Organics

Good Gardeners Grow Soil First, Not Plants

Good-Gardeners-Grow-Soil-FirstCommuning with soil microbes is the order of the day. We know a fraction of what these tiny animals do to aid in plant growth. All plant growth, be it single cell algae or the mighty sequoias or saguaro cacti basking in the desert sun, relies on millions of microorganism for survival.

 

There are thoroughly documented situations where bacteria, fungi and beneficial nematodes formed mutually beneficial associations with plants, improving the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients, resist pests, disease and drought. Microbes are enabling plants to better tolerate challenges of the earth’s changing climate, saline soils and temperature fluctuations. There is evidence that the flavor of your favorite fruit and vegetables may be contributed to by microbes. Can you imagine buying a type or types of microbes in soil amendment products that specifically “sweeten-up” a strawberry or plum or Dragon fruit? Maybe even help color selection for flowers in your flower bed? Those types of microbes must be out there and they will be found and marketed. And don’t forget the flora and fauna found in your own digestive system that are responsible for your hale and heartiness.

 

The seed you plant and the transplant you pot will have a microbial community helping that plant species grow and thrive. Every species of plant in the wild or your garden has its own rhizosphere (roots) community. The begonia growing next to that petunia and also sharing space with any grass or oak tree will have its own unique microbial group. There is some commonality of microbial species for all of the neighboring plants, which allows genetic information to be exchanged through chemical signals. Every microbial group has its position on a plant’s tissue and when the plant is ready and signals same, the beautiful music of plant growth and reproduction begins. It sounds something akin to a Lilliputian opera.

 

A commonly sited example of microbes and plant togetherness are the tiny bacteria called Rhizobia that infect the roots of legumes (green peas, peanuts, beans, sweet peas, etc.). The swollen nodules on the roots of these types of plants are fertilizer factories involved in nitrogen fixation. This elaborate underground activity has been taking place without human input for a very long time.

 

My idea behind this short moment to introduce the microbial world to home gardeners is to stimulate all that garden, and do so for the love of it, to begin every planting experience, be it a half acre or four inch pot, with an “under the ground” mindset. Feed the microbes that will feed the plant, that will feed you with joy.

 

Microbial food comes in many different forms. Carbon is the dominate source. The usual soil amendments that add organic matter are as always, compost, peat, and just about anything lignin and cellulose. Off-the-shelf soil additives like BioFlora Soil Source, a liquid carbon-based humic organic acid would be a good choice. Use it to prepare soil mixes, in-seedbed applications and mix with water to use as a soil drench when backfilling transplant, tree holes. BioFlora Seaweed Crème is a toothsome dessert for many soil microorganisms, while also stimulating new root growth with its special auxins. Use it alone or as a 50/50 blend mix with BioFlora Soil Source when drenching. BioFlora 1-2-1 can be a third member of the organic acid/seaweed combo. That 1-2-1 tincture of fertilizer will give that early kick to seed lines and transplants. For early flower bed and garden plot preparation and soil mixes or turf fertilization the BioFlora Dry Crumbles 8-3-6 +8% Ca is a well-balanced organic-based source of both microbial and plant food. Like plants, microorganisms need to be continuously fed to grow and thrive. A one-and-done will not produce that balanced soil ecosystem that all gardeners strive to achieve.

 

RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS

 

BioFlora Soil SourceBioFlora® Soil Source®

 

Soil Source® works to reverse damage and return soils back to their natural, optimum state. This product is a unique, biologically-enhanced humic acid, with a diverse spectrum of naturally occurring, beneficial microorganisms that help rebuild and restore soils. At BioFlora® we utilize a proprietary extraction process, which maximizes the amounts of humic acid we are able to procure. Our product is also comprised of many different characteristics that are not found in other organic acid products, such as soil carbon, carbohydrates, and other essential nutrients.

 

 

BioFlora Seaweed CremeBioFlora® Seaweed Creme®

 

Our Seaweed Creme® is made from the finest source of Ascophyllum nodosum, a type of seaweed that grows in the cold waters of the North Atlantic. From there it is hand-harvested, sun-dried, and homogenized. This differs from most of the seaweed extracts you will find on the store shelf, which use a harmful, chemical-based, high heat extraction method, which diminishes seaweed’s vital content and produces a sub-standard product.

 

Premium soil amendment for planting trees, shrubs, flowers, vegetables, ground cover and much more. May be used as a mulch or seed cover. Helps break up clay soil.

 

 

BioFlora Dry CrumblesBioFlora® Dry Crumbles®

 

Dry Crumbles® 8-3-6 + 8% Ca is a dry, granular fertilizer that is easy to broadcast and well-suited for broad-area coverage. BioFlora® formulated this product to provide an excellent source of high quality, sustainable nutrients for all types of plants, trees, and lawns. With this idea in mind, Dry Crumbles® was developed to be a balanced blend of not just nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, but to also contain high levels of calcium and other minor and trace minerals. What sets Dry Crumbles® apart is its blend of organic and synthetic ingredients, creating a sustainable product that provides the benefits of both.

 

 

BioFlora PlantalizerBioFlora® Plantalizer®

 

Sustainable fertilizers aim to be environmentally conscious and still provide immediate results, allowing you to achieve the distinct advantages of both organic and conventional products. Plantalizer® 1-2-1 works to improve soil structure and increase a soil’s ability to hold water and nutrients. With Plantalizer®, there is no risk of toxic metals or sodium build-up, which can be deadly to plants. In addition, nutrients are available to plants immediately, and overall plant improvement can occur within days due to Plantalizer’s quick-release formula.

 

Author


Michael Lindsey

Michael Lindsey

Michael Lindsey is an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Specialist at Global Organics Group in Phoenix, Arizona. He holds both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree in Entomology from the University of Arizona, and is licensed as an Agricultural Pest Control Adviser and Certified Crop Adviser in both Arizona and California.