Treat your soil well and you will be rewarded. Studies have found that inhaling soil bacteria (mycobacterium vaccae) may increase learning ability. Eating soil, done by babies and in other cultures for eons, has received a lot of positive press lately for improving the immune system. Scientists are wondering how the bacteria in your stomach affect your personality by selecting what they send to the brain. Dinosaurs never ruled the world and we don’t control things like we think. The predominant form of life on the planet is the bacteria and we should treat them with respect. Bacteria are on everything we touch, in the snow that falls and the air we breathe. They are the microbes that digest our food and keep us well.
Plants get all the glory. They put on a spectacular show with colorful flowers and leaves while the birds and the bees flit about. Meanwhile, the soil goes quietly about its business in obscurity. There is more life below the surface than above it. And for healthy, vigorous plants, it’s all about the soil.
You can grow grass on cement with chemicals, but is it really alive? It is on life support. You can buy a miracle grass seed (which for the most part is just repackaged varieties from a national seed company) but you won’t have 12” roots without good soil structure and air spaces for the roots to grow. As biology moves through the soil it improves aeration and drainage. Nematodes and protozoa swim in the film of water around soil particles and feed on bacteria. Fungi decompose organic matter to obtain nutrients and energy. Microbes must have a constant supply of organic matter or their numbers will decline. Conditions that favor soil life also promote plant growth.
When we rebuilt our house after a fire, good soil was a priority. We dug up the compacted sub soil around the new foundation and replaced it with a foot of compost/soil mix. There is plenty of organic matter for the biology to thrive. I see a busy underground community, teeming with life and nourishing our plants and ourselves. Be friends with your soil, embrace the bacteria and it will treat you well. I just read that 80% of the antibiotics used in this country are fed to healthy animals to fatten them up. This is a practice banned in Europe, Japan and most other countries. So now we have super bugs that are resistant to antibiotics. We do the same thing to our soil when we use pesticides and herbicides. And you don’t want to get those soil bacteria mad at you.
Lawn Before Fire
Lawn After Fire