Friends of the earth

During the first 18 months on the plot I dug till my back, legs, arms, fingers and wrists throbbed with pain, but that is all in the past, now I am a no-digger. This is not due to laziness or the thought of an aching body, but a greater awareness of the soil structure.  A small patch of soil can hold trillions of living things – worms, centipedes, oodles of bacteria, mites, and spiders. Digging, and especially double digging, can destroy the soil’s delicate structure, harming the beneficial bacteria, fungi, worms and insects.

Worming 1  Worms are the unsung heroes, the true friends of the earth, and to quote Darwin

the earth without worms would soon become cold, hard-bound, and void of fermentation, and consequently sterile. 

Worms physically open airways and drainage holes as they travel

Burrowing 1

and leave us with a precious gift, their castings, which feed our plants.  I hand weed, only disturbing the soil when digging up vegetables, and ensuring I take all the soil away from the roots so I don’t take a worm away from their home.  I replenish the soil, much to the worm’s delight, with home-made and bought compost and farmyard manure, with some beds receiving more depending on the crop rotation.

Yesterday with sun warming the earth I removed the paper mulch from one of the beds, finding to my delight lots of worms and not one slug!

Under the news 1

There is greenery on the plot, the borage is doing well.

Borage

Snowdrops and crocuses are still blooming, and soon the narcissus, both white and yellow, will be in bloom.  We are waving goodbye to another winter, and I am looking forward to spring.

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