An Introduction to Soil

“Soil is the mixture of minerals, organic matter, gases, liquids, and organisms that together, support plant life”

Soil is the unconsolidated material that lies at the earth’s surface that has been altered over time.

Soil is not dirt! We get rid of dirt, but preserve soil!

Soil is made up of minerals (from rocks), air (lets gasses in and out of the pores in soil), water (keeps reactions proceeding/allows plants and organisms to grow), and organic matter (dead/decaying plant and animal matter). It is also known as the “skin of the Earth”, providing interfaces between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.

Soil, in the end, is a product of the climate, relief (topography, aspect, elevation, and slope), biotic interactions (organisms), and organic material (parent material) interacting over a period of time.

Much of the Earth’s surface is covered by soil, and life on Earth is completely dependent on it, aided with air and moisture.

Soils are constantly undergoing change by physical, chemical, and biological processes. This constant change over time has developed vertically layered structures from the top down (oldest at the bottom, youngest at the top), these are called horizons.

Each horizon is differentiated on the basis of colour, structure, texture, chemistry, and organic matter, among other variables.


The O-Horizon is the organic (humus) layer; This layer is dominated by large amounts of plant and animal residues that are in various stages of decay. This horizon is mainly found in forested areas.

The A-Horizon is the organics mixed with minerals, often referred to as “topsoil”.

The B-Horizon is the sub-soil, which reflects the characteristics of its parent material.

The C-Horizon is the parent material in sedimentary rocks, which is composed of large chunks of rock.

The R-Horizon is the parent material bedrock.

Soil has 6 main roles:

  • Medium for plant growth
  • Regulate water supplies (storage, supply, and purification)
  • Recycles raw materials
  • Modifies the atmosphere (nitrogen/carbon cycles)
  • Engineering medium – We build on it! (Also provides stability for tree roots)

Grow Calgary is committed to our soil program.

Good Soil = Good Food!

Grow Calgary and MARKET present: FRESH!

IMG_0212Grow Calgary is super excited to announce our collaboration with MARKET Calgary on our very first fundraiser! On October 26, MARKET will be hosting a three course dinner made exclusively with vegetables grown on Grow Calgary land. Freshly harvested and served within hours, it really is the freshest meal you’ll ever eat! Better yet, 100% of ticket sales are going right to Grow Calgary. With plans for expansion, this fundraiser will really help us get one step closer to reaching our goals of solving food access issues in our city.

IMG_0203We’re very thankful to be working with award-winning Chef & Gold Medal Plates 2013 contestant Executive Chef Dave Bohati and MARKET, one of Calgary’s top rated restaurants. MARKET shares our philosophy about the importance of fresh local food. They’re constantly changing their menu with the seasons in order to ensure the freshest and best tasting ingredients possible. The fresher the better!

IMG_0206Come out and help our cause (and eat Calgary’s FRESHEST meal ever!) Tickets are available HERE for $100 each and seats are limited.



Good news! Our potatoes survived Calgary’s summer snow storm so we still have a TON of harvesting left to do. Come out to the farm tomorrow morning and help us harvest them and deliver them to the Calgary Food Bank! Oh, there will be a potato cookout (fix-ins included), how can you say no? If any transportation is required feel free to contact Jess ( Hope to see you all there!