RESTORING THE MICROBIOME
Teaching farmers the principles of healthy living soil management is our passion. The mutualistic relationship between the plant and the soil microbiome supports the health and natural intelligence of the plant. This allows for high quality and high yielding crop production through regenerative agricultural techniques that include all the beneficial microbes in the soil. When farmers apply these principles they take control of their quality and yield and decrease the cost of production on their farm.
The Crescive Method is a comprehensive holistic approach to harnessing the power of biologically complete crop production. It includes all of the key beneficial microbes needed to build soil structure and cycle nutrients to your plants. As we transition your farm to success, our complimentary nutritional support programs ensure healthy crops while building on the principles of the Soil Food Web. It is based on first-hand field experience and the hard-work of dedicated soil scientists that have come before us.
WHAT DO MICROBES DO FOR US?
We are a living planet and microbes are the grand architect of that living component. Through natures ability to capture and store energy we now have an oxygen rich planet filled with life. Microbes inhabit every nook and cranny of this beautiful earth. They outnumber us humans 10 to 1. For comparison, we have 30,000 genes and our single celled microbial compliment has 8 million genes. Thats 250 genes to every one of ours! They help us digest our food, generate nutrients for us, synthesize vitamins, inform gene regulation, promote cell renewal, and activate and support your immune system and much more.
This is no different for your plants. They depend on them for nutrient acquisition, pathogen protection, and gene regulation. Microbes allow your crops to fully express all of the higher level plant health compounds that determine flavor, aroma, nutritional content, terpene profiles and shelf life. When the microbial community is disturbed these functions will be compromised.
Ecological succession refers to the change in complexity in species structure of an ecological community over time. As the above ground biomass increases in complexity and diversity so does the microbial ecosystem below. The balance of the soil microbiome is what dictates the fertility of the soil. When the soil is dominated by bacteria we see low fertility and domination of weeds. As the soil becomes more diverse with higher levels of beneficial fungi we see greater and greater soil fertility with higher plant health to match. Each plant has evolved with a specific range and population of organisms from a given point in this progression called ecological succession.
As you get to know your soil microbes you will learn that there are several groups of important organisms and key interactions that support your plant. Each individual organism group provides critical functions that contribute to the healthy balance of the whole. The information below provides just a few key interactions to know as you build your knowledge about the world beneath our feet.
Nutrient cycling occurs by a predator to prey interaction between the soil builder organism groups and their respective micrograzers or predators. These are your Flagellates, Amoebas, Beneficial Nematodes and Microarthropods. They are your next trophic level or organisms in the soil foodweb. As they graze on the bacteria and fungi they release their nutrients into the soil in bioavailable forms your plant can immediately absorb. In short, microbial poop feeds your plant!
The first important group of organisms we refer to as the soil builders. These are your first trophic level of organisms, the bacteria and fungi. Both bacteria and fungi have specific functions they perform in breaking down organic matter while assimilating minerals and nutrients into their bodies. As predator to prey interactions occur in the soil, these nutrient stores are released to your plant. The bacteria play a role in soil building by forming the first stages of structure called microaggregation. As the soil develops, fungi bind together these microaggregates to form pore space called macroaggregation. These two actions create healthy soil structure that allow your soil to breathe.
These are the organism groups that tell us when we are selecting an environment that will make your plant unhealthy. The anaerobic indicators are your Ciliates, Root-feeding Nematodes and your Oomycetes. When these organisms increase in numbers, plant health issues are likely to come soon after.
Part of the job of beneficial microbes is to fill all the spaces available in the soil so that there is no room for pathogens to proliferate. They outcompete for resources as well as maintain an environment that is not conducive to the anaerobic organisms. It’s an important concept to understand. We can teach you how to maintain this environment so your microbes can continue to work for you and your plant. The result is increased quality and yields.
There is so much to learn about the wonderful world of soil microorganisms and all the ways they support your plants. Here’s a peak at some of the most profound soil science supporting the importance of the original microbiome of the planet, the soil.
Dr. Elaine Ingham's Body of Work
Dr. Ingham is the Founder and Director of Research for Soil Foodweb Inc.
She has pioneered research in the field of Soil Biology over the last 4 decades and is a world renowned soil biologist.
Dr. Ingham teaches her wealth of knowledge and research on the different groups of microorganisms that make up the Soil Food Web in her online classroom.
She is empowering people all over the world to bring the soils in their communities back to life using the science of the Soil Food Web. Dr. Ingham's revolutionary approach has been used to restore living-soils all over the world, ensuring healthy, strong plants and super-nutritious food, while eliminating the need for chemical inputs.
Here's more research to dive a little deeper into the agricultural uses of microbes.
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