Like all living organisms, plants need certain conditions in order to live and develop. Sun and water are important resources that plants need to receive above the surface in order to grow, however, what lies below the surface is just as essential in providing plants with the proper nutrients and components to truly thrive.
Soil plays a major role in creating an optimal environment where roots can establish themselves and nutrients can be received. A good healthy soil will include a beneficial balance of microbes which include bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and contain the proper amounts of the macronutrients Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium and other key nutrients. Many soils are depleted or lacking in certain elements which can be detrimental to the overall health of plants. A soil test can help diagnose many of these issues, however adding microbial inoculants can help boost soil health and can work with all soil types!
A microbial inoculant is produced from either a liquid or grain substrate inoculated with beneficial microbes (fungi, bacteria, yeast) that, once introduced into the soil, act similar to the way yeast inoculates bread or wort and multiply themselves to create healthy populations.
Introducing soil inoculants has many benefits. The additional microbes help increase transportation and supply of nutrients to the plants while the plants, by means of their roots, provide food in the form of sugars to the microbes. This symbiotic exchange is mutually beneficial for all parties and the soil, plants, and microorganisms continue to exist in harmony.
Microbes are also helpful at reducing pests and plant diseases by limiting harmful bacterias in the soil while also strengthening the rhizosphere to combat any unwanted invaders. By adding microbes, water retention can improve and limit soil erosion and is beneficial for conserving moisture during the hotter and dryer months. For newly planted trees, the inoculants can be especially beneficial by helping the plant receive a greater abundance of more readily available water and nutrients that microbes help provide.
How to add Microbial Inoculants
The inoculant can be incorporated into the topsoil of newly transplanted or established plants and reapplied until the beneficial microbes become predominant in the soil or according to product’s instructions. The inoculants can also be used for houseplants and can be added into potting soil or sprinkled on topsoil. Microbial incoluants are also used in a fermenting compost process called Bokashi which includes adding the inoculates to organic material and food scrapes which are then converted into a nutrient rich compost for soil.
The underground world of soil is complex yet highly important to the overall well-being of all plants. Supporting the existence of healthy microbes within the soil will be most beneficial in growing flourishing plants for years to come.
At OGW we offer a diversity of food plants and their companions from around the world. We offer unique and rare fruit and nut trees, shrubs, and vines. We've been sharing our passion for edible plants and organic gardening since 1994. We are a family owned and operated nursery in Portland Oregon. We ship our seeds & plants to all 50 states. At our retail garden center we offer seasonal fruit tasting, preservation and plant care classes as well as hold events in the community. We support local food sovereignty- grow your own One Green World!