Tuesday, 2 November 2010

promoting microbial and invertebrate activity in the soil

What to do with all those leaves?


When we first arrived on the allotment (over ten years ago now), there was a frenzy of autumn activity as gardeners took the leaves and either immediately dug them into their soil or rotorvated them in.

It is now more usual to see the leaves being stashed away in heaps for a year or two before being used.

We do this. The leaves have time to break down and make an excellent soil conditioner or mulch.

This year (due to my improved productivity!) I have spread the leaves liberally across our allotment as well as expecting to stack some to break down slowly. Over the winter and spring, the leaves will be steadily incorporated into the soil by worms.

I am increasingly interested in promoting microbial and invertebrate activity in the soil and believe that this is the way (combined with disturbing the soil as infrequently as possible) to organic soil health and fertility.

I also believe that this is also a way to increase biodiversity and to support food chains.

We believe that we see evidence of this in increased worm activity and improved organic matter in the soil. What I don't have at the moment is any scientific support for this 'gut' feeling.

Another 'project'!


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