You may have heard it said that good soil is alive. Good, healthy soil is packed with living creatures like plants, insects, and lots and lots of bacteria and fungi. These last two groups, the bacteria and fungi, are two residents of soil that help make up the microbiome of soil. This microbiome is teeming with life and works hard every day to support us and our modern society.
Microbes start by bringing relief to the natural world from human activities. They help break down environmental pollutants, conserve water, and capture atmospheric carbon. Microbes in the soil can even prevent erosion.
Their benefits reach beyond what's under our feet though! The microbes of soil can influence how we respond to allergens in our environment. Their ability to reach into our own immune systems and physical health comes in part from their role in feeding us.
Plants and microbes have evolved together to benefit plant productivity and in turn to benefit us. Plants release compounds that feed microbes, who then aid plants in absorbing essential nutrients. Microbes also produce phytonutrients and antioxidants for plants to soak up. These compounds then directly benefit us when we harvest the plants for food.
To protect your soil and the microbiome that comes with it, implement conservation practices everyday. This can include planting cover crops, and moving away from tillage. We're here to help you too! You can rent our no-till drill and explore other resources from the MCSWCD here!