master the garden: soil basics

Soil. A natural body embracing the topsoil, but also the subsoil and other layers above its parent rock – is a complex material that supports all life on earth and is a product of the environment – of the rock waste which is its parent material, of the climate under which it weathers, of the kind of topography upon which it is situated, of the vegetation and other organisms with which it develops, and of the length of time during which it has been developing. 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock