Microbes are essential for food gardeners. They help our plants uptake nutrients, convert our food scraps into compost, and aerate the soil for increased root growth.
The decomposition of organic matter and creation of soil would not be possible without the tireless efforts of the trillions of microorganisms that exist all around us. They’re also responsible for creating the rich, nutritious compost that turns your veggies into irresistible treats.
Did you know…
- One single teaspoon of soil contains 1 billion bacteria, 120,000 fungi, and 25,000 algae.
- Bacteria are responsible for the process of nitrogen fixation – the conversion of atmospheric nitrogen into nitrogen compounds that plants can uptake as an essential nutrient for their growth.
- Microbes can cook a compost pile to up to 140°F! Bacteria of the genus Thermus exist in the hottest compost piles and were originally discovered in the hottest springs at Yellowstone National Park.
- The stench of decaying matter is replaced by a fresh earthy smell thanks to actinomycetes bacteria. If your compost is unbearably smelly this could be due to poor aeriation forcing the microbes to switch from aerobic decomposition to anaerobic decomposition which produces methane gas.
- Larger critters such as worms, slugs, and insects also digest the decomposing matter, excreting finished compost as they munch their way through our food scraps. They also aerate the soil by creating tunnels and space for plants’ roots to grow.