Celeb chef Gizzi Erskine has revealed her top tips for keeping our soil healthy and has let slip what you should NEVER do to it.
To mark World Soil Day (5 December), the food writer, who is also a keen gardener and conservationist has shared her tips on soil health.
Here are her words of wisom on keeping your soil healthy.
Gizzi Erskine’s gardening tips
1. Create your own compost
Home-made compost is a fantastic way of recycling plant material, feeding plants, soil life and locking carbon back into the ground. Keep your old veg peelings, apple cores, banana skins and mouldy fruit – when added to a compost bin they will mulch down over time, encouraging worms, woodlice and insects to digest the food and create a pile of nutrient rich compost to spread on your soil.
2. Cover it up
Keep bare soil covered at all times with a layer of green manure – introducing fast growing plants like clover, which protect soil and prevent erosion. The plants pull carbon down from the atmosphere through photosynthesis, making carbohydrates and sugars that travel through the roots and into the soil, feeding the millions of microorganisms that live in the earth.
3. Can you dig it? No, you can’t
Digging destroys soil structure – tearing apart the home created by living organisms that create natural soil fertility. Avoid the use of chemical pesticides and artificial fertiliser which are designed to kill insects and other pests.
4. Mix it up
Aim to introduce a range of different plants to create biodiversity in your garden. Grasses, shrubs, vegetables and legumes all thrive in harmony with each other and each of them plays a role in maintaining soil health.
Why it all comes back to the soil
According to the UN, the equivalent of one football field of soil is eroded every five seconds across the world
Talking about her soil campaign with yoghurt makers Yeo Valley Gizzi Erskine says, ‘Over the last few years I’ve been on a journey focusing on where our food comes from and how it impacts the environment.’
‘I’ve learnt that it all comes back to the soil, whether it’s animal, dairy, veg or grains – the soil is key to the food we eat and almost more importantly it’s crucial for the environment too. I’ve turned into a total soil geek!’