Thursday, March 31, 2016

Victoria's Green Matters - 31st March 2016

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:

On the face of it, soil does not seem to be a very interesting subject but where would we be without it? Well, we would not be anywhere at all since we rely on soil to provide all the food we eat, one way or another.

It is quite alarming to realise that we are losing our soil very quickly. The global human population is rising and to house all these people, towns and cities are getting larger and do not provide food for this increased population. The remaining land – about 15% of the Earth’s land area – is being degraded by mismanagement, carelessness or ignorance.

Soil, and in particular, peat, is a major store of carbon in the form of organic matter. To lose this is detrimental to soil quality and therefore to soil fertility, stability and air and water retention. Digging or ploughing soil and mining peat releases carbon into the atmosphere. It is thought that agricultural ploughing releases more carbon every year than deforestation.

The best way to keep our garden soil healthy is to add ordinary garden compost which we can all make at home and we don’t need spades but earthworms to take down, digest and incorporate it to give us good, productive soil.

So as our gardening year begins in earnest we should all endeavour to improve our soil by adding compost for the worms to work on, cut back on the digging – or stop completely! – and choose the right plant for your soil.

Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.

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