If you have ever shopped at Poundland, you’ll know those bags of soil which they always start selling in the summertime. They also sell those tiny plant pot kits with tiny portions of soil of unknown provenance, all of which look a bit like crushed mica and is often very terrible at holding water. I’ve always wondered where on earth the bits of soil came from, and where they had travelled from. But of course the answer is probably something very mundane, not at all the reveal of a big soil secret, and more the result of a logistical business decision: what is the most expedient way to run a business selling a discount bag of soil for a pound?
Over here in Singapore the only pot of soil that had been in my house for some time was actually the remains of a plant that Han had given to me (SORRY FOR THE BAD NEWS, HAN). Whilst I’ve liked keeping potted plants for many years I also know that introducing new plants to a collection of potted plants can result in you introducing new plant diseases or bugs in that will wipe out all your other plants. I think every single attempt of mine to start a high-rise garden has ended this way. I also have a problem of underwatering and overwatering my plants, despite knowing full well that the key to keeping the plants alive is finding the right level of water and nutrient for the plant. I looked into gaining more control over the feed through hydroponics, or something like rock wool, but I currently lack the space and equipment to do more.
Anyway I had the feeling that the soil I had in the pot from Han did not seem to be the optimum potting medium for the plant, because it kept drying out more quickly than I could water it (within a day). Perhaps because I kept the pot on the scorching windowsill here where the temperatures were insane.
When it dried out, the soil turned light brown instead of the black-brown peaty colour it used to have, almost with little white flecked crystals on top. I began rehydrating this pot of soil recently and upon being wetted it instantly went back to being black-brown in colour like this:
Strangely, this rehydration of a dried pot of soil appeared to have triggered something.
A day later I was looking at my pots of soil when I noticed that something was moving on top of it.
Five little snails had crawled to the surface of the barren pot…
LIFE? JUST ADD WATER™
REMINDER TO ALL WOULD-BE SOIL SAMPLERS: SOIL IS ALSO A MEDIUM FOR TRANSPORTING TINY ORGANIC LIFEFORMS SUCH AS SNAILS!