The Microbiome I

Where better to begin our journey together, than arguably our beginning and one of the major sustenances of our existence.  Though there are so many different facets of the microbiome that we could explore each one more intriguing than the last, today we will be focusing on the microbiome of soil and how their health and numbers contribute to the overall health of your plants.

It was a more recent discovery back in 2013 by Dr. Eric Brown of the FDA while trying to find the reason behind why east coast grown tomatoes were more susceptible to salmonella than their west coast counterparts.  From their research they had discovered that the soil from the west coast samples, were more abundant in the microbial genus paenibacillus which naturally will attack salmonella but is benign to humans.  Using these findings they hope to cut down on the level of salmonella outbreaks by implementing these microbes to the soil.

The nice thing about recent developments in microbial research means that you no longer have to have a Laboratory or Ph.D. to extract and house the microbes until implementation.  You will, however, need your own microbial compost tea brewing system which you can buy off  Amazon.  For those with more of the DIY spirit you can make one without that much difficulty out of a five-gallon bucket, a small fountain pump, and fountain head kit to sit at the bottom to stir up the water cycling through the tea, and an airstone and pump system to supply oxygen, you can also add a nozzle at the bottom for ease of use but it’s not necessary.  There are plenty of great DIY videos online about making your own, or I will also be working on my own how to youtube video on this as well in the near future.

Once you have your brewing setup all ready to go you can start experimenting with different tea brews for your plants, with enough searching you can usually find different brews that are catered to specific vegetation or you can just go with one that has microbial levels that beneficial for almost everything in your garden.  One company I’ve had quite a bit of success with is Extreme Gardening, they have a pretty wide array of different brews and additives that are safe for most if not all the plants in your garden.  I also have heard a lot of great things about Dragonfly Earth Medicine but have not yet had the pleasure of testing their products.  I will, however, be testing their products and many others, giving you all my results in the near future.

The microbiome has so many benefits to be implemented into gardening, it is how your plants transfer and absorb nutrients from the soil.  The problem most plants encounter with this is that many chemical fertilizers contain salt within them and other acidic ingredients which can lead to the soils microbial life dying away.  This is why I always suggest that if you’re going to use any fertilizers at all try to stick with organic guano usually found in the liquid form from companies like Aurora Inovations or Nectar of the Gods.  Although through your own implementation of microbial teas that you’ll need less fertilizer altogether.

This concludes our trip down the stream of consciousness to the garden of knowledge, I hope today has brought you some new insight into the kingdom of the microbiome.  I look forward to hearing about your own experiments with these new gardening methodologies and am open to questions either through messages on my facebook page or through messages on my site, I will also be setting up an email specifically for this blog in the near future.  Happy gardening!

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