The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening Science - Soils, Manure and the Environment
Chapter: Chapter 1: Earths and Soils

Testing the capacity of a soil for retaining wate

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1202. The capacity of a soil for retaining water may be thus ascertained. An equal portion of two soils, perfectly dry, may be introduced into two tall cylindrical glass vessels, in the middle of each of which a glass tube has been previously placed. The soils should be put into each in the same manner, not compressed very hard; but so as to receive a solidity approaching to that which they possessed when first obtained for trial. If, after this preparation, a quantity of water be poured into the glass tubes, it will subside; and the capillary attraction of the soils will conduct it up the cylinders towards the tops of the vessels. That which conducts it most rapidly, provided it does not rise from the weight of the incumbent column of water in the tube, may be pronounced to be the better soil. (Grisenthwaite.)