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Key Point 3—Chemical Properties of Soil and Soil Fertility

National Science Standards Correlation

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand the procedure for taking a soil sample and conducting nutrient analysis.
2. Know that plants must receive essential micronutrients and macronutrients from the soil in order to be healthy, and understand that soil fertility relates to the physical and chemical properties of the soil in addition to the quantity of nutrients.
3. Understand why soil fertility reflects the physical, chemical and biological state of the soil.

Suggested Activities:
1. Collect a representative soil sample from a piece of land (preferably your own) as an introduction to soil testing. Conduct soil test experiments to measure pH and determine the amounts of plant available nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P),and Potassium (K) in soil samples collected from different locations such as: cropland, forested area, and in a flood plain. Record your data, and analyze and compare results.
2. Explain the ABC’s of Nutrient Management, and how Nutrients and Plant Health, Pest, Profits and the Environment relate to healthy soil.
3. Explain why soil fertility reflects the physical, chemical and biological state of the soil.
4. Compare and contrast the benefits and risks of using nutrients from a synthetic fertilizer with those from a natural source.

Resources:
1. Soil Testing     and   http://www.rain.org/global-garden/soil-types-and-testing.htm
2. Plant Nutrients
3. GLOBE Soil Fertility Protocol
4. Nutrient Management

 

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