Digging Deeper: When we talk about healthy, nourishing soils, what do we really mean?
With a quick glance, you’d overlook it all. The measure of soil health is soil life, and to see that, you’ll need a microscope. These organisms are so small that a single teaspoon of healthy soil can hold MORE THAN 4 BILLION microbes. And that is just the beginning of the vast diversity of soil microorganisms- we’re talking about earthworms, beetles, mites, and a long list of organisms that are microscopic: bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and others. Did you ever think the health of a big leaf maple tree depended on these teeny organisms?
Each of these organisms is a specialist and therefore plays a critical role in the soil food web, eating, digesting, and pooping their way through the soil. Some of the combined effects of these communities are:
water infiltration and water holding capacity
degradation of pollutants
improved soil structure
While there is an incredible diversity in the variety and niches of these soil organisms, here’s a short list that explains what happens below the surface of the soil, that we depend on everyday.
Bacteria are among the smallest of the soil organisms, and can be found in quantities of up to 100,000,000,000 per gram of soil! Bacteria help convert atmospheric nitrogen into a solid form, can break down woody material, and are necessary for making stable phosphorous into a form accessible by plants.
Fungi can form threads 1/60th the diameter of a root hair. They are commonly known for decomposing wood (mushrooms), but they have many other functions. Fungi can grow into plant roots, and form a symbiotic relationship with the plants, helping transfer more water and food to the host plant. In this give-and-take process, they secrete a sticky substance that helps soil bond together into larger clumps, called aggregates. This clumping effect of soil creates necessary passages for air, water and larger organisms to move through. Also important is that fungi are active even at low soil pH, when not all microorganisms are, something we often struggle with here in the PNW.
Nematodes are sometimes known for their predatory nature towards plants, but most nematodes are actually beneficial. They’re important for consuming and cycling bacteria and digesting Nitrogen into a plant available form. Being of an intermediate size, they feed on bacteria and fungi, and are food to other soil insects.
What earthworms eat, they leave behind in a form that is easy to use by plants, along with the bacteria and digestive enzymes. As the larger organisms in soil, they are much more mobile and integrate their food (plant debris) into deeper layers of the soil, providing a natural form of what we think of as tillage.
All of these microorganisms are most abundant near the root zones of plants, another reason we encourage watering practices that expand and deepen the root zones of plants.
Soil Food Web Illustration
So, how do you encourage this thriving, nourishing soil?
At Earthdance Organics, we brew a probiotic liquid supplement, FertileTea, that contains thousands if not millions of living bacteria and fungi. When we feed the soil the smallest organisms at the bottom of the food chain, we create a favorable habitat for the larger organisms at each trophic level. Combined with organic fertilizers that provide balanced nutrition to plants, FertileTea helps restore a complete soil food web on your property, ensuring that plants receive optimal nutrition, and can rely on their natural immunity. This is how you achieve your goal of having a consistently healthy and thriving lawn.
What You Can Expect…
Longer-Lasting Vibrant Lawn – FertileTea will extend the season of your lawn giving it a great look year-round.
More Nourished Lawn – The microbial activity in FertileTea helps to breakdown nutrients freeing them up for plants to use more readily.
Healthier Lawn – FertileTea will boost your lawn’s immune system, allowing it to suppress diseases and fend off pests more easily. A thicker turf also keeps weeds from finding a place to get a foothold.
More Resilient Lawn – FertileTea strengthens plant roots allowing them to burrow more deeply in the soil. Lawns with strong root systems are more drought-resistant and more resilient to weather challenges.
Is This What Your Lawn Is Missing? Get Started with FertileTea…
Contact us at Earthdance Organics to find out how FertileTea can enhance your lawn and plant beds. Click on the link below, and we will be happy to send you an estimate.
Enjoy peace-of-mind that your lush green lawn will continue to look great year-round!