The success of organic gardening lies in the quality of soil. Soil is constituted of various communities of organisms, right from cell bacteria and fungi, protozoa and algae to something which is more complex micro-arthropods, nematodes and the ones that are visible to the human eyes like insects, earthworms and vertebrates. All such organisms work on the garden soil to keep the soil healthy. They eat up the organic matter and move through the soil while depositing the castings in order to add nutrients to be fed by the plants. The process of tunneling improves the health of the soil, till the soil perfectly creates spaces to allow water and air to pass through. This entire mechanism improves the structure of the soil. Apart from adding nutrients, the food web keeps all the organisms that grow in the soil healthy. Healthy organisms can also safeguard the soil and the entire garden from diseases and unwanted pests. Thus, it is important to keep the community of organisms in the soil.
Soil food web for the health of the soil
The visible organisms and micro-organisms in the soil maintain the soil structure and improve the health of the soil. Nature plays a very vital role in balancing up life with the natural methods. With the method of green gardening, the community of life in the soil will be kept healthy. It can even protect the plants and the garden from pesticides. So, when the soil is healthy, the plants will be healthy enough to yield only healthy crops. It is only due to the organisms that we enjoy fresh air, clean water and healthy plants. Productive crops resulting from organic gardening are healthy for both human consumption and for our environment.
When does the healthy food web occur?
• When all the organisms required for tunneling are present in the soil
• When all the nutrients required by the plants are in proper balance. It is only healthy foodweb which holds all the nutrients in their non-leachable form. The plants, at this point, turn the nutrients into the forms that may be consumed by the plants.
• When the apt ratio of the fungi and bacteria is present, healthy food web occurs.
The importance of soil food web
• Healthy soil food web permits the nutrients to stay in the soil. They do not pass off in the form of vapor from the soil. The natural nutrients in the soil remain intact and so there is not much need of nutrients.
• Nutrients get cycled in the right form and at the right rate for all plants. The bacteria to fungi ratio get proper and there is also the balanced level of predator’s activity.
• The soil structure also gets built such that water, oxygen and nutrients are absorbed by the soil.
• Soil food web also helps in suppressing diseases caused by the organisms as they are in constant tussle with the beneficial organisms.
• The soil surface also stays protected.
So, it may be said that soil food web holds great significance when it comes to the growth of plants. It can control the toxic compounds by breaking down the organic matter.