Feeding Your Soil - Step #7

Frequent Inoculation

Frequent Inoculation is essential for continued development of microbe life in the soil. Our goal is to create a well-balanced culture in the soil, and in order to achieve that, we need to ensure that balance between these microbes is maintained in the complete soil food web over time. Continually inoculating with a well balanced culture will ensure that no one microbe takes over as we have discussed before (see Step 2:  Planning). Over time, the natural environment of the climate that you are working in will naturally balance itself from layer to layer in the soil.

The levels of Anaerobic Bacteria vs. Aerobic Bacteria is an important balance to maintain, ESPECIALLY with no till systems. If out of proportion, anaerobic bacteria can actually cause serious harm to your soil. Anaerobic means “oxygen-fearing” and aerobic means “oxygen-loving”. This means that areas where there are low levels of oxygen will tend to favor anaerobic bacteria and areas of high oxygen concentration will favor aerobic respiration and thus aerobic bacteria. Now, you might be thinking that all you need to do is apply some oxygen in the form of H2O, but unfortunately, that’s not the right form of oxygen we are talking about. In order to achieve this you either need to inject O2 (ozone) into your watering system or you can continue to inoculate with an elevated level of aerobic bacteria and over time they will balance themselves out in layers of the soil.

Frequent inoculation also ensures that if any roots have made their way through the soil and lost any one individual in the culture along the way, that it will be given a chance to find its way to the party and contribute to the community as a whole. Again, we are trying to create a harmonious, balanced environment. Every micrometer of soil counts and the more influence we have on who is sitting at the table, the better for the system as a whole. Natural balance takes decades to achieve for this very reason, so the faster we can speed up the process, the faster we can get back to farming more naturally and sustainably for years to come with little/no input. 


Additional Resources:

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Respiration


Additional Reading: 

"Teaming with Microbes" by Jeff Lowenfels

"Teaming with Fungi" by Jeff Lowenfels

Tune in Friday for…

Feeding Your Soil - Step #8: Microbe to Fungi Ratio & Plant Maturity

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