The life of the soil.
Healthy soil is teeming with life, although most of the organisms inhabiting it are too small, so that you can see them with the naked eye. Organisms that live in the soil break down organic matter, while producing nutrients and improving soil structure. When a dead leaf falls to the ground, it is food for slightly larger organisms, e.g.. mites, beetles or centipedes, which crushing it, increase the surface area, which in turn can feed the bacteria. W 1 gram of soil is from 100 000 up to several billion bacteria. Earthworms feed on organic debris collected from the soil, and the undigested residues are excreted in the form of the so-called. coprolytes rich in very beneficial substances for plant development. Earthworms also contribute to loosening and airing the soil.
We can do a lot, to improve the living conditions of soil-dwelling organisms, which in turn will prove to be beneficial for us. Most of these organisms thrive best in well-ventilated ones, warm soils. Therefore, we should take care of the proper soil structure and use mulch, which is a thermal insulation for it. Instead of waiting, until nature does its job, gardeners themselves can accelerate soil improvement processes. Composting of garden waste, and then using mature compost, manure and other organic materials, will definitely improve the composition and structure of the soil.
Earthworms, called "natural gardeners”, they are fascinating creatures.
• Earthworm under laboratory conditions (Lumbricus terrestris) lives seven years, although under natural conditions it probably dies earlier.
• Number of earthworms per 1 m2 of soil depends on its type, on average, however, it is approx 200.
Research conducted in Great Britain shows, that their number ranges from approx 80 in arable soil fertilized with manure, to 848 in an orchard overgrown with grass.
• Earthworms do not have a respiratory system; They take up oxygen in the soil with the entire surface of the body. They are hermaphrodites – each individual produces male and female gametes, exchanged in the course of mating.