Did you know that soil isn’t made overnight, it takes hundreds of years to form and wherever you go the soil will always be different.
Fertile soil if made up of particles of living things, which add the vital element of humus. Humus is made up of plants, animals and fungi, which have died and partially decomposed. This adds fertility to the soil and also helps with keeping the water in and the basic structure of the soil.
A living soil is brimming over with life, guess how many organisms you would find if you measured a tablespoon of soil?
The amount of organism’s that are on the spoon would equally more than the number of people that have ever lived!
The living things that go into soil to make it alive are: earthworms, centipedes, beetles, fungi and bacteria. These all act together and mix together like one big happy family.
Worms are especially important to the soil, not only do they make tunnels in which the water drains away and lets the air circulate but they also eat lots and lots of it! When the worms have eaten the soil and are digesting it they add mucus and other active substances. They then produce worm casts, which you will find on the top of the soil in little mounds. These are very good for growing things, especially seeds.
Soil has to be looked after carefully however, in some places this isn’t happening. People are using lots of chemicals and working the soil far too hard for it to be of any good. This results in the humus disappearing which means that the soil can then be washed away by rain or blown away by the wind.
Do you know whether the soil in your garden is young or old? Ask your teacher and then compare it with the age of the soil in America or Australia.
The most important thing to remember about soil is that it is a living system and can easily be destroyed, so take good care of it.