Optimal Soil & Understanding Biology

Soil & Biology Primer

Article by Paul Gaylon
Inspired by Dr. Elaine Ingham
Book: Soil Biology Primer
soilfoodweb.com, swcs.org

  • Aerobic and healthy plants are key factors in growing and maintaining gardens.  Plants use carbon dioxide and release oxygen. The combination of soil and sun are important factors in plant growth which translates into better human health.
  • Bacteria are the glue holding all aggregates together which later degrade into soil.
  • Fungal strands, nematodes, earthworms, and larger species all add to the soil web.
  • Micro-aggregates help with structure, space utilization, oxygen, and water. Greater holding capacity increases root depth. Compost retains water and inoculates and fills spaces; bacterium and fungi aid micro-aggregates with this. Movement and breakdown are key components of these processes.
  • Organic matter (including AFA) exudates send sugars, carbohydrates, and carbon compounds to the soil. The soil uptakes valuable nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and enzymes to plants. Sugars, some carbohydrates, and some spongy proteins provide more nutrients for the soil and plant roots. Nutrients are released as needed in soluble form and are chelated to amino acids which help plant uptake. All this encourages healthy soil.
  • Exudates release sugars, oxygen, and compounds to mycorrhizae which return enzymes, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and lipids. All compounds are exchanged via capillary activity to plants. This feeds the soil around root exudates and promotes the growth of beneficial organisms. These organisms, which return to the soil can later be part of the exudate cycle once again as they nourish the soil. The mineralization is a long steady process.
  • Compost helps to inoculate and maintain a particular balance to build soil and structure. This improves soil retention. Water will “pack” well as it forms a capillary bond between the soil, compost & the full array of nutrients in this interchange.
  • Fungi contain both micro-& macro-aggregates strands. Fungi release organic plant acids. Protozoa eat fungi and bacteria and release nitrogen. Rocks continually break down into minerals. By releasing organic acids (dark humic & honey-colored fulvic), the fungi build upon the soil structure while producing more oxygen. Root surfaces serve to replenish soil nutrients. Fungi and mycelium help to provide the spongy water-holding capacity of the soil, especially for perennials and well-established plants, bushes, and trees.
  • Fungal Hyphae are thread-like elements of mycelium that penetrate plant roots. Long branching filaments provide minerals while taking sugars from plants and trees. Some hyphae have cell wall threads in one or more cells that make up mycelium. Hyphae contain digestive enzymes that attach to food sources and break them down They are the medium between the soil and roots and ensure that plants receive from the soil. They help assure a water channel and continually move water back to the roots.
  • Cations are positively charged ions. Anions are negatively charged ions. Both move toward electrolyte balance and help maintain the required level of hydration in people, animals, plants, and soil. This electrical charge is key to the principle of metabolism.

Note: Dr. Elaine Ingham posts very informative videos on her YouTube channel.