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Digital Subscriptions > Kitchen Garden Magazine > February 2018 > ARE YOU GARDENING FOR BIODIVERSITY?

ARE YOU GARDENING FOR BIODIVERSITY?

With the decline in biodiversity as a result of conventional farming systems, it’s time to change the ecological balance and bring biodiversity back to our plots, says Julie Moore

Natural ecosystems have a wide diversity of plants, animals and soil organisms. We can mimic these natural ecosystems on our own plots by growing a diversity of native plants as well as accepting and encouraging a wide variety of insect and animal species. Gardening for biodiversity isn’t rocket science. Read on to find out how you can invite nature to your doorstep and promote biodiversity.

SOIL BIODIVERSITY

Beneath our feet lives a complex underworld and interdependent web of micro-organisms such as algae, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes and arthropods, to name but a few. Soil is the second most biodiverse ecosystem on the planet. In one handful of soil there are more living things than there are people on Earth, most of which are invisible to the naked eye, and yet they play a key part in the health and functioning of our soils. Without this concealed world, our planet and the human race simply wouldn’t thrive.

Whenever soil is tilled or synthetic fertilisers or pesticides are applied, soil life may be harmed.The soil structure is compromised and soil erosion, the leaching of nutrients, pests and diseases all follow.The self-sustaining system that Mother Nature developed collapses through human intervention and the soil, now devoid of life, becomes nothing more than Dart.

Our job as gardeners is to protect and nourish the delicate soil food web.

Turning soil, especially with a rotavator, disrupts the ecosystem within the soil. It exposes some organisms to the elements, buries others, destroys the air pockets made by earthworms and wrecks the precious web of fungal and bacterial growth that aid in plant nutrient uptake.

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

In this month's issue of Kitchen Garden... - Win gardening goodies Instant garden borders & more worth £1325 - Curry night grown by you - For the love of veg 10 pages of red hot growing advice - 27 big crops for tiny plots - Veggies from a jam jar - Prepare for spring 3 pages of essential top tips - 10 ways to boost your harvest - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall