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Focusing on complex soil life is the fastest and most permanent way to change bad soil into good soil. The tiny workhorses of the garden are invisible to the naked eye but are so incredibly vital to the health of both soil and plants.
These tiny creatures are microbes, or, as we call them, “the guys”. The guys consist of beneficial bacteria, fungi, nematodes and protozoa. They all work together to build the soil, digest organic matter, make nutrients more available to plants and to actually make nutrients through interactions with water and air. They also do the very important job of crowding out, and sometimes eating, harmful microorganisms that cause disease. If the soil is full of beneficial, helpful guys, then there is no space or food left for harmful microbes that can be a detriment to soil and plant health. Additionally, beneficial nematodes and protozoa are predators of harmful bacteria and fungi. The guys also help with soil aeration by breaking apart clay particles and binding different types of soil together, building passageways for air, water and root systems to circulate. In soil their work is all encompassing and genuinely magical.
By adding John and Bob’s products, nutrients that have been stored in the soil are unlocked by microbial activity, making previously unavailable nutrients open and ready for plants to take up through their roots systems. Additionally, missing nutrients are produced by these microbes. Increased nutrient-content in a plant has many beneficial results: increased leaf, flower and fruit production, better disease-resistance and increased sugar content. Many micro-nutrients in the soil aid in photosynthesis, which increases sugar production in the plant. This leads to more cold-tolerance, sweeter fruit and healthier plants.
When healthy soil is full of beneficial “guys”, it is capable of preventing and/or defeating every pest and disease. Problems seemingly unrelated to soil quality such as aphids, rust, bad nematodes, blight, wilts and more are all directly related to soil quality and to a lack of complex beneficial soil life. Additionally, seemingly lifeless soil may be full of nutrients that are locked and cannot be used by plants. Adding in the “guys” unlocks those nutrients and makes them available!
Two of John and Bob’s Soil Solutions, Penetrate and Maximize, are probiotic, meaning they contain live microbes that increase the healthy populations in the soil. The other two products, Optimize and Nourish, are prebiotic, meaning that they contain food for microbes which, when added to the soil, helps to increase their growth. Keep reading to learn more about each type of “guy” that is present in soil AND in John and Bob’s Grow Green Smart Soil Solutions.
Beneficial bacteria work hard to decompose grass clippings, thatch and manure, making all the nutrients therein available in the soil. Bacteria store nutrients in their bodies; this keeps them from leaching out of the soil during heavy rain. Bacteria are eaten by protozoa, nematodes, earthworms, and other creatures. This process releases nitrogen, phosphorous and other nutrients in a mineral form into the soil, where they are then available for plants to take up. Bacteria are an essential part of mineralization, the process of converting organic matter into minerals. They also play an essential role in soil aeration, causing better root growth and air and water circulation.
Good fungi are much stronger than bad; they’ll either out-compete or eat or kill destructive fungus. Beneficial fungi also have other important roles in the soil, mainly capturing and storing nutrients so these can be used by tomatoes and other garden plants. Their capture of nitrogen insures it will be available to plants instead of leached through the soil into the ground water as nitrates. Fungi break down complex fibrous matter, such as wood chips and straw, converting previously unavailable nitrogen and other resources into a form that plants can use. However, the nutrients are not available until the fungi are eaten by nematodes and protozoa. This food web releases nitrogen and other stored nutrients into the soil, in a mineral form. Fungi are an essential part of mineralization, the process of converting organic matter into minerals.
Mycorrhizal fungi (present in Maximize) have a symbiotic relationship with many plants; the fungi intertwine with plant roots, forming an exchange of resources. The fungi convert nutrients, especially nitrogen, into a usable form for plants and the plants provide fungi with the sugars made from photosynthesis, a process that fungi are incapable of. Mycorrhizal fungi live in close association with many plant roots and are able to digest amino acids from decaying plant material, making the nitrogen in them available for plant roots to uptake. Another John and Bob’s product, Optimize, a humic acid prebiotic, aids in the growth and development of fungal communities. It provides them with the initial food they need to take hold in the soil.
Nematodes are part of the soil food web. They eat bacteria and fungi, a process that produces as much as 80% of the plant-available nitrogen that occurs in soil. Nematodes are an essential part of mineralization, the process of converting organic matter into minerals, through the consumption of other microbes. Beneficial nematodes prevent harmful nematodes from taking hold of an area by out-competing them for food and space. The beneficial nematodes protect roots systems of plants from root-feeding nematodes. They also help to loosen and aerate the soil, through their predatory pathways.
Protozoa are part of the soil food web. They eat bacteria and fungi, a process that produces as much as 80% of the plant-available nitrogen that occurs in soil. Beneficial protozoa will consume disease-causing fungi and bacteria, making them irreplaceable plant protection. Some protozoa attack harmful nematodes as well. Through their predatory acts, protozoa aerate the soil and release trapped nutrients, making them into a mineral form that plants can uptake. Protozoa are an essential part of mineralization, the process of converting organic matter into minerals. Protozoa also help to loosen and aerate the soil, through their predatory pathways.
All four of these essential, beneficial microbes – the guys- are found in John and Bob’s products or come to the soil as a result of John and Bob’s. They are the backbone of a healthy soil community that is so essential to the health of our plants. They build fertile soil over time, eliminating the need for any other amendments, including chemical fertilizers, pesticides and compost. The John and Bob’s system revitalizes lifeless soil with everything necessary to bring it into fertility, most importantly the “guys”.
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