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Soil Microbes

Soil Microbes

A soil microbes (soil food web) soil test is a comprehensive analysis aimed at understanding the composition and activity of the soil food web in garden soil. The soil food web refers to the intricate network of interactions among various microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, and other small organisms, as well as the plants and animals in the soil environment. This test provides valuable insights into the health and vitality of the soil ecosystem, offering information that can guide gardeners in optimizing soil conditions for plant growth.

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Report includes:

  1. Graphs, data analysis, and personalized recommendations with organic or conventional amendments.
  2. A 15-minute phone consultation with one of our soil scientists.

Interesting Details about Soil Food Web in Garden Soil:

Microbial Diversity and Plant Health: A diverse and thriving soil food web is essential for plant health. Within this web, various microorganisms perform specific roles in nutrient cycling, disease suppression, and organic matter decomposition. High microbial diversity often indicates improved soil fertility and enhances plant resilience against environmental stresses.

Nutrient Cycling and Soil Fertility: Soil microbes play a pivotal role in nutrient cycling by breaking down organic matter into essential nutrients that plants can absorb. This process not only enriches soil fertility but also ensures a continuous supply of nutrients necessary for robust plant growth and development.

Mycorrhizal Relationships: Mycorrhizal fungi establish symbiotic relationships with plant roots, facilitating nutrient absorption and water uptake. This mutualistic association significantly benefits many plant species, particularly trees, shrubs, and agricultural crops, by enhancing their nutrient acquisition capabilities and overall health.

Predatory Microorganisms: The soil food web includes predatory microorganisms such as nematodes and protozoa, which prey on bacteria and other microbes. These predators play a crucial role in regulating the populations of harmful organisms, thereby contributing to natural pest control and maintaining ecological balance.

Decomposition and Organic Matter Breakdown: Bacteria and fungi are primary decomposers in the soil food web, responsible for breaking down organic matter like plant residues. This decomposition process releases nutrients back into the soil, supporting future plant growth, and contributes to the formation of humus, which improves soil structure and fertility over time.

Indicator of Soil Health: The composition and functioning of the soil food web serve as an indicator of soil health. A balanced and diverse microbial community reflects a healthy and well-functioning soil ecosystem. Any disruptions or imbalances in the soil food web may signal underlying issues such as nutrient deficiencies, soil compaction, or chemical toxicity.

Effects of Chemical Inputs: The application of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides can disrupt the balance of the soil food web. Some chemicals may adversely affect beneficial microorganisms, leading to disruptions in nutrient cycling and potential harm to plant health. Sustainable soil management practices aim to minimize reliance on such inputs to preserve soil biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

Resilience to Environmental Stress: A robust soil food web enhances the soil's resilience to environmental stressors such as drought and disease. Healthy soils with a diverse microbial community can better support plant growth and productivity during challenging conditions, contributing to sustainable agricultural practices and ecosystem stability.

Composting and Soil Microbes: Incorporating compost into the soil introduces a rich diversity of microorganisms, promoting a healthy soil food web. Compost provides organic matter and a plethora of beneficial microbes, enhancing soil structure, fertility, and overall ecosystem health. This practice underscores the importance of organic matter management in sustainable gardening and agriculture.

      Sampling instructions

      1. Using a clean bucket and a shovel, collect three samples to a depth of 6 inches in random spots in the defined area*. Avoid sampling when soil is very wet.

      2. Break up any clods of soil, remove rocks, stones, sticks and plant matter, and thoroughly homogenize soil together in the bucket.

      3. Take out 2 cups of soil and place into plastic bag and label with a sample ID (i.e., Stevie's front yard), type of test, and order number (found in order confirmation email).

      4. Purchase your test on our website and send sample to Alluvial Soil Lab, 201 E Center St, Ste 112 #3083, Anaheim, CA 92805 using any postal carrier of your choice.

      Turnaround time is typically between 4 and 8 business days. Results will be sent via email.

      *To ensure a comprehensive soil assessment in your land, it's recommended to take one composite soil sample for every 1,000 square feet of garden space. This composite sample is created by collecting smaller soil samples from different locations within the 1,000 square feet area, allowing for a representative analysis of the soil's characteristics.

      **Always wear gloves, mask, or other necessary PPE while collecting samples from potentially contaminated soils.

      Advanced details

      Test includes:
      Bacteria, Fungi, B:F, Nematodes, Ciliates, Amoebae, Flagellates. Total counts of each

      View full details
      • Wilson H.

        Verified Purchase ✓

        I recently started a garden at a community plot, and wanted to know what was in my soil, so I could make more targeted amendments. Jake walked me through how to do so, and after sending my samples in... (read more)

      • Noah M.

        Verified Purchase ✓

        As a professional in the field I very much appreciate the timely and detailed report, along with skilled follow up communications. I will certainly use Alluvial Soil Lab's services again.

      • Zakary S.

        Verified Purchase ✓

        Great support and detailed report. Helped advise what options we had to plant trees! Plants are doing incredible!(read more)

      • Peggy C.

        Verified Purchase ✓

        I recently moved to a property with a vineyard, and wanted to know what type of fertilizers to use and how much to apply. So I did a soil test. I was new to soil testing and with Jake's help and instructions, I was able to successfully collect… (read more)

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