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Microbes

Microbes

Microbes

About Soil Microbes

SFWEveryone is familiar with the role of plankton in the ocean. The food web in the sea is built on the backs of these microscopic creatures and consists of the balance seen in the abundance of small fish being eaten by the bigger fish. 

 

So it is in the soil with microbes. Soil microbes are the plankton of the soil, they are what attract the arthropods, the earthworms, and the birds that eat them. This is a familiar concept, yet very few make the effort to cultivate microbes in their soil, gardeners are more focused on growing plants. In fact, the majority of mainstream gardening and famring is geared towards discouraging microbes with fungicides and artificial man-made fertilizers. 

 

Success in gardening comes from growing soil, not just plants. Here is an important point, the very essence of "organic" growing is that natural fertilizers feed microbes and artificial fertilizers do not; but the microbes have to be there to be fed. The lack of connection to this simple concept is the source of most of the frustration experienced by the average gardener. 

 

The lack of attention to soil microbes is also the reason that organic methods are seen as more expensive, when growing biologically is actually a fraction of the cost considering soil microbes make perfect plant food (humus), save significant amounts of water, work to prevent disease and pests, and enhance the yields experienced in the garden.  

 

The soil has a life of its own if we let it. In the forest, the trees don't eat the leaves that fall, they eat the result of the work of soil microbes. And make the connection that the forest grows trees with zero fertilizer. We can get the power of living soil working for us in our gardens and landscapes by composting and brewing compost tea. 

 

In order to take advanatge of soil micorbes it helps to understand them. The "soil food web" is made up of microscopic creatures with funny names, but we are already familiar with many of them. The mushrooms that we eat for dinner are the fruiting body of the fungi, for example. 


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