When it comes to understanding soil bacteria, did you know that this secret medley of microbes can be the key to unlocking a healthy and sustainable garden?
Bacteria is what we refer to as some of the smallest and most abundant microbes on earth. In a single gram of soil, there can be billions of bacteria – and this is a good thing. There are an estimated 60,000 different soil bacteria species, most which have yet to be even named, and each has its own particular roles and capabilities.
Most live in the top ten centimetres of soil, where organic matter is most present. Populations of soil bacteria change rapidly depending on moisture, time of year, type of crop, mulching, and a variety of other third party products that are introduced to the earth. Healthy populations of soil bacteria can be encouraged by ground cover and organic matter, but why would you actively try to cultivate them?
The Role Of Soil Bacteria In the Earth
For starters, soil bacteria and other microbes perform many important ecosystem services in the soil. Just a handful of these include improved soil structure and soil aggregation, recycling of soil nutrients, and water recycling. Soil bacteria form microaggregates in the soil by binding the soil’s particles together. These microaggregates are the building blocks for improving soil structure, which increases water infiltration and water holding capacity of the soil. Basically, the aim of the game is to build a healthy, happy, sustainable and long lasting ecosystem.
Generally speaking, there are five common types of soil microbes found in the earth: bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi, protozoa and nematodes. Each of these microbe types has a different role to play when it comes to boosting overall soil and plant health.
Bacteria – This microbe is considered to be the crucial workforce of soils, as they are the final stage of breaking down nutrients and releasing them to the root zone for the plant. In fact, it’s even been referred to as the most valuable of life forms found in soil.
Actinomycetes – Once classified as fungi, actinomycetes do act similarly in the soil. However, some are considered to be predators, and will actually harm the plant. In comparison, the “good” ones can act as antibiotics for a plant in danger.
Fungi – Much like bacteria, fungi also lives in the root zone of a plant and helps to make nutrients available. An example of this is Mycorrhizae, which is a fungus that facilitates water and nutrient uptake via the roots to provide sugars, amino acids and other nutrients.
Protozoa – These are larger microbes that love to consume, and in fact be surrounded by bacteria. The nutrients that are eaten by bacteria are released when the ecosystem is in full swing, or when protozoa in turn eats the bacteria.
Nematodes – In essence, these are microscopic worms that live around or inside of a plant. Some nematodes are considered to be predators, while others are beneficial, and eat pathogenic nematodes and secreting nutrients.
While synthetic or chemical fertilisers and other forms of plant food may include these nutrients, if they are in a “ready to go” format, they can leak straight out of the soil without proper absorption and introduce chemicals into nearby waterways. If microbes and other healthy bacteria are present in the soil, they help to break down organic plant food. Organic fertiliser and bacteria should work together symbiotically to achieve the best results for your garden.
How To Add Soil Bacteria To Your Garden
If you’ve been looking for an alternative to chemical based plant foods or fertilisers, then the answer may lie in introducing plant probiotics to your garden.
To start, plant probiotics aren’t only safer for your garden – they’re safer for you. There are no risks involved like potentially burning your plants via added chemicals, as plant probiotics are entirely organic. The probiotics include minerals and vitamins traditionally found in natural soil, so there’s no “nasties” in your water run off, and pests and disease are kept at bay – chemical free.
At Bioweed, we specialise in organic solutions to ensure that your garden reaches its full potential the natural way. If you’re ready to take the leap into improving the health of your plants while minimising the use of chemical based fertilisers and plant food, it may be time to try a plant probiotic. Our Ultimate Garden Health Pack includes our Biotic Booster, FP-60 probiotic spray RE-250 Soil Energiser plant probiotic products. In each concentrated bottle, millions of natural bacterias and microbes are waiting to find a new home in your garden.