test for wet conditions?

Edward Brown edward at iinet.net.au
Mon Jul 6 04:46:01 EDT 1998

Paula -Hi
Here is a method for determining the absorptive capacity of your soil.

Dig a hole 300mm square and 400mm deep. remove all loose material (rocks,
stones etc.). Carefully scarify the sides and the base of the hole to
provide a natural surface into which the water may percolate. Add 50mm of
bluemetal aggregate to protect the bottom from scouring. Fill the hole with
water and allow it to soak away.
Record the time for the water level to drop at least 25mm. Your soil type
can be classified broadly as follows:
Less than 5 minutes - sand
5-60 minutes - loams or gravels
more than 60 minutes - impervious clays

The latter is the soil type you would be wanting to avoid, I think!
The information is from an article by Ross Mars.
All the best
Edward Brown
-----Original Message-----
From: PAULA STILLMAN <PStillman at grpwise.latrobe.edu.au>
To: Permaculture WA <perma at eepo.com.au>
Date: Monday, 6 July 1998 8:02
Subject: test for wet conditions?

>Dear listers:
>I'm currently looking for a suitable block of land in a country town in
>Victoria where I'd like to live and grow fruit, berries, veges, but this is
>turning out more difficult than I thought.   Now that we've had a bit of
>rain I think the block I've been considering is probably water-logged all
>winter.  It is very flat.    Does anyone know of a quick test which might
>give an indication of the drainage capabilities of the site?   Something
>along the lines of digging a hole a certain depth then watching whether
>(or how long) it takes to fill with water.   There might be some
>rule-of-thumb which says if a 10 inch hole (say) fills to 5 inches in so
>many minutes then forget it.
>I was about to take soil samples for soil testing, but there doesn't seem
>much point if the block is badly drained and therefore I presume fruit
>trees couldn't thrive no matter what the soil quality is.
>Thanks for your consideration of my problem.

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