What is the soil food web?

soil food web
 
 

As humans, we naturally fit into a system of interlocking and independent food chains known as a food web...

Similar to our food chain, the organisms living right under our feet have their very own system of interconnecting known as the soil food web.

According to microbiologist and soil biology researcher Dr. Elaine Ingham (2000), an incredible diversity of organisms make up the soil food web and range in size from the tiniest one-celled bacteria, algae, fungi, and protozoa, to the more complex nematodes and micro-arthropods, to the visible earthworms, insects, small vertebrates, and plants.

 

Spring Training

With both planting and baseball season upon us, I like to compare the relationship between plants and soil organisms to that of a pitcher and catcher. These two specific positions rely heavily on one another every time a player is up to bat. They have this mutual, unsaid understanding between one another and they cannot fully complete their job without the other. Likewise, as individual plants and soil organisms work to survive, they are in constant interaction and dependence of one another. The by-products from growing roots and plant residue feed the soil organisms and in return, the soil organism support plant health as they decompose organic matter, cycle nutrients, enhance soil structure, and control the populations of soil organisms – including crop pests (Ingham, 2000).

 

Why is it important for growing healthy, sustainable crops?

What many don’t realize is that as these organisms eat, grow, and move through the soil, they are producing the clean water, clean air, and healthy plants that we as consumers need/use. These soil organisms are constantly at work, decomposing organic compounds like manure, plant residue, and pesticides, preventing these compounds from entering water and becoming pollutants. They not only separate nitrogen and other nutrients that could potentially enter groundwater, but they also fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and make it available to plants, thus helping in producing the healthy crop farmers strive for.

 

What is Holganix’s part in the soil food web?

By itself, soil is already teeming with various organisms and microbe life that aid in creating healthy plants. What gives Holganix the upper hand as compared to our competition is that as a company, Holganix doesn’t just shine a light on adding in one or two non-native organisms, but rather we spotlight the idea of biodiversity within the soil. Holganix’s Agriculture product contains over 800 species of active, diverse microorganisms to promote crop health.

As Holganix founder and CEO Barrett Ersek once said, “Bio Diversity = Plant resiliency because we are giving the plant an entire microbial tool box to handle whatever mother nature throws its way. Our competition is only providing a single tool or at best a couple of wrenches and a screw driver; we give them the entire microbial toolbox.”

Click on the button below to check out the contents of our “microbial toolbox”