Wild Willow Farm is excited to welcome you to our self-guided tour! Follow the signs around the farm and learn about each landmark along the way. Thank you to local Chula Vista High School students for helping to create content for each QR code!
Humans and soil are interlinked. The first microscopic life from the oceans created the first living soil on earth, which enabled life on earth. Soil is alive. One single handful of living soil has 100 billion specimens of bacteria that decompose organic matter in the soil, returning nutrients to the soil so plants can use them. One can see soil that is alive. It is dark and rich in color, fluffy, not compact, not too wet, not too dry, full of decomposed organic matter, and full of life (microscopic life, bacteria, fungi, insects…). Healthy living soil is home to all sorts of soil enriching creatures like fungi, bacteria, worms, spiders, mites, grub beetles, and much more.
What is soil?
A simple soil definition is that it is made up of a mixture of organic (living) material and inorganic (non-living) material. It is a mixture of broken rocks, minerals, living organisms, and decaying organic matter called humus. This is the organic matter that is broken down into a spongy, black stable substance bringing benefits like a sponge that soaks up water and breaks up clay so roots may move through. Soil also includes air and water. To test to see if you have living soil with humus in it, hold it in your hand and squeeze it. It should stick together slightly. It should be not too wet, not too dry.
Dead soil is usually uncovered and unprotected. The sun cracks it and turns it hard and dusty with the consistency of concrete. Water cannot reach the roots, depriving plants of what they need. The water runs off causing floods and contaminating nearby fields.
Living soil, on the other hand, has earthworms that create water channels, which allow the rain to soak in, preventing floods. The added nutrients of living soil allow crops to grow better. Living soil sustains the soil food web, which is the community of organisms living in the soil. It is a complex living system in the soil and how they interact can provide plants with what they need to grow.
The benefits of living soil include...
Water Savings: living soil acts like a sponge that stores water, preventing runoff and erosion, improving water quality by filtering pollutants.
Nutritious Food: living soil has increased nutrients and helps plants fight pests and disease.
Economic Security: living soil improves farm productivity and increases profits.
Environmental Benefits: living soil helps reverse the impacts of global warming by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.