“Soil Heath” is the new buzz word in the agriculture community. Many of us are well aware of the importance of soil health in relation to plant productivity. Healthy soil creates healthy plants. But what comes to mind when you hear “living soil”? Did you know that there are more microbes in a tsp of soil than people on earth?
Living soil indeed refers to an entire ecosystem under our feet. Insert the microscope and now we can take a closer look at the critters that inhabit our soils. These microbes have a very important role that when kept “healthy” have HUGE benefits to plant productivity.
Forefront research indicates that have a great diversity of microbes in your soil will improve the structure, water retention, disease suppression, and nutrient cycling in your soil. So take care of your underground critters-they have a great value to you- and they want to work for you!
In the office we have taken joy in discovering the diversity of soil microbes in Fallon County. Check out some of the microbes that we have seen:
ABOVE: A testae amoebae with his pseudopod (false foot) that he uses to move around and bring “food” back into his shell (test). These protozoa consume bacteria in soil and are often referred to as the “recycling crew” because they cannot use all of the bacteria they consume so it is released back into the soil in a plant available form of nitrogen.
ABOVE: Ciliates working on a soil particle. These guys can move A LOT of stuff! They are the typically the largest protozoa and by far the fastest moving. They come in many shapes and sizes.