Did you know that one square metre of healthy soil is teeming with up to 1.5 kilograms of living organisms? According to scientists at the University of Manchester, who have this week called for soils to play a bigger role in international strategies to protect biodiversity, a quarter of all known species on earth live in the soil.
You'll find threadworms, earthworms, springtails, mites, insect larvae and much more. But most of this number is made up of microorganisms: bacteria, protists, fungi. Microbes work hard in the soil, they transform dead animal and plant material into nutrients - and without these nutrients, new life could not evolve. Without soil microbes, no plants could grow and no people could live.
Why is this so important now? Because all over the UK our soils are dying. The situation is dire. The UK is estimated to be 30 to 40 years away from fundamental eradication of soil fertility. The dirt beneath our feet is getting poorer and poorer and this degradation will eventually threaten our survival. In 2017 Michael Gove, then Environment Secretary, said, "Countries can withstand coups d'etat, wars and conflict, even leaving the EU, but no country can withstand the loss of its soil and fertility."
Intensive farming over recent decades has meant our soils have been churned up by heavy machinery and drenched in chemicals which force higher yields in the short term but in the long term undercut its future fertility. We've also used chemical fertilizers, pesticides and weed killers in our gardens, with long term impacts on soil fertility.
As you look around you might think that there is soil everywhere, but it isn't the quantity that matters but the quality. A healthy nutrient dense topsoil is like living gold. Soil is one of the most highly diverse ecosystems on our planet and the organisms within it are the bedrock for life to thrive.
Win back the health of your patch As usual, the global picture of destruction is frightening. But each one of us who switches to more sustainable and chemical-free gardening makes a difference. If you are chomping at the bit to get into the garden after months of being locked inside, you can treat your patch - no matter how big or small - to a microbial solution that will boost the fertility of your soil and the health of your plants.
Perhaps you want to make the most of your outdoor space by growing more of your own food, or even rewilding a corner to encourage pollinators? Whatever your goal, a healthy garden starts with healthy soil. At microbz, we make products to really get your soil microbes active. Our Soil Conditioner is designed to boost soil fertility. It delivers billions of beneficial microbes plus essential minerals to prepare the soil for planting in spring. It is formulated to increase yields and produce stronger, healthier plant growth so plants are more resistant to disease, pests and environmental stress. Eco-conscious gardeners: cultivate your own piece of nature - be it a balcony or a field - with natural probiotics for your glorious green garden.