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Six Parts of Soil
6. Life Below (Microbes)
6. Life Below, Last but certainly not least
The life under the soil is just as important, if not more important that the life above the soil. Not too many people know that healthy soil is beaming with all sorts of life. A spoonful of healthy soil can contain over a billion life forms! WOW, right. They are refereed to as microbes and are microscopic and you need a microscope to see them individually, but without them, natural agriculture will cease to exist.
Natural, sustainable and organic agriculture differs from modern agriculture mostly in part of recognizing the true benefit and necessity of soil microbes.( For the purpose of this paper I will refer to all the above methods as simply natural agriculture.) The health of microbes are a direct correlation to soil health, and furthermore plant health. If you have sick plants, you may not have enough microbes or you may not have a healthy array.
Want more information about what exactly are microbes? CLICK HERE
In a natural agriculture food production, the health of the soil microbes are number one. The more microbes you have in your soil, the healthier your plants will be. This is because in natural agriculture the microbes are responsible for supplying ALL nutrients to plants. The nitrogen, the phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium etc. These are all just nutrients that plants, animals and even us need.
Soil microbes, which are microscopic life forms, create bonds with the plants on their roots. Plants excrete excess sugars that they accumulated through photosynthesis out of their roots. This is a food source for soil microbes.
Soil microbes are responsible for the break down of organic matter. As it decomposes it breaks back down into minerals that made it. Composting is a perfect visual of this. Compost is being broken down by a mass amounts of microscopic life forms so small that they can literally only hold on to a few minerals at a time in their bodies. What ever minerals are in the compost and soil are what will be attached to the different microbes.They will hold on to them until they find a food source. Microbes will then “trade” with the plants roots the mineral that they have for the plants sugar that are being excreted from the root. They will consume the sugar, gain the energy and go and find another mineral.
Plants control the entire trade. They decide what mineral they want and will send off the appropriate sugar out of its roots to attract the right microbe holding on to that mineral. The more microbes you have in your soil, the more your plants are able to take what nutrient they want, when they want. In fact many different types of “organic gardening methods” are merely guides to the mass reproduction of such microbes and spreading them around your plants. These methods include Korean Natural Farming and raising of “IMO’s”, vermacomposting, composting, mulching, Biodynamics, etc. All these methods are just merely reproducing microbes on a mass scale.
If there are no minerals in the soil, or if the soil is too dry or too wet, soil microbes will seal themselves up into what is known as a “cyst” and wait till the conditions are favorable to them. When this happens they are no longer trading with the plant and plants will become sick.
Microbes are also easily killed by ultraviolet rays and can die in mass numbers when exposed to sunlight, especially when tilling or bulldozing. The initial die off will supply the soil with a mass amounts of instant nutrients. Unless a massive amount of compost is instantly added to the soil to add the microbes back in and time given for them to recuperate, your plants will show signs of distress, they will look sick, diseased and will call out to insects.
This is because there are no longer any more microbes to break down more organic matter and continually supply the plants. There for it will seam that above the soil, the plants are malnourished and “fertilizer” must be applied. This is what happens in our current agriculture production. In reality, these lands no longer have the “life below” their soil that is needed to ensure healthy plant life above.
Modern and current large scale agriculture disregards the fact of microbes in the soil. It is instead believed that all the nutrients need to be “fed” directly to the plant itself through synthetic fertilizers. These fertilizers are salt based and also kill soil microbes increasing the need for more fertilizers.
Fertilizer companies want you to not understand this cycle, so you continually purchase their product. Money drives this industry. Please don’t underestimate the power of business in food production.
For the Complete Reference List CLICK HERE
About the Author:
Laura Rieber holds a BS in Agriculture with a focus on sustainability from the University of Hawaii, several certificates in agriculture business development and is a master gardener. The moment she realized the corporate lies that feed the world was the moment she was inspired to write about the truth about natural agriculture. She co-created No Spray Hawaii with her partner, Jesse Fujimoto to help others gain awareness. She teaches natural agriculture principles on the Big Island of Hawaii. CONTACT
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