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Garden expert shares unlikely source of free compost that could be piling up in your backyard: 'The soil is first class'

"I never knew."

"I never knew."

Photo Credit: TikTok

Moles are known to be destructive. They burrow through plant roots and weaken soil's integrity with their tunnels, not to mention the unsightly piles of dirt they create with every new molehill.

So, if you have a yard or garden, any evidence of moles will likely have you scrambling to dispatch them before they cause lasting damage. 

But before you resort to pest control or clean up excess soil from molehills, consider TikTok gardener Simon Akeroyd's (@simonakeroydgardener) tip on how moles and their byproducts can be an unlikely source of free, fertile seed-starting and potting compost.

@simonakeroydgardener AD. I'm so lucky to live on the beautiful #EnglishRiviera in #Devon in the West of England Wonderful opportunity for me to ride my gorgeous Engwe E-bike. It is so comfortable and easy to ride. And my bike ride was effortless riding around #brixham to collect mole hill soil. It makes the best potting compost. The bike really helped power me up those big, rolling Devon hills. The bike even folds up, so I can get it in the back of my car, if I wish to go cycling further afield. I love it. #engwe #ridewithengwe #ENGWEebikes #ebikes #Ad Mole hill soil is completely free if you look for it in the countryside. It makes the most amazing sowing or potting compost and is completely #peatfree compost. The moles have broken up all the soil to make it lovely and friable and easy to work. Furthermore they have aerated it, meaning there is lots of air in the soil. Air is an important element of seed and root production. Do always ask the land owners permission before helping yourself to mole hill soil in the countryside. #seedsowing #propagation #vegetablegrowingforbeginners #freebie ♬ West Side Story - Monét Ngo

The scoop

In a video posted on TikTok, Simon explained that soil from molehills is perfect for starting seeds or as compost for potted plants.

As moles tunnel through soil, they aerate it — a necessary process for plant seed and root production. Soil aeration reduces compaction, promotes oxidization, and facilitates deeper water and nutrient absorption in plant roots.

Simon added that molehill soil is free, whether you are collecting it in your own yard or somewhere else local, such as a park or countryside. Just be sure to ask for the landowner's permission before helping yourself.

How it's helping

Using molehill soil to sow seeds is an accessible and cost-effective way to kick off your very own garden at home

Besides having fresh and delicious produce at your fingertips for all your home cooking, gardening has an abundance of physical, mental, social, money-saving, and environmental benefits. 

Even small garden investments can have significant impacts. A $70 gardening investment can yield up to 300 pounds of fresh produce, approximately $600 worth in one year. Plus, one pound of store-bought food emits 0.18 pounds of carbon during transportation, so growing 300 pounds of produce at home would prevent about 50 pounds of carbon pollution from entering Earth's atmosphere.

Home-grown produce means fresher and tastier food — and more fiber. A study by researchers at the University of Colorado found that gardeners consumed approximately 1.4 more grams of fiber than non-gardeners every day, which benefits digestive function, facilitates bowel movements, aids in weight loss, and lowers cholesterol. That same study also found that physical activity increased in gardeners by about 42 minutes weekly.

Gardening has also been found to reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and better mental health. If you don't have a yard or access to enough space for a garden of your own, community gardens are a wonderful alternative. They produce many of the same physical and mental health benefits plus social benefits such as an increased sense of community, improved sense of well-being, and higher optimism and resilience.

Simon isn't the only one offering free or low-cost tips for starting a garden at home. Numerous articles and guides offer tried-and-true recommendations at little or no cost

What everyone is saying

For what may be the first time, gardeners revered moles and their destructive molehills in the comments section of Simon's TikTok.

"Molehills have the best soil," one said.

"We have our own local source in our garden," another user wrote. "They are ruining the lawn, but the soil is first class."

"My backyard is full of moles," another commented. "I never knew."

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