It's mid-summer. Should we declare a National Be Nice to Soil Microbes Week? Several soil health experts would probably encourage it.
Microbes, after all, form a complex underground community and offer plants much of the sustenance they need.
And if that surprises you, how about this?
“The plants are actually in charge of the system,” says Todd Harrington, president of Harrington’s Organics in Bloomfield, a specialist in soil products. He describes the little-known process by which plants send messages to soil microbes through root emissions called “exudates.”
The exudates actually vary as the season progresses, encouraging population growth among the particular soil microbes the plant needs. Microbes, in turn, process nutrients such as nitrogen until it’s in a form that plants can use.
To learn more and get the name of a really good book on the topic, please see "For a Better Lawn and Garden, Take a Microbe to Lunch." If you have trouble with the link, please download the PDF below.