Soil: a Living Organism
Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow! When you look at the soil as a living organisms, not just as support for plant roots, you start to see how tilling actually destroys soil structure. Human populations have infrastructure – utility lines, roads, communication devices, and stores of nutrients. A well-developed soil has its own highly developed and connected underpinings == openings for air and water movement, channels for earthworms, fungal hyphae that extends for hundreds of feet, aggregates of soil that allow easy root penetration, and organic matter that holds moisture and slowly provides required plant nutrients. Plant roots become involved in the transfer of carbon captured during photosynthesis, and an element required for any life form, to the microorganisms living below ground. The roots actually extrude carbon rich sugars which algae, fungi, and other soil organisms take in exchange for bringing the plant potassium, calcium, and other nutrients.