8.30pm, RTE One – Monday 26th November
This week, we investigate the science of Soil – a living, breathing ecosystem and one of the most complex structures known to mankind. It gives us clean air, filters our water, and provides us with our food, forests and wildlife, and Aoibhinn meets Sara Vero and David Wall at Teagasc’s Soil Research Centre in Wexford to find out about some of the 213 different types of soil we have here in Ireland. Digging a cross section into the ground, they discuss the conditions soil needs to thrive and feed the planet, the problems created from compaction, and the crucial role earthworms play in running a healthy farm!
Some may think of it as dirt, but soil is brimming with life, containing more than a quarter of all organisms on the planet. In the lab, Kathriona meets Fiona Brennan and PhD student Aoife Duff who are conducting DNA analysis to investigate how the microbiology and nutrients in the soil are impacted by the structure, drainage and the farming practices above the ground.
In part two, Jonathan explores the not-so-traditional sport of bog snorkelling before meeting UCD’s Dr Florence Renou-Wilson to discuss the importance of retaining, protecting and restoring our few remaining peat bogs in the battle against climate change.
And in Weird Science, Fergus reveals why, in many market stalls a cross the developing world, soil is sold not by the wheelbarrow, but by the mouthful…