Innovative farming: cultivate healthy crops with living soil
The agricultural industry is constantly changing and looking for ways to make farming and its accompanying equipment more productive and efficient. Over the last few years, living soil and the effects it can have on crops have become more noticeable, so we decided to take a closer look. If you’re already using living soil and need equipment to harvest your crops, visit AgriMag to find what you need.
Soil vs living soil?
Soil is made up out of different components. Some of those components include weathered rock, which provides plants with the minerals they need to thrive, and decomposed organic matter, which offers the plants useful nutrients. Healthy soil is essential for cultivating crops and it plays a vital role in the success of agricultural enterprises. Living soil can help you do exactly that. What is living soil? It’s basically soil with microbial life in it. Microbes are amazing because they do a whole lot of great things for your soil.
What are microbes?
These very small organisms are mostly single-celled, and they’re present all around us even though we can’t see them. There are millions of different types of microbes, including bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In soil, bacteria play an important role in decomposing organic matter as well as fixing atmospheric nitrogen. They work together with plant roots to make this happen. Fungi play a role in the decomposition of woody organic materials, which provides plants with phosphorus. Protozoa destroy other microbes, which releases the nutrients they contain into the soil. Life on earth has its origins in microbes, which developed in multicellular organisms.
Benefits of living soil
In a natural environment, soil is full of life. It’s inhabited by microscopic organisms, worms, and plant roots. Natural soil is also home to insects and bulbs. While there is a myriad of life forms in soil, living soil is typically used to refer to the presence of microbial life. From recycling nutrients to preventing fungi, there are plenty of advantages to having microbes in your soil.
The microbes in living soil help to decompose organic matter which ensures that there are more nutrients available to the plants. The presence of accessible nutrients promotes healthy plant growth. The combination of plant roots with microbes functions to decrease damaging fungi and bacteria. With living soil, you benefit from a soil ecosystem that is healthier. When organic matter is broken down by the microbes, humus is formed (not the kind you can eat), which improves the ability of the soil to retain both water and nutrients.
How to farm with microbes
Now that you know more about the importance of microbes, you can start learning how to take care of living soil. An easy step in caring for your soil is making sure that microbes have sufficient food and water.
The soil needs to retain water in order to supply the maximum number of microbes with water. Adding mulch to your soil can help microbes to thrive. Mulch is made up of organic matter such as decomposing leaves and plant stalks. When placed over the surface of the soil, mulch prevents water loss through evaporation. It also stops water from running off the soil surface while also reducing erosion. Mulch stores water than can be used by plants and microbes. Not only does the mulch help with water supply, it also provides nutrients to the microbes. When organic matter is added to the soil, microbes break it down, which makes nutrients accessible to the microbes and plants.
Another important way to maintain living soil is to stop tilling the soil. Mixing up the layers of the soil is harmful to the microbes. The microbes closest to the top of the soil need more oxygen, while oxygen is detrimental to the microbes in the deeper layers. When you disrupt these layers, the microbes are removed from their optimum conditions. Another helpful tip is to use slow release organic fertilisers. You can also make compost teas to introduce beneficial microbes to your soil.
Living soil provides your plants with nutrients, which promotes a healthy environment for growth. Caring for your soil is important if you want your crops to thrive. When your crops prosper you will need the right equipment when the time comes to harvest. Visit AgriMag for all your equipment needs.