Reading Gardeners’ speaker focused on the creatures that live in a square metre of garden soil. ‘Soil is not dirt,’ she told us, and gave a rundown of the millions of life-forms in our soil. On the surface are beetles and molluscs, below that earthworms (27 species in the UK), then arthropods, springtails, tardigrades, mites, nematodes, protozoa, and bacteria. The numbers of creatures in healthy soil are impressive: from dozens of earthworms near the surface, we move through the hundred thousands to teeming millions of bacteria a foot or so down. And then there are the funghi: 10,000 metres of fungal threads in every pound of soil.
Lois’ well-illustrated talk was full of facts and figures, and her audience was full of questions: we all, it seems, need to know more about that essential foundation of all our gardening efforts.
For those wanting more information on soil biology, Lois recommends this webpage:
and for expert analysis of your soil, the Soil Bio Lab can help: www.soilbiolab.co.uk