This awesome guest post was written by Aamar Khwaja, Inventor of modgarden (Mod Garden). Aamar is a health advocate and on a mission to see everyone eat healthily!
More and more experts in soil biology and farming have found connections between healthy soils and healthy people. The importance of soil quality is essential for us to stay as healthy as possible.
Although this is something that we might not consider frequently, it makes sense—healthy living soils results in foods with higher nutrient content, which, subsequently, help us with our health. Soils filled with microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and other microscopic species, are essential components of life.
The Importance of Microbe Health
For many years, proponents of natural health have promoted well-mineralized soils for the benefit of healthy living. More and more researchers recognize that gut microbiota is one of the most overlooked organisms.
In 2012, the National Institutes of Health’s Human Microbiome Project announced that humans should think of themselves as a “superorganism,” essentially a residence for microbes who perform critical tasks and services to our bodies (1).
As we are becoming more and more aware of the tremendous benefits of having a healthy gut, we may choose to take supplements such as probiotics or prebiotics as a way to feed and ensure the overall health of the microbial species which reside within our bodies.
Although our gut health and quality is of utmost importance and can help with a multitude of ailments and conditions, it is also important to consider the quality and health of the soil.
Just as we have destroyed essential microbes in the human gut through the use of antibiotics, highly processed foods, and exposure to GMOs, we have also impacted the health of soil through the overuse of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and much more.
Like the microorganisms in our guts, the soil is also filled with microorganisms, mainly bacteria, and fungi. These tiny organisms are responsible for cycling water and nutrients to plants, resulting in nutrient-dense foods that are healthier for us to consume. The relationship of soil with microorganisms is incredibly symbiotic and necessary for plant health—and, additionally, our health.
What Do Soil Microbes Do?
A lot, actually! Soil microorganisms not only nourish plants but they also help plants to digest nutrients and protect them from threats. Plants have the unique ability to form symbiotic relationships with fungi. These fungi colonize their roots which channel nutrients and water into the plant cells while also enabling plants to create a defense system against potential threats.
For example, a study done in the U.K. found that fungi filaments acted as a transmitter between bean plants when attacked by aphids, thus enabling other plants to produce a defense chemical to ward off a potential aphid attack.
How Do We Improve Soil Quality?
For the past few decades, there have been soil microbes available for purchase in gardening shops; however, the actual effectiveness of these products was generally inconsistent.
However, in the past few years due to the advancement of production technologies, it is becoming more and more possible to identify and grow key bacteria and microorganisms necessary for healthy soil quality and apply them to our soils.
By adding microorganisms to our garden soils, we are able not only to increase crop yields and quality of the food but also improve our overall health.
Unfortunately, most soils today have microbes that have become inactive or eliminated. This is most common with commercial agriculture lands as the soil is constantly in a state of stress due to the persistent use of chemicals. For a sustainable future, placing our focus on the health of the soil is essential.
It is astonishing the number of microbes in the soil (and in our guts) that are essential for our overall health. By reintroducing microorganisms into your soil, you’ll be able to strengthen not only the health of your garden but also your health.