Soil biology is all about breakdown and UP-cycling of carbon and other nutrients. Fungi is essential for the breakdown of complex organic materials like cellulose and boosting availability of nutrients like phosphorous. Worms help with aeration and drainage of the soil, and the digestion and transportation of organic material. This allows the efficient utilisation of the organic material by soil microbes, that fix N and provide other nutrients in plant available forms, supporting photosynthesis.
If the process is efficient, more nutrients are stored than lost. This is where UP-cycling begins and resilience is built.
Diversity creates stability. Plants growing in diverse soils, naturally resist diseases much better than those in soils with low biodiversity. One of the things we look at then, when gauging the health of soil, is the fungal and bacterial balance. Sugars from root exudates are a form of organic carbon which feed soil biology and increase fungal and microbiological populations like mycoriza and rhizobium, which in turn will increase biodiversity in your soil and resilience against disease. We can manipulate this by stimulating organic carbon- and nitrogen cycling.
This process is fully reliant on the sun as carbohydrates are built by photosynthesis and the beauty is - the sun shines for free!
The goal of a general farming enterprise is to create a positive number on the bottom of the P&L, propelled by the power of the sun. Solar energy is the kick-off in a cascade of events that makes your farm work. The major one is that the leaves of your crops convert carbon into biomass, complex proteins and sugars. Biomass can turn into food for animals or human consumption, or even a nice glass of wine.
But we of course want to give the sun a helping hand where we can!
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