There is a stunning diversity of life within our soils and natural habitats which needs to be protected and encouraged to thrive.
It is often said that there are vastly more micro-organisms in a single handful of soil than there are other creatures on the planet.
The fact that such a small amount of earth contains more than 50 billion life forms would be impossible to believe, if it weren’t backed up by countless scientific reports.
Only a fraction of these are visible of course but you can instantly tell the health of a soil by the number of earthworms or beetles you can see within it.
However, even the healthiest of soils will deteriorate over time. This is true in our gardens where the temptation is often to dig, dig again, and dig some more. That’s not to mention spraying plants and the earth with all manner of chemicals either to encourage growth or kill weeds.
All of this has an impact.
There are times when digging is obviously required, to alleviate compaction for example, but the more the structure of the earth is disturbed, the greater the negative consequences will be on soil health.
The answer is to feed the earth from above with a layer of compost. While also retaining moisture and curbing the growth of weeds, the organic matter will filter down into the soil, feeding it crucial nutrients and improving the overall structure.
Doing so regularly, say in spring and autumn, will ensure a continuous build up of organic content in the soil, providing all the nutrients required to foster strong growth, thereby reducing the requirement to add other, potentially harmful, synthetic chemicals.
And when the compost itself is made from totally organic matter, all the better – and your plants will love you for it.