The Garden Guide

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

Water absorbtion by soils

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1168. The power of the soil to absorb water by capillary attraction, depends in a great measure upon the state of division of its parts, as the more divided they are, the greater is their absorbent power; and the fertility of the soil greatly depends upon its power of absorbing water. When a soil has the power of absorbing water, and retaining it long enough to nourish the plants, but not long enough to rot them, it is in the best possible state for garden culture; but when the water cannot escape from the soil, and that soil contains a mass of decayed vegetable matter, the soil becomes converted into bog earth, and unfertile, because all the soluble salts are washed away, and nothing is left but the humus, which is insoluble in water, and consequently cannot be taken up by the spongioles of the plants.