Vegetable Garden, Ecosystem, Land Management, Observation of the fauna, Biodiversity Indicators, Harmony, Sustainable Practices, Common Sense, Preservation

THE ALLIES OF THE VEGETABLE GARDEN

On Earth, 95 to 97% of the fauna is composed of invertebrates, namely organisms devoid of a backbone. These include insects, worms, molluscs and spiders and, whether terrestrial or aquatic, they form the majority of the animal kingdom.
However, we hardly notice them in our everyday lives since their often small even microscopic size prevents us from seeing them spontaneously and directly. And what is not seen cannot be fully conceived.

Centuries of Science were required to be able to discover them, understand them and realize that their role cannot be underestimated. Indeed, most of this fauna is invisible, its presence goes unnoticed as it dwells in soil and spends its whole lifecycle underground. Or it is hidden in the litter of the soil in the case of the epigeic fauna. These invertebrates are divided into three categories:

The Microfauna, measuring up to 0.01mm

The Mesofauna, measuring from 0.02 to 4 mm

And the Macrofauna that measures over 4mm.

In addition, there is the microflora, namely the bacteria and the fungi that decompose organic matter and the vertebrates that dwell in the earth such as rodents.

The soil-dwelling fauna ensures a 60% porosity to the deeper layers of the Earth and feeds almost exclusively on dead roots. It therefore provides air and water with the opportunity to aerate and irrigate the clay that is located deep under the humus, thanks to more or less microscopic galleries. These organisms are real environmental engineers endowed with essential functions. They also prove to be biodiversity indicators that are increasingly sought after by scientists to monitor the health of the soil. If we pay attention, they allow us to perceive the balance of Mother Earth.

In the macrofauna, the earthworm can be singled out for its remarkable work: as a nocturnal invertebrate, it transports the clay from the depths and digests organic matter which it leaves on the surface. It thus contributes to the famous clay-humus complex.

As the autumn ends and all the crops have been picked by the patient gardener, satisfied with the abundance of produce that the Earth provides, comes the time for coverage in our gardens. Once all the plants have been removed, the Earth can be covered with dead leaves, wood shavings or straw 10-cm thick. This forms what is called mulch. But what is the connection between this mulch and the fauna of our garden? And what is the purpose of such a fauna in the soil? Isn’t it useless, even dangerous?

First, mulch will be useful to face bad weather in the winter. This protection will enable to protect the soil from leaching, frost and therefore erosion.

But it will also encourage this small fauna to create organic matter, aerate the soil and regenerate the Earth throughout the winter, by maintaining a beneficial temperature.

And it goes even further: the health of the soil depends on the presence of this fauna. Without earthworms, the clay-humus complex cannot be formed and the soil suffocates. The sustained quality of the soil therefore depends on the presence of this fauna.

Preserving the Life of one’s garden means preserving this life and even nurturing it through all sorts of strategies, including winter coverage.

It promotes the appearance of the required nutrients stemming from organic matter and aids the growth of plants as well as capturing water. This fauna assists the gardener who grows fruit and vegetable.

The richness of the soil depends on its organic matter, the organic matter depends for its part on the whole underground world, on those invisible workers that maintain the soil. These workers, that are biodiversity indicators, may be observed: if come spring your Earth is lighter, aerated and has not frozen, rest assured that these small creatures have come to the aid of your garden.

Will you embrace coverage to discover a world of benevolent richness?

Photo credit: Solen Delrue



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