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While many people describe soil as heavy, light, sandy, clay, loam, or good, soil scientists merely describe soil types by how much sand, silt, and clay are present, or texture. Thus, the type of soil type is the main factor that contributes to appearance. By altering the texture of soil, a gardener or farmer can grow certain plants. In Georgia, for instance, the soil is red because of the great amount of clay that is present in the soil. While this soil produces peanuts and delicious peaches, there are other foods, such as sweet corn that will not flourish because clay, while rich in nutrients, does not allow enough water and air into the soil for true sweet corn that is found in the fertile soils of the black dirt of the Midwest that is nourished by the snow of winters that melt slowly, keeping nutrients such as nitrogen in the topsoil rather than running through below as rain does. In contrast to the Midwest, Florida has much soil that is predominately sandy and little will grow as sand holds few nutrients. (Although some parts of Florida produce good sweet corn.)
Soil that has the right combination of the three soil types become productive for growing. Also, particle size must be considered as small particles of soil allow water to pass through quickly whereas larger particles slow down the flow of the water so that the tops of plants receive more. The right balance of this particle type is also essential to a healthy plant.
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