Soiling the Myths of Dirt (L100)

Someone says, “Soil is just dirt to hold the plant up.” Would you agree or disagree with this statement? (Note: It is possible to do either one.) Back up your opinion with facts taken from the video lessons, readings, or other sources. Present at least one counter-argument and your own response to the counter-argument.

If someone were to say to me “soil is just dirt to hold the plant up,” I would more than likely respond by asking them “how so?”. Yes, the soil provides foundation and structure for the plants roots to anchor to; it does help hold the plant up, but it also does so much more! The roots in the soil are used to pull nutrients up through the plant.
There are many different classifications of soil, and different layers in the ground as well; these layers are called soil horizons. The first, or top layer of soil is quite appropriately named, topsoil. Topsoil is composed of many thousands of particles, both organic and inorganic ranging from minerals, to organisms’ waste, to whole live organisms like earthworms. These nutrients and minerals are crucial to a healthy plant, that will grow strong and tall. The organisms affect the soil pH, release nutrients, fix nitrogen, and some insects and worms even carry organic matter deeper into the soil, expanding the range of the topsoil. Soil nutrients are divided into two categories; macronutrients, which plants can’t get enough of, like water, and micronutrients that plants only need a small amount of, but are just as important. Soil is necessary for nutrients, support, sustenance, and much more.
One counter argument to this could be that “you can provide plants with all the nutrients they need without providing it through soil, the only thing they would then be lacking is a place to anchor themselves for growth support”. While this statement is true, it is not practical for mass agriculture. It would be unreasonable to alter the plants natural cycle in order to create a new way to grow plants. It would cost lots of space, money, time and resources, not to mention years of trial and error. Plants currently have a naturally efficient way to process sunlight and nutrients, and create energy; why change that?


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