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Garden with Insight v1.0 Help: Soil params general group

Soil patch area: The area of this soil patch. Not the same as the area of the soil patch's 'Watershed area for water flow', which is the area of the simulated watershed in which the soil patch resides. Neither of these can be changed once the soil patch is created.

Soil particle diameter: The diameter of an average soil particle. Used in the calculation of wind erosion. Ranges from 300-600 microns; a value of 500 is reasonable.

Soil weathering type: How weathered this soil is. Highly weathered soils are found in areas with high rainfall. Used to calculate equilibrium rate for phosphorus flow between labile and mineral phases, and to determine soil buffering for pH control.

Bare-soil albedo: The proportion of solar radiation reflected from the bare soil surface (without any vegetative cover or snow). This parameter generally ranges from 0.05 to 0.2 and should decrease with darker soil base color.

Base color for dry soil with low organic matter: The color to draw the soil when it is at wilting point and has no organic matter. Water content above the wilting point and organic matter content darken the soil color. The base color depends on various soil minerals which this model does not simulate.
Mulch color: The color to draw the mulch on this soil patch when it is about six inches (15 cm) deep. When mulch is less deep than this the color drawn will be intermediate between the mulch color and the color of the top soil layer.

Fraction of porosity volume to consider when leaching nitrogen: When nitrate is leaching through the soil layers because of downward water movement (percolation), this is what portion of the total soil pore space the N- containing percolating water moves through.
S Curve - effect of soil depth on nitrogen volatilization (loss of ammonia): Reduction in volatilization (loss of ammonium ions to the atmosphere) (Y) based on depth at the midpoint of each soil layer (X). Normally volatilization decreases as you move down through the soil profile.

S Curve - effect of plant cover on soil insulation from air temperature: Soil temperature lag coefficient (Y) for a given amount of plant cover (X). The lag coefficient is the proportion of today's soil surface temperature determined by yesterday's soil temperature (vs. the amount determined by today's air temperature).
soil temperature (vs. the amount determined by today's air temperature).

S curve shape: Soil surface temperature - ground cover. Soil surface temperature - ground cover. 
The number to the left of the decimal is plant material ground cover (t/ha), and the number to the right of 
the decimal is fraction of soil insulation from air temperature. 

CO2 concentration in atmosphere: The concentration of carbon dioxide gas in the simulated atmosphere. This affects the photosynthesis of all plants in the garden (more is better, up to a point) and plant transpiration.

Average nitrogen concentration in rainfall: The amount of nitrate that enters the soil in rainfall relative to the amount of rainfall.

RCN - Average concentration of nitrogen in rainfall 

The average concentration of N in rainfall may vary slightly for different locations. However, since the rainfall N contribution is a relatively small component of the N cycle, a value of 0.8 ppm is generally satisfactory. The user is free to insert site-specific concentrations if the information is available.

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Updated: March 10, 1999. Questions/comments on site to
Copyright © 1998, 1999 Paul D. Fernhout & Cynthia F. Kurtz.