Restoring The Soil
Restoring the soil is the key to having a fabulous organic garden. By nurturing and feeding the soil organisms, we bring the soil back to life. Understanding the soil and its composition is the key to this process. Some of the main helpers that keep the soil healthy for the plants to thrive are: bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, worms, and ants among others. Learn about soil microbes, creating black gold and restoring the soil into a fertile ground. Just some of the topics covered on my soil course. On SALE now! great price until February 7, 2024. Soil, The Key to Organic Gardening
Soil Food Chain
Organic matter (OM) is all that is needed to keep soil alive and plants free of disease. One of bacteria’s essential roles is to decompose organic matter. It not only provides the nutrients necessary for the growth of the plants but, more importantly, serves as the food that sustains the soil’s food web composed of billions of microorganisms. See video on the ultimate guide to compost.
Protozoa’s eat bacteria and fungi, giving off ammonium that in turn gets converted to nitrates for the plants to use. They attack nematodes and are food for the worms.
Nematodes play a role in helping to keep the populations of the various organisms under control. By consuming the bacteria and fungi, they mineralize the nutrients.
Role of Earthworms and OM
The increased breakdown of organic matter increases nutrients released in the process of decomposition. As worms burrow, they open up channels that aerate the soil as well as break up any hard pans found due to compaction or other soil disturbances. Worm castings have 50% more organic matter, and higher levels of ammonia, phosphorous, calcium, as well as other nutrients. Restoring the soil becomes simple once this process is facilitated through the addition of organic matter.
Earthworms are one of the major contributors of food for other microorganisms, and their destruction has to do with the treatment and chemical usage the soil receives. Compaction, rototilling and use of chemical fertilizers all destroy the symbiotic ecosystem in the soil.
Addition of synthetic fertilizers breaks the natural cycle and you then become more dependent on using fertilizers non-stop. This creates a huge negative impact on the food chain.
Read more about how to make compost.
To have a balance ecosystem we need to:
- Maintain the proper soil balance between organic humus or compost, air and water to provide the necessary nutrients for your plants.
- Provide a high level of organic matter and humus to the soil to build up an army of beneficial bacteria and fungi. In addition, the good bacteria develop a natural defense system for the plants against disease, and pathogens and pests are kept in check.
- Soils high in organic matter hold more water and have less run off as the soil will be loosened and have good drainage (not excessive drainage) and maintains a balance pH in the soil.
- Greater drainage goes hand-in-hand with greater aeration due to higher levels of organic matter.
To have good soil we must see that the good bacteria is fed appropriately by adding organic matter, making sure the pH in the soil is properly balanced, having good moisture and good drainage. All this will result in the restoration of the soil.
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