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A Comparison of Soil Types in Pierce County and Yakima County

Researched by Emily 


The purpose of this experiment was to compare the kinds of soil in Pierce County versus Yakima County.

My family likes to garden and when we dig we find different kinds of soil. I chose to make a science project to help my family and others who garden.

The information gained from this experiment will help people who farm to choose what type of soil to look for when buying property. It couild also help gardeners decide which part of their property to use growing crops.



My hypothesis is that the soil in Yakima County will have a higher liklihood of being loam soil than in Pierce County.

I base my hypothesis on my observations that a lot of crops grow better in Yakima County than in Pierce County and the crops in Yakima County produce higher levels than in Pierce County.  
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Experiment Design

The constants in this study were: 
1. The amount of soil collected in each sample 
2. The number of areas sampled in each county 
3. The sampling technique

The manipulated variable was the place I got the soil. 

The responding variable was the type of soil.

To measure the responding variable I need to get a quart sized jar to get the same measurements on any other jars. 
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Quantity Item Description
8 Quart Jars
8 Labels
2 Shovels
1 Journal Log
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1. Plan a trip to the Pierce County with your parents 
2. When you get to the county, find a city that is in the county 
3. Find a place that you can easily find soil to sample, like a park where the soil is fairly undisturbed 
4. Take a quart jar (4 cups) and fill it with soil from the city 
5. As soon as you are done, put a label on it saying "Pierce County, (the city)  
6. Put the jar in a safe place where you can find it when you need it 
7. Repeat 2,3,4,5, and 6 until four cities are sampled from that county 
8. On the computer or in a notebook, make a log of the soil 
9. Before you write anything in the log, examine the soil in the quart jars 
10. In the log, write the city of where you sampled the soil and then write what type of soil that is in the jar 
11. Repeat #10 until all the jars are in the log 
12. To make sure that your samples are correct, test the sample again.  
13. Make sure you write in your log that you resampled a city 
14. Repeat #1-13 for sampling Yakima County 
15. Instead of labeling the jars "Pierce County," label the jars "Yakima County, (the city)" 
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The original purpose of this experiment was to take samples of soil from both Yakima County and Pierce County and to see if the soil in Yakima County was a better soil than Pierce County. This experiment was also to determine what county out of the two counties has the best soil to grow crops in.

The results of the experiment were that Yakima County’s sampled cities were all loam. Pierce County’s cities were mostly sandy loam and sandy soil. Since loam soil helps crops to grow the best, Yakima County has the best soil to grow crops in. 

See graph below. 

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My hypothesis was that Yakima County would have the best soil to grow crops in. 

The results indicate that this hypothesis should be accepted because in the experiment samples from Yakima County had all loam soil. Loam soil is the best soil to use to grow crops in. Yakima County had the best soil to grow crops in. 

Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if all of eastern Washington has loam soil. I wonder if Idaho has loam soil. I wonder if Pierce County has any city that has loam soil in it. I wonder if all of western Washington has sandy soil like Pierce County. 

If I were to conduct this project again I would make sure that I had a standardized known soil sample with me to really determine if that city had that kind of soil. I would like to sample more cities in the county. I would like to try to have several samples from each city. If I were to conduct this project again I would make sure to try to have more counties from eastern and western Washington to sample.

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Research Report

 Soil is an important part of the environment. There are a variety of different soil types. Different areas often have different types of soil. Pierce County and Yakima County in Washington State have unique patterns of soil types. Soil types affect the variety and quality of the crops that can grow in these areas. 

Soil Types 
People use many different names to describe soil types, for example Non-acid loam soil or sandy soil. People may call the same soil type by different names. 
 The three most commonly used soil names are very simple. They are sand soil, loam soil, and clay soil. Sandy soil is the least dense soil. Loam soil is the soil that crops can grow best in. It is made up of sandy soil and clay soil. Clay soil is the densest soil because of the small size of non-living particles. 
 Some people are more specific and call soil by scientific names. For example, scientists use entisol soil for when it is mostly found in a river valley. Vertisol soil is found in grasslands in seasonally dry seasons. Inceptisol soil is found worldwide and found mostly in mountain areas. Aridisol soil is also found worldwide and mostly found in desert areas. 
 There are a lot more scientific names for soil. Mollisol soil is mostly found in the Great Plains, Argentine Pampas, and the Russian Steppes. Spodosol soil is mostly found in the northern forests of Europe and North America. Alfisol soil is soil that is found in humid temperatures in the regions of North America and Europe. Ultisol soil is found in the humid subtropics like the southeastern United States and India. Oxisol soil is found in the humid tropics like the Amazon and the Congo Basin. Histosol soil is found in wet areas and in both cold and warm temperatures. The soil will be cold in a bog and warm in a swamp. 

 Pierce County has a special location, geography and climate. Pierce County is located in western Washington. Thurston County and King County are some counties that are next to this county. Some of the major cities are Puyallup and Fife. Pierce County is at the base of Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains. 
 The geography of Pierce County is in a forested area. Pierce County is next to Mount Rainier. There are many rivers that run through it. For example, the Puyallup runs through Pierce County. It runs right through the middle of the County. 
 The weather of Pierce County is usually overcast. It usually has very little snow. It rains most of the time. Each year it rains from 16-23 inches. The growing season is from March 15th to November 1st or from the last freeze to the first freeze. 

Yakima County 
 Yakima County has a unique location, geography and weather. Yakima County is located in eastern Washington. Kittitas County and Benton County are next to Yakima County. Some of the major cities are Yakima, Wapato, and Selah. It’s location between the Cascade Range and the Columbia River makes it have an interesting geography. 
 The geography of Yakima County is made up of desert areas and a wide river valley. The desert areas are arid and covered with sagebrush. The river valley is more green and fertile due to the available water supply along the river. A lot of the valley land is irrigated farmland. The elevation of Yakima County is 1000 feet above sea level. The geography of the land can affect the weather pattern. 

Soil is an important piece of the environment and everybody depends on it to grow their crops. This includes Yakima County and Pierce County. There is a big variety to call soil names.  
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Laboratory of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition", [Online] Available, soil.html, November 24, 1999

"Soil Types", Encarta Encyclopedia, 2000

"Soil", World Book Encyclopedia, 1991

"Soil Management and Research", Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia, 1995

"Soil", World Book Encyclopedia, 1995

"Soils of Europe", [Online] Available

Winkler, Suzanne, Our Endangered Planet, SOIL, Lerner Publication Company. 1994


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