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Why you should plant some pants in your garden in France

People with gardens in France are being encouraged to bury a pair of cotton pants to check the health of the soil, in a new ecological campaign.

The campaign, #PlanteTonSlip (“Plant Your Pants”), has been relaunched by the ecology agency l’Agence de la Transition Écologique (Ademe) to give people a simple way to check the health of their garden soil.

To take part, you need a pair of clean, new pants made of 100% cotton - preferably organic - that have a label inside and elastic at the top.

You should then bury them in your soil, at a depth of about 15 cm. Leave for two months. Then, dig up your pants and check their condition.

The healthier the soil, the less of the pants should remain, as the organisms and small insects in the ground will have begun to “consume” the cotton. All that will be left are the label and the elastic. If your pants - cotton included - are almost intact, it means there is not much life in the soil.

A pair of pants is used because the elastic and label in them will not degrade as quickly, meaning that you can easily identify them after two months, even if the cotton has largely disappeared.

To take part in the campaign, post your before and after photos online - either on social media or to the campaign’s dedicated website - along with the hashtag #PlanteTonSlip.

Pig farmer and cereal producer Jérôme Leduc tried the experiment and told news service FranceInfo: “I thought there would be a bit more fabric than that left. Today we almost have a thong, whereas before we had some big beautiful pants!”

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