Bugs, Bacteria, and Fungus, oh yum!

Bugs, Bacteria, Fungus:

Scary things when you read them out of context, but the combination of these three things and the soil structure is what makes all the difference in landscapes.  Without these organisms underground, there would be no healthy plants above ground. 

Bugs: The extremely unscientific term used to make the headline for this email work. This group includes the giants of the underground; worms, nematodes, and insects. The creatures you can see when you dig around. They move through the soil creating cavities along the way, and making space for water and air in the soil. 

Bacteria: Billions of bacteria are present in a single teaspoon of soil, the soil’s kombucha if you will. Although small they do a tremendous amount of heavy lifting. They recycle nutrients, help water move through the soil and they slow the soil from drying out. They pull nitrogen (crucial for plants) from the air and place it in the soil and they suppress plant diseases.

Today’s fun fact: That really good smell after a rain is called Petrichor. This smell is from a bacteria called actinomycetes in the soil.

Fungus: The celeb of the fungi is Mycorrhizae, with books written about it and gardeners talking about it. Mycorrhizae team up with plants by delivering them nutrients and water, in return they get a sugar kick back from the plant, both parties win. There are many other types of fungus in soils, their job is to break down dead plant material into organic matter and recycling nutrients that can be reused by the surrounding plants.  

Best practices now encourage a robust and vibrant microbiome. We know that broadcast insecticides, fungicides and other chemicals are killing more than just the pest organisms, they kill beneficial ones as well. By supporting the microbiome, the soil improves and the plants above ground reflect it. Without all of this happening underground you would never see what is above ground!