Well Ally I guess it depends on what kinds of animals you are interested in! Insects and burrowing mammals make the soil 'better' by breaking up the soil allowing spaces for air and water. The air and water is important for both plants and other microorganisms (plants and animals and bacteria you can't see without a microscope) If the soil is too compact, like what happens when big machines are used on it, then the soil gets all pressed together, and water can't get down into it, so just runs off the surface. It also is hard for plants to get their roots into it. Animals also make the soil 'better' by giving it nutrients. Animals give the soil nutrients both when they poop and when then die and then decompose, returning the nutrients of their body into the soil. Does that help answer your question? I think soil is really interesting. Did you know that good healthy soil is alive? 1 cup of good healthy soil contains about the same number of bacteria as there are people on this planet (about 7 billion!) pretty amazing, isn't it? ~Mrs. MacLeod
Ally, I don't know if your plant would have yielded more potatoes but perhaps larger ones. Your marble mini may have grown to be much larger with more room. Outdoor pests may have burrowed into some of your potatoes but I see your skins look unblemished and that is great.Animal poop is a great fertilizer for your garden but definitely not something you want in your home! Pewee! Its great to see you have a green thumb. My daughter and I have harvested indoor beans this winter and they were yummy!
Great job Ally! I agree with what the other two posts have already commented. Bacteria are really fascinating:) We tend to think of them only in a bad way (making us sick) but they are actually very, very useful! We wouldn't have much nitrogen in us without bacteria helping out the plants. Your potatoes look wonderful and I wish that I lived closer so I could help you eat them:)
Wow, I had no idea that you could actually grow potatoes indoors in the winter! What I like most are your questions. Science is all about questions. If nobody asked questions, we wouldn't even have science! Keep asking, keep wondering, stay curious. By blogging, others can read your questions, help suggest answers, and ask more questions. You will discover great things this way.Oh, and I hope you plan to grow lots of potatoes outside this summer
Alison says:Thank you for all of your comments and all your suggestions about soil. I have learned how important poop is, and I know more because of everyone's ideas.