Diversify Your Microbial Livestock


What an interesting spring it has been so far! From several feet of snow to nearly 100 degree days within just a couple weeks span. Imagine the rapid adjustments that must take place below ground as plants begin to awaken, unfurl, and respond to the unpredictable weather. How do the living creatures that make up the soil adapt so rapidly? Freezing, thawing, flooding, drying… The conditions are always in flux!

This is precisely why diversity is so central to a healthy soil ecosystem – heck, any ecosystem for that matter! More diversity equals more adaptability. When you actively work to diversify your microbe herd – whether it be in your soil or your gut – you help those systems respond better to stress and change. In our world, change is constant. Further, general scientific consensus says that change is accelerating. Changing precipitation, changing temperatures – these factors play a critical role in the health of our communities, above ground and below.

So how do you diversify your microbial livestock in order to foster adaptability and resilience??IMG_3445

Here are just a couple of simple things that go a long way:

  • Recycle organic matter by creating high quality compost – “Waste” materials (e.g. food scraps, paper-based packaging, animal bedding, etc) are chock-full of nutrients and life-giving potential! Learning how to process these materials in a way that effectively harvests all of that potential and then using the recomposed form to support plant and soil life is essential in creating resilient and regenerative systems.


  • Learn about the life in the soil so that you better know how to support it – Humans seem to be better at compassionate stewardship once we get to know and respect other beings. Seeing the living organisms that exist right under your feet and learning about how they feed plants and neutralize toxins are the first steps in becoming a shepherd of diverse microbial life.


  • Support fungi – Unlike bacteria, which can exist in even the most abused and demolished soils, fungi require some TLC. Don’t get me wrong, fungi are resilient as anything (fungal spores can even survive in outer space!), but in order for beneficial fungi to support us, we must first establish the conditions that support fungi. In the soil, fungi create structure for air and water flow; they partner with plants for the benefit of all parties; and they do the magical work of sinking carbon and cleaning up toxic substances.

To learn more about these topics, check out our calendar of upcoming classes and events!

Upcoming Classes and Events

Saturday June 2nd Composting with EarthWorms Co-Hosted with Giving Tree Gardens

Wednesday June 6th What’s in Your Soil!?  Garden Microbes 101 in Longfellow Neighborhood

Sunday June 10th The Art of Thermal Composting at Renaissance Soil HQ  

Friday July 20th  Soil Life At The Tiny Diner

Under the Microscope 


This is a microscopic image of a predatory nematode magnified 400 times the naked eye. Though invisible to us without the aid of microscopic lenses, this worm-like creature is actually gigantic within its own neighborhood!  Don’t let the name fool you – “predatory” sounds scary, but these little dudes make great soil stewards. There are many, many different types of nematodes all living different lifestyles; the mouth on this particular one tells us he likes to eat larger, soft-bodied prey organisms – especially pests, such as root-feeding nematodes and grubs!

Other News 

I’m excited to share the news that Renaissance Soil has received 501(c)(3) status, which means we are now serving as an official tax-exempt nonprofit organization! We greatly appreciate donations, as they allow us to sustainably provide important soil health education and outreach. With our shiny new 501(c)(3) status, your donations will now be tax-deductible – that’s always good! Thank you for your support!

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