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March 2019

Selected from: One Minute Mysteries: 65 MORE Short Mysteries You Solve With Science!

 

Soil Solution

Reese was helping her father clean up the leaves and twigs that had fallen over the winter. It was time to get the yard and garden in shape for spring. Later they would go to the garden store, but first they had to see what they would need. 

At the side of the house where a rainspout emptied out, they noticed that the grass had died, leaving bare dirt. 

"We're going to have a problem with erosion this summer if we don't do something about this," her father said. "Most of the rain we get is from those big thunderstorms, and the water runs off so fast that it'll wash away the soil if the grass isn't strong enough. The worst of it is, except for those big storms, many years it's so dry that we have water restrictions." 

There was a spigot and hose next to the garden, but Reese remembered that the previous year there had been a ban against watering lawns or gardens. Their plants had not produced many vegetables. 

"Maybe we can solve both problems at once," she said, as they walked down the steep bank to the garden. 

"Do you mean we should extend the downspout to the garden? The storms would just wash away the garden soil. Wouldn't that make things worse?" her father asked? 

"No, I have a better idea," Reese said. 

"What's that?"