A healthy soil has the ability to work as an important living system, supporting the productivity of life, furthering the quality of the surrounding air and water and providing health to plants, animals and men.

A healthy soil keeps a community of organisms needed to limit plant diseases, pests, and other functions that contribute to improving crop production.

It does not pollute its environment and it contributes to easing climate change.

Components of a healthy soil

Think of the soil not as a lifeless but a vibrant material, full of life and energy, housing a living community of organisms. We cannot see these organisms, but they are very helpful to the gardeners. These organisms help to improve the soil tilth, which is important in making the soil fit to support plant growth. They are also a major help in enabling plants to obtain nutrients in the soil.

A healthy soil has particles that are arranged to allow movement of water in and out of the soil. To promote plant growth, the plants need a constant supply of air and water. This is why we till the soil to improve the movement of air in the soil and we use irrigation to supply extra water to the soil.

Soil organisms are most active during late spring and early summer when the soil is warm and moist. Some activities of soil organisms drop when the soil dries out, and some may resume activity in the fall when the rain dampens the soil while it is still warm. Many soil organisms become inactive as the soil cools down. This is why the time to add fertilizer is when the soil is warm and moist, when soil organisms are more active.

3 Essential Organisms in Soil

Soil organisms are very small and are invisible to the naked eyes, but some of them have a major effect on the growth of plants. There are three categories of soil organisms:

1. Beneficial Organisms

Some organisms benefit the plants directly or indirectly. They have a close, mutually beneficial relationship with plants. Example, the organism supplies the plant with nitrogen and the plant supplies back minerals and sugars. This way, the organism improves plant health. They include bacteria that improve the quality of the soil, help keep nutrients, improve soil structure, and reduce pollutants in the soil.

2. Neutral Organisms

Neutral organisms have no effect on plants whatsoever. Their presence in the soil has neither bad nor good effect on plants. Their presence or absence in the soil really doesn’t matter.

3. Harmful Organisms

These are the organisms that are harmful to the plants, like fungi and plant pests. They are unwanted when they cause damage to an ecosystem. Plants need to be protected from them because they represent a threat to the crop.

Preserving the health of the soil is a very important responsibility not only by gardeners or farmers but by everyone. Maintaining the soil’s health is beneficial, as it will ensure that we receive healthier crops and abundant harvests in many years to come.