Plants can only survive as a result of the nutrients provided to them by the soil they grow from and the sun the shines upon them. And December 5th is World Soil Day, the day we celebrate and raise awareness of soil.
The idea for this day first appeared by the International Union of Soil Sciences in 2002. And in December 2013, the United Nations recognized World Soil Day, with 2014 being the very first celebration.
Since then, the day has been dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of it and how new techniques in agriculture can keep land fertile for future generations.
This year’s motto is “Keep soil alive, protect soil biodiversity.”
What Is Soil?
When many people hear the term, “soil,” they think that it only implies dirt. However, in actuality, it is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, and liquids. The study of soils is crucial to our way of life from agriculture to the foundations that homes are built upon.
And most importantly, it is what enables plant life on Earth.
How Does It Help Plants Grow?
Plants need soil to grow and survive for a variety of reasons.
First and foremost, it provides plants with a stable foundation for the roots to grow. Without these roots, the plants would be at the mercy of the wind, which could see them blown into the shade or into a body of water.
While it may appear to be solid, there are actually tiny pockets of oxygen within. The roots of the plants use this oxygen to break down sugar and release its energy to grow.
On top of the oxygen, water molecules are also present. The water travels from the roots throughout the plant and prevents them from wilting. The water is also a raw material necessary for photosynthesis.
As we all know, the temperatures change throughout the year. It insulates the plant’s roots to protect them from fluctuations. This helps the plants survive brutally hot summers and the chilling cold winters.
Last, but certainly not least, is the ability to provide plants with nutrients. This is usually in the form of fertilizer that is added to farms and gardens. Think of it as plant food and it’s all thanks to the soil.
What Protects It?
There are a variety of steps can we take to protect the soil.
Some of them include using the correct type of fertilizer, proper watering, protecting it against stormwater from building up and flooding, planting different types of plants, creating no-dig gardens (additional soil is placed on top of the ground), and much more.
For the most part, these techniques are easy to follow. And if you are serious about gardening, these tips can help you grow plants for many more years to come.