Dad (the late Arthur Hollins) is our soil king at Fordhall. He noticed at a young age, the damage that chemical fertiliser, and the subsequent lack of organic matter, was doing to our sandy soils at Fordhall.
Shortly after the Second World War, he vowed never to put artificial fertiliser or pesticides on our fields again. And so began a lifetime of nurturing the worms and the billions of soil life that live within the top few inches of our soil.
He learnt about nematodes, bacteria, protozoa, fungi and more that live within our soil and how they cycle nutrients. Ultimately, it is these organisms that provide the food to feed the plants and all life above soil. They also relieve compaction, manage disease, and store water and minerals – including the all important carbon!
Life above and below soil are inextricably linked.
Our whole planet depends on these tiny micro-organisms. Many of which, as a human race we have yet to identify! Yet in many places, we continue to abuse our soils, kill off our soil life, and rely entirely on a small number of chemicals that we spend our lives applying to the soil instead.
On World Soil Day to day, we ask that everyone think about the life that lives under our feet; the worms, the beetles and the trillions of micro-organisms.
If you have a space of bare soil in your garden, perhaps you can cover it with leaves or mulch to help protect and encourage the life in your soils too. Your plants and the soil will appreciate it.
Working to restore hearts, minds and soil