Soil biology is the living components of the soil. A healthy soil has a relationship to the plants you grow, along with air and water quality. Arthropods, bacteria, fungi, nematodes, protozoa and earthworms all have a relationship in a healthy soil.
Arthropods are invertebrates that make the home in soil. They range in size from microscopic to several inches in length, and are grouped as shredders, predators, herbivores, and fungal feeders. Most of the soil dwelling arthropods have a very important part in improving a soils structure by aerating and mixing soil, regulating the population of other soil organisms and shredding organic matter.
Bacteria are one celled organisms, and very small. There lack of size is easily made up by their large population. One teaspoon of a productive soil will generally contain between one hundred million and one billion bacteria. These one celled organisms fall into four groups, decomposers, mutualists, pathogens and lithotrophs or chemoautotrophs.
Fungi are microscopic cells, and usually grow as long threads or strands called hyphae. These hyphae can span from just a few cells to several yards in length. They play a very important role relating to water disease suppression, nutrient cycle and water dynamics.
Nematodes are non-segmented worms that are typically 1 / 500th of an inch in diameter and 1/20 0f an inch in length. Some are plant and algae feeders, bacteria and fungi feeders and others feed on other nematodes and protozoa. Divided into four groups of bacteria feeders, fungal feeders, predatory nematodes and root feeders, they all have their purpose in the soil food web.
Protoza are single celled animals that primarily feed on bacteria and will also eat other protozoa, along with soluble organic matter and fungi.
Earthworms, the most common member of the soil food web. They are a major decomposer of dead or decomposing organic material. Divided into twenty three families, these invertebrates can range in size from one inch to yards in length, and be seasonally found in all depths of soil.
Keeping a healthy soil in balance for the natural biology to work and improving the soils structure will provide many benefits for plant life to thrive and keep the environment clean. This can be easily done by just supplying the soil with the organic material it needs to feed the living organisms, for the soil is their home.