soil food web tagged posts

What is a Natural/Sustainable Agriculture System?

Let us be clear what we are doing with our work in these natural soil habitats. We are building or strengthening soil habitats with LIFE. The main word is ‘LIFE.’ To sustain this Life requires foods – minerals – both trace and major/minor nutrients. In a form the bugs (the LIFE) can eat! It requires energy. We believe soil LIFE is best referenced as the ‘soil foodweb.’

It is this soil food web that is nature’s preferred delivery system between the organic and inorganic systems, between the available and unavailable nutrients, and out of that energy for growth, disease resistance, nutrient retention versus leaching, top soil staying in place rather than eroding away – and yes, even rebuilding that lost top soil...

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SGTX Custom Blends Follow Road Map to Match Biology with Desired Plant Growth

SGTX promotes the use of Fungi-to-Bacteria ratios as a key to understanding how a below-ground soil foodweb succession parallels an above-ground plant ecological succession.  The following chart illustrates this concept.  Early-successional plants (invasive weeds and annual crops) are bacterial-dominated while late-successional plants (prairies, trees, and forests) are fungal-dominated.  The numbers in the chart are based on soil biology lab tests.  They are reported as Total Fungal Biomass : Total Bacteria Biomass (F:B) in micrograms per gram.

The soil biology test provides a practical glimpse of which kinds and how many soil critters make up the existing soil foodweb on a farm, ranch, yard, park, etc.  This chart guides SGTX work...

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Liquid Compost Extract (LCE) versus Aerated Compost Tea (ACT)

Liquid Compost Extract (LCE) Advantages Over Aerated Compost Tea (ACT)

LCE can be generated in large volumes in a short time frame, it is shelf-stable, and it offers the flexibility of activating for use as compost tea. Also, we see a longer lasting response time from the extraction process over the tea brewing process. We need the depth of this response time in Texas soils.

In the process of compost extraction, the beneficial biology in compost is dislodged and goes into a solution. An important distinction is that the majority of these micro-organisms are inactive or dormant. The liquid biology that results from LCE is similar to the conditions that exist in compost; only a small percentage are active and working, the others lie dormant until they are woken up in response to external sti...

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Making Liquid Compost Extract: What Does Our Microscope Reveal?


Bacteria in liquid compost extract


Bacteria are tiny, one-celled organisms which decompose organic matter, mineralize and immobilize nutrients, suppress diseases, fix nitrogen, and solubilize phosphorus. In agriculture soils a desirable range is 100 million to 1 billion bacterial organisms in one gram of dry soil.

Fungal hypha

Fungal hypha


Fungi are microscopic cells that grow as long threads or strands called hyphae. These single-celled strands push their way between rocks, soil particles, and roots. When these strands fuse together they look like fungal roots called mycelia. Fungi decompose organic matter and crop residues, solubilize nutrients from parent rock, and physically bind soil particles into aggregates which improves soil structure...

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Ratio of Fungi: Bacteria | A Road Map to the Use of the Soil Food Web

Succession Chart

What are we trying to grow? Vegetable? Shrub, Tree, Rye grass, corn, cotton, roses? Or…?

Study the chart and find what you want to grow and then note the ratio of fungi:bacteria required for that particular type of plant. That is the target we are aiming for when helping you take care of your land. How the soil foodweb is influenced to be the fungal:bacterial ratio you want depends on what kind of soil community is already there, your cultural practices, past cultural practices and, what grew there long ago (100-200 years ago).

Once we determine what kind of soil community we are trying to influence, we can begin to build our compost supply one way or the other to get it ready for our custom spray blends...

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Soil Food Web – The Missing Link in Fertility?

Soil Food Web

Soil that is Alive! We are looking for thousands and thousands of these critters of the soil foodweb in our soils which function as natural systems.

When we augment the biology in your soil, our supply comes from stripping them off high quality compost in the form of Liquid Compost Extract (LCE) with our extractor. The better the compost, the better the LCE and the better the soil results.

Understanding the soil food web is critical to building a functioning eco system that holds onto water, allows plant roots to probe deep into the under-ground world, cycles nutrients, detoxifies, sequesters carbon, builds organic matter, humus and top soil.

Understanding the dominance and ratio of fungi to bacteria is critical to matching under-ground communities with above ground plant communities.

If ...

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Seven Functions of a Healthy Soil Foodweb

  • Retain nutrients – nutrients are complexed via living biomass and clay-humus; nutrients do not leach and pollute groundwater, retention of fertilizer nutrients
  • Cycle nutrients – nutrients are made available to plants in the right form at the right time during the growing season; via plant-microbe feedback
  • Build soil structure – soil aggregates formed thru bacterial and fungal interaction with clay particles; creates porosity and habitat for roots and soil organisms, reduces compaction, improves water-holding capacity
  • Suppress diseases and pests – disease-causing organisms are suppressed thru bio-control mechanisms like competition; insect pests are suppressed during soil-dwelling phase via bio-control
  • Colonize plant surfaces – root (rhizosphere) and leaf (phyllosphere) surfaces are coloni...
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