Dr. Elaine Ingham has been working in soil science for four decades, making her one of the world’s leading experts in the relationship between soil biology and plant life. She has worked for some of the biggest organizations in the horticultural world and for more than 20 years has led her own consulting and education group, Soil Food Web School, leading research on the interconnection of soil and bacteria, fungi and mycorrhizae, which are the symbiotic associations between fungi and plants.
In a podcast episode with gardening expert Joe Gardener, Ingham explains why soil is all about life and describes the soil food web at work underneath the soil, which is made up of fungi and bacteria, and many small creatures that live in the soil. Here’s more from their conversation:
“The population and ratio of microbes within your soil will be very different from the ratio in the soil of another gardener; because each of these organisms is, in large part, controlled by the plants being grown. For example, soil with a significant weed problem contains a high ratio of bacteria. Grassland areas harbor a higher number of fungi under the surface.
“The soil in a healthy orchard contains ten times more fungi than bacteria, and the fungal ratio in conifer forests is higher still. The correlation between plant life and soil biology is striking.”
How are you working to maintain the health of your soil? What do you think of Soil Food Web?