We all know plants grow better in well-structured soil, but what exactly are structured soils?
We know that poorly structured soils don’t allow water or air to penetrate – this is often due to compaction or over-working the soil, especially when it’s wet and waterlogged – you just end up with a sticky mess. In essence, well-structured soil is a soil where, by volume, about half is what people call soil (clay, sand and silt), and the remaining volume should be for air and water spaces, along with organic material, soil bacteria and fungi.
Microbes play a huge role in producing and maintaining structured soils. Many people think that adding organic matter to the soil will instantly give them a more structured soil, but this is not actually true. It is not until the microbes, and to some degree other soil animals such as earthworms, have delved through the organic matter that the soil structure changes.
There are three main ways in which microbes enhance soil structure.
Firstly, they secrete long chain sugar molecules, which stick small soil particles together, leaving spaces between them. The second is by fungal hyphae – these thin strands act like a hair net, keeping soil particles in place, thereby reducing the chance of the soil being compacted or eroded. The third way is by the release of carbon dioxide during the break down of the organic matter leading to the formation of air-filled pores. So even though microbes are extremely small, they can still influence soil structure.
A recent independent study was undertaken to examine exactly how much of this essential space that microbes create in the soil. Two soil samples were subjected to the same treatment – one soil sample was sterile, and the other with soil microbes. After about 6 months, the soil with microbes had increased the volume of the pores in the soil by a factor of 4, so the average space went from 0.03mm to 0.12mm per square mm. In addition, the way in which the pores were connected increased from 12% to over 50%, which means that water and air penetration was significantly enhanced.
In effect, the study showed that microbes made a huge difference in improving structure. This is why it’s imperative to have them in your soil. A great way to increase the number of microbes in your soil is to inoculate the soil with GOGO Juice used in combination with a certified organic pellet such as Seamungus or Rooster Booster.
GOGO Juice is teeming with microbiology and is essentially a pro-biotic for your soil and plants. These microbes activate the natural processes that occur in the soil, speeding up the decomposition of the residual organic and mineral compounds, ultimately increasing the nutrient availability and stimulating growth. Along with billions of beneficial bacteria, GOGO Juice also contains kelp, seaweed, fish, humic acid and manure, so you are not only feeding your plants with all the goodness of a wide range of organic nutrients, but the beneficial bacteria help to break down the organic matter, maximising the nutrients available to your plants in order for them to perform at their optimum level, increasing their ability to resist pest and disease and to withstand heat and frost stress.
Rooster Booster is a unique blend of the highest quality composted raw manure, specifically formulated for the most effective and safe feeding of all your garden plants. Rooster Booster promotes natural healthy plant growth. Essential plant nutrients are released slowly into the soil, stimulating microbiological activity making further nutrients available to the plant. Rooster Booster also helps the development of healthy well-structured soils. It promotes microbial and earthworm activity which bind soil particles together to improve soil structure and tilth. Better soil structure allows roots to grow unrestricted in a nutrient rich environment. Rooster Booster is manufactured from composted poultry manure – one of nature’s oldest and most natural fertilisers. This product is composted and steam treated to ensure it is pathogen and weed free. Rooster Booster is then pelletised for easier, cleaner handling.