintaining a healthy garden. This lesson addresses infiltration issues and identifies which natives can flourish in slow-draining clay soils, a soil type that presents one of the toughest challenges to plant survival.
  4. In-class exercise
    1. Soil texture test, requires you to bring soil from garden.
  5. Resources
    1. Watch Video: How to Survey Your Site
  6. Homework
    1. Take a shovel to a work site
    2. Do the ribbon test and note soil type
    3. Dig a pot-sized hole
    4. Fill the hole with water, make measurements over time. Compare soil type to ribbon test.
    5. Bring photos of the hole (full and empty) as well as timing notes to the next class

Upload photos of the hole (full and empty) as well as timing notes to the Assignment section below before the next class. Allowed file types are pdf, doc, jpg, or png.

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