Soil Test – Glass Jar with Water


I did a comparison of different soils I could buy locally and also my own soil. After screening soil to get out the big lumps, I filled a glass jar approximately 2/3 with soil and the rest with water and shook it for about a minute. After a day, you can see how each one looked. Theoretically, I should see sand, silt and clay. For loam, the mixture should be 40% sand, 40% silt and 20% clay.

I found this site with instruction on this test. Here’s their basic instructions.

  1. Clean the soil of rocks and large pieces.
  2. Let the soil dry and pulverize it.
  3. Fill a tall, slender jar (like a quart canning jar) 1/4 full of soil. Add water until the just is 3/4 full and then add a teaspoon of dishwasher detergent.
  4. Put on a tight fitting lid and shake hard for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Set the jar where it will not be disturbed for 2-3 days.
  6. After 1 minute, mark on the jar the depth of the sand.
  7. After 2 hours, mark on the jar the depth of the silt.
  8. When the water clears mark on the jar the clay level. This typically takes 1 to 3 days.



1 Comment

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One response to “Soil Test – Glass Jar with Water

  1. We did this test in college and it can give an idea on your soil type. You are trying to test compost which should be mostly composted plant material and manure which is basically composted plant material except you soil. These would all be great for adding tilth. It is possible to have 100% especially clay soil.

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