Microbes are a vital part of the soil ecosystem and keep the soil and its essential elements are intact. If the soil becomes poor, this is a sign of a shortage of soil microbes. Rule 1 in nature is; “The bottom wants to be covered at all times”. Feeding soil microbes with the right kinds of nutrients is an important step towards healthier soil, which supports plant life.
It involves the technology known as bioremediation to keep the soil clean. Microbes keep the soil intact and improve the soil fertility.
There is a symbiotic relationship between soil microbe and plant roots. Soil microbes defend the plants against attacks by toxic substances such as pesticides and fertilizers. In exchange for this 'security service', the microbes feed on root extracts that are released into the soil. These root extracts make soil particles rounder, causing them to be further apart, increasing the amount of air in the soil and the water storage capacity.
It is very important that we understand that soil microbes nourish and maintain the soil!
The soil composition and its relationship with soil microbes:
The fertile soil finds its origin in decaying leaves and vegetable/animal material; humus, the dark colored substance, is the essence of earth. Studies show that the most stable form of carbon present in soil results from a decomposition process caused by feeding soil microbes.
While the existence of carbon in the soil comes from plants, it is the action of feeding soil microbes with plant carbon that keeps the elements in the soil. Microbes have the ability to convert compounds like sugar into millions of complex molecules.
When soil microbes break down plant material, some of the material is used and organic matter is created.
To achieve the optimal mix of plant carbon, which is broken down into organic matter in the soil, steps should be taken to support and increase soil organic matter.
This can be achieved by e.g.:
1. Strip grazing (pulsating grazing, rotational grazing)
2. Green manures
3. Application of solid manure
Soils with a high organic matter content are rich in nutrients and free of toxic substances. Crops present in these soils are very healthy and have a high nutritional quality. (vitamins and minerals)
Healthy soil is teeming with life, fungi, soil bacteria, microbes and dead plant and animal remains. A fistful of soil contains over 1 million microbes!
Rhizosphere, a term coined by botanist Lorenz Hiltner in 1904, stands for the ecosystem around the roots where microbes "dwell" and actively interact with roots. Good soil fertility is achieved to make the Rhizosphere as large as possible.
A good way to increase soil fertility is by increasing the biodiversity on land, this is done by bringing together several types of plants by sowing, polycultures (e.g: Saladebuffetten). This creates a more complex soil life and increases the number of soil microbes.
The soil has 4 essential functions:
1. Regulating water, water retaining properties
2. Feeding plants, animals and people
3. Filtering and buffering nutrients
4. Supporting physical stability, plant, human and animal health
4 Tips For Improving Soil Fertility:
1. Limit tillage
2. Always keep the ground covered
3. Keep live roots in the ground
4. Take advantage of biodiversity