Mankind recognised the value of a quality soil long before the first official World Soil Day in December 2014. But never before has the condition of our earth been under as much pressure as it is today.
Climate change and our rapidly expanding human population is placing intense demands on agriculture and freshwater resources - both of which impact soil quality - and with subsistence farming on the rise, basic soil education has become very relevant to the general public.
This year’s World Soil Day theme is salinisation. Defined as an increase in water-soluble ground salts, excessive soil salinity has a number of causes. Irrigation with saline water, intensive use of fertilizers for agricultural land, disposal of wastewaters rich in salts and insufficient drainage are just a few.
The detrimental effects are most significant in the agriculture and conservation sectors where high soil salinity reduces oxygen availability for plant growth. This leads to poor crop yields, decreased vegetation cover, increased erosion and ultimately desertification in semi-arid regions.
What can you as an individual do to stall soil salinisation? Well, it all starts in your own backyard.
Add organic matter back to your garden, reduce evaporation by mulching, and teach your children about soil-friendly farming. Know your fertilizers and use them appropriately. Be cognisant of your water consumption and wastewater output at home and work.
In 1965 a salt of the earth family of a father and four sons had a big dream. With a passion for the earth, agriculture and natural world they planted the seeds and nurtured Culterra into the recognised horticultural supplier that it is today.
Over 5 decades later we still honour the family’s commitment, not only to Culterra, but also to the earth.
This World Soil Day, look for the hand that counts. And make yours count too!