The word ‘bacteria’ comes with an undeservedly negative connotation – we’re surrounded by anti-bacterial hand soap, bodywashes, hand creams, and household wipes at nearly every drugstore. The message that bacteria = bad can’t be mistaken.
In the natural world – especially in your garden – the message is decidedly different. Your plants not only love bacteria, they need it to be present in the soil to help them grow! Beneficial bacteria help plants get nutrients from the soil, assist them in converting nitrogen, ward off pathogens, and improve crop yield. There are even bacteria known as PGPB (plant growth-promoting bacteria) which promote plant growth as well as help the plants defense system to protect it from pathogens.
You’ll be able to tell if your soil has beneficial bacteria in it by taking a close look at what’s growing in it now, and how healthy it appears. Take a moment to observe:
Earthworms: Worms are good for soil, they aerate the soil a they move through it – the channels they leave from digging through let water soak in and allows this air to reach the roots. Sift a few inches down; if you find earthworms, chances are good that you have healthy soil. The reason for this is as they eat through the soil and leave their castings behind, they help release soil nutrients such as nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and calcium. In fact, the benefit of passing through the digestive system of the worm kills many pathogenic bacteria like E.coli and Salmonella that can harm your plants, and get passed along to humans.
Water penetration: If you take a cup of water and pour it onto the surface of the soil, it should be able to be absorbed in about 5 seconds or so. If the water doesn’t soak into the ground easily, it doesn’t necessarily mean the soil is bad, but there could be issues down the line getting the right nutrients to your plants.
Plant coloration: Plant leaves are often the easiest way to tell that there’s something missing from the soil. If the leaves are shriveled, discolored, or falling off the stem, then you know they’re not getting enough of what they need to grow healthy. Adding soil bacteria to your grow can remedy many problems associated with nutrient deficiency and plant disease which are common causes of plant discoloration. Soil bacteria helps by transporting macro and micronutrients like magnesium and iron which are essential for generating chlorophyll as well as regulating photosynthesis.
Weeds: One or two weeds are expected in even the most well-tended garden, but if you notice them start to take over – watch out! Weeds tend to do well in poor soil conditions, and they’ll start to force your plants out if they’re left unchecked. Cover crops can also be added to the soil around the plant to physically exclude weeds and outcompete them. A benefit of cover cropping is that it can be cut down and left in the soil as additional nutrient sources for your plant and food for bacteria.
If you’d like to better your soil with beneficial bacteria, one of the best fertilizers to use is produced by Geoflora – Their VEG and BLOOM amendments help you nurture your plant from seed to harvest. Geoflora VEG is designed to be applied during transplant and as a top dress to ensure vigorous growth in plants while also creating an established, well-supported microbial environment while your plants develop. To give your plants the best start possible, bacteria is key.
Geoflora BLOOM is a formula with reduced nitrogen levels to help ease the plant through the transition phase and bolster flowers and fruit production – BLOOM is added as an amendment to the soil every two weeks up until harvest, and the diverse sources of phosphorus and potassium will help result in a more abundant yield.
If you have your fertilization regimen set in stone but want to find out how else you can help improve your plant’s growth and yield, you may want to give Tribus a try. This highly-concentrated blend of three growth-promoting rhizobacteria is safe to use in any system, and in conjunction with the products you’re already using.
As shown, when it comes to your soil, bacteria is a good thing. If you’ve been having issues with your grow, the soil is the first place to look, and adding some beneficial microbes may be all the help you need!
Have a hydroponic or garden supply store? Left Coast Wholesale has you covered with wholesale pricing available on Geoflora nutrients in bags from 4 to 50 pounds. If you’re looking for Geoflora nutrients near you, call 800.681.1757 today to find a local Geoflora retailer!
Dialing in the flow rate correctly can be trial and error for a lot of growers, and is usually something they want to be able to do quickly once they’ve isolated the source of their plants ill health. Octo-Flow has the answer to this – and other – irrigation problems. Octo-Flow is an innovative 8 port stationary water irrigation manifold that allows the grower to control the flow rate or turn the flow off/on with a turn of the included hex key. If needed, it can be converted into a full-open version – all with a simple adjustment.
Carbohydrates play a huge role in how a plant develops - provide building blocks for plant structural components, such as cellulose – which helps grow the cell walls – and they help deliver energy for growth. Besides helping to mimic a plant’s natural carbohydrate profile, Karbo Boost brings an ample food source to plant’s cellular building processes. Though cool-season plants tend to have a shorter growing season than those that have had all summer to bloom they still need to be tended and fertilized - Karbo Boost is making sure your plants are getting the food they need – and then some!
It may seem counterintuitive to suggest that a gardener forgo soil completely for their grow, but here are some of the problems a professional horticulturalist may have with soil…
For professional growers, their agriculture is what they depend on, so taking a chance on soil that could end up ruining even a portion of their grow. This is where soilless growing mediums come into play for agriculturalists that want to start with a blank slate where they control how much water, and what nutrients, the plants get from germination until harvest. A soilless medium is a mix of mediums like peat, coco coir, and basalt that can be used in a hydroponic system or in pots and is free of contaminants, has great aeration and drainage abilities, and can allow the grower to apply whatever mix of nutrients they feel is right for their crop.