#StayWild Tip: Celebrate mud, glorious mud. Make a mud pie, build muddy canals, or dig a hole and see what you can find!
I enjoy learning and, during my summer hiatus between Psychology degree modules, I’ve been catching up on some reading and some free online courses.
I’ve recently commenced a fascinating short course, courtesy of Lancaster University, titled “Soils: introducing the world beneath our feet”. I was already aware of some aspects of soil formation and the importance to ecology and ecosystems, but it’s proving to be even more interesting than I thought. The lessons are brought to life through multimedia, as well as practical experiments at home.
The content has included useful and surprising information:
- There can be an astonishing one billion bacteria in one gram of soil
- Some common soil bacteria streptomyces produce antibiotics and give smilies earthy smell
- It takes 500 years for only a couple of centimetres of soil to form, and thousands of years for fertile, quality soil to form, reminds me of how precious a commodity it is.
I especially enjoy the “experiments”. The following flow diagram is used in the field to determine the classification of a particular soil type.
Give it a try and see what kind of soil you have – I’m a sandy loam sort of guy!