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Plants consume microbes. That's why its better to feed the soil than the plants

 
pollinator
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In the article "Turning the Table: Plants Consume Microbes as a Source of Nutrients" (see link below, PlosOne) it is shown that plants consume microbes (as the title says). What does this mean? Having a living soil may be better than a sterile substrate to grow plants.

The ncbi article states that bacterial uptake does not make up a big part of nutrient uptake, but the information about compost tea available makes me think the study should be done another way.

But what implication does it have for farmers/gardeners?
-Use mulch
-use activated(!) biochar
-use compost
-use compost tea
...
and watch in what kind of bacteria your plants have grown, not to get diseases from the factory farm or the hospitals raw sewage.

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0011915
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3838624/
 
pollinator
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Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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Plants often bring their own beneficial concomitant microbes with them in (not on) their seeds. Those microbes process minerals and other nutrients in water and soil, just as the microbes in our intestines break down the food we eat into a form that we can use. Soil and plant microbiology are complex studies and there is a lot of disagreement as to how the two interact. The best thing to do would be to research it thoroughly and do some experimentation. Experiment design is very important when determining the relevance of a given report. In other words, their specific findings may not apply to your specific application.

Some recommend applying sugar or molasses (usually blackstrap molasses) to the soil to feed the microbes.
 
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