Plants can make sugar from sunlight.
Exudates are “Simple sugars, protein, and carbohydrates. What is that recipe for? Cakes and cookies.” - elaine Ingham, soil Foodweb, inc.
A newly discovered exciting fact is that plants get hungry, and when that happens, they become very generous. They give little cakes and cookies to the entire neighbourhood of beneficial microorganisms. These exudates are exuded through the roots of the plants, and this simple act sparks a whole chain reaction of events beneficial to the plant, including feeding the plant itself. It is in control of its own diet.
How it works - the plant exudes these exudates (little cakes). Beneficial (aerobic) bacteria and fungi love this, so they start to eat and multiply to high populations ground in the roots of the plants. This has the benefit of providing a natural wall of protection against disease caused by anaerobic organisms.
These ‘good guys’ also contain the necessary enzymes and acids to break down and transform inorganic nutrients in the soil, into organic nutrients for the plant. They also play a critical role in the formation of soil structure, necessary for water retention.
The organic nutrients are, however, still locked up in the micro-organisms. They are only released when the organisms die. So we have predators, that eat bacteria and fungi. In come nematodes and micro arthopods to do what they were born to do - eat and continue, which ensures continued recycling of nutrients through the food chain. The nematodes and arthopods excrete the excess nutrients, now bio-available to plants around the roots where the plants can take them up as needed. Plants are satisfied!
It has now been proven by scientists that all the soils on the planet have all the (inorganic) nutrients locked up in their mineral particles (derived from rocks) that a plant needs. The only problem is that they are locked up in a form that is not available to plants.
What is missing is microbiology.
It is the microbiology that ‘unlocks’ these nutrients and transforms them into a form that is available to plants. Now the problem is that ‘modern’ or industrial agriculture destroys this soil life. Every time we disturb the Soil (even through tilling and ploughing), and the use of artificial fertilizers or pesticides, soil life is killed and soil structure is compromised.
Soil erosion, the leaching of water and nutrients, anaerobic conditions, pests and diseases all follow. The system gradually collapses.
Compost: The key to sustaining life.
The simple, quick, easy way to fix poor soils is to ‘inoculate’ the soil with compost, to ensure your soil contains all the microbiology then you should maintain the right environment for the microbiology to continue to grow and thrive. Your soil should be covered with mulch or other crops.
We should nurture our soils which in turn nurtures us, microbiology is just as important to our own health and digestive system.
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4. Start your own veggie patch or home garden