The Fungal-to-Bacterial ratio is among the most important indicators of soil health. It reflects what type of plants your soil is ready to grow. Most common veggie crops prefer a 1:1 ratio, while weeds prefer 0.1:1 and forests can go all the way up to 1000:1 before they are truly mature. Most farm and garden soils in this country have been depleted by harmful practices such as pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and tillage, and thus are usually far less than the minimum recommended value of 0.3:1. Test your soil to see where it lies on this spectrum. Get it closer to 1:1 and watch as weeds disappear and crops thrive!
The Nematode, Flagellate, and Amoeba populations are all beneficial indicators of soil health. If you have the minimum recommended amount of 10,000 individuals per gram of soil, it indicates that your soil food web is up and active, cycling nutrients for your plants.
The Actinobacteria and Ciliate populations are less desirable, and can indicate anaerobic conditions. We always want our soils to be aerated, but through the natural structure created by soil biology--not through tillage. In fact, excessive tillage can cause compaction layers just below the depth of the deepest tillage. This can lead to anaerobic conditions and high actinobacterial and ciliate populations. Follow no-till farming or no-dig gardening, and get your microbial populations up, and you'll see less and less of these harmful creatures in no time.
We provide our results as a PDF document, sent directly to your email inbox. This document includes charts detailing the above parameters. All you have to do is scoop out a soil sample using our sampling guidelines and send it our way. Get your soil tested today to learn where you are on the path to a healthy soil food web!