The next time you’re in a woodland or forest area, look at the ground. Do you see any bare spots? The only bare areas you’ll see are probably trails made by animals or people. Everywhere else, the ground is covered with fallen leaves, grasses, weeds, moss, pine needles or mushrooms.
Mother Nature has a pretty smart strategy for keeping the planet healthy. Here’s how the plan works: when plants and animals die, they break down into nutrient rich compounds. These compounds keep the soil healthy and fertile. This natural process also ensures that the Earth doesn’t become polluted with the remains of dead animals and plants.
Fallen leaves, grasses, weeds and sticks help prevent soil erosion. Wind and water can wash the soil away, but these natural mulches help keep the soil in place. Farmers and gardeners have learned that they can have healthier farms and gardens if they use this approach too.
Fun Facts About Healthy Soil for Kids
- Healthy soil is dark and rich. Water drains out of it, but not too quickly.
- Healthy soil has a lot of organic matter, such as old leaves, manure and worm castings in it.
- Manure – or animal waste – makes a nutrient rich fertilizer for plants. Dig it into the soil and watch those plants grow.
- Fresh manures smell bad and they can burn plants. Manure should be composted first.
- Speaking of composting, it’s a great way to keep food and garden scraps out of the trash can. Spread these composted scraps on your garden to build healthy soil.
Healthy Soil Vocabulary
- Strategy: plan
- Fertile: rich, capable of producing life
- Pollute: contaminate, dirty
- Mulch: cover for bare soil
- Compost: intentionally break down organic matter
All About Healthy Soil Video for Kids
Check out this cool video about Healthy Soil for kids:
Healthy Soil Q&A
Question: Are weeds bad for your garden?
Answer: Weeds aren’t bad. They’re doing the job of keeping the soil covered. Sometimes though, they crop up where they’re not wanted. In this case, it’s okay to pull them out, but be sure to cover the ground with mulch or other plants.
Question: Why is healthy soil important?
Answer: All animals living on land need plants to survive. Even if you’ve sworn off salad and broccoli, the chickens, beef or pork you eat lived on grains and plants. Without healthy soil, we can’t grow the food we need to survive.
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