当你生活在一个每个医生办公室的墙上都挂着洗手液、“细菌”或“真菌”会引起恐惧的世界里，你很难与微生物建立共生关系。直到我在常青州立学院(Evergreen State College)上了一堂土壤科学课，在那里我接触到了一个关于真菌的故事，我的观点才发生了改变。
The story was about the first land pioneering algae, which would not have survived without a symbiotic relationship to an aquatic fungus namedChytrids.The Chytrid found nutrients from the terrestrial environment that were supplying nutrition for the algae. In exchange, the algae created sugar from the sun using photosynthesis. This new symbiotic organism,now called Lichen, pioneered the way for all plant life on land.
This idea that fungi can live symbiotically with any organism, let alone set the foundation for life on land, shifted a paradigm in my mind. A deep gratitude and curious excitement for microbes bubbled inside me. Eventually, this excitement led to my discovery of integrating beneficial micro-organisms into farms or gardens through Korean Natural Farming, and more specifically the cultivation of Indigenous Microorganisms.
Korean Natural Farming And Indigenous Microorganisms
Korean Natural Farming is a type of farming founded byCho Han-Kyuin the 1960’s that focuses on the natural biological systems in soil. Natural Farming utilizes self-made microorganisms and nutrient solutions to maintain healthy microbes, enabling the growth of healthy plants.
One of the key components of Korean Natural Farming is the collection and replication of Indigenous Microorganisms, or IMO. IMO are the microorganisms that have been adapting and surviving within the native soil environments throughout the years. The organisms that primarily make up IMO are beneficial fungi, bacteria, and yeasts.
The Indigenous Microorganism Process
It is important to collect IMO from not only the closest and most similar area to that of your land, but from an area that is also very biologically active. The best place to start is any undisturbed leaf litter that could activate the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms.
After a site is found, a box made from plant material or wood is filled with rice and placed in the location. It is important to make your box visible so you can see the growth of white strands called mycelium. The box then gives the microbes a home as they feed on the rice. This collection phase is finished once vibrant white mycelium completely covers the rice and weaves through all the grains to make a single mass.
A Closer Look At Beneficial Microorganisms
It can be difficult to tell if the collected IMO are beneficial, but there are some signs to initially look for. The indications of good IMO are a lack of bad odors, a predominantly white mass (not red or black), and mycelium that can hold all the grains of rice into one mass. Although, keep in mind that you will never know for sure until you look through a microscope.
A microscope is an essential tool for anyone using a microbial inoculant (homemade or bought). It is important to be 100% positive you have collected the right fungi to be successful.
When we put the IMO under a 400x microscope, we can see the fungi collected.
Drying The Microbes
Before moving on to the next step, a way to guarantee a wide range of microbe diversity is by collecting IMO from different environments. Good places to collect IMO are the undisturbed decaying plant matter of forests under broad-leafed trees, bamboo patches, grasslands/prairies, perennial shrubs, and other areas with beneficial fungi. A leaf littered environment with a sweet smell is usually a good spot to collect IMO.
When collecting IMO, avoid conifer trees and try to go somewhere with a higher elevation than your garden. Conifer trees tend to be too acidic for a garden and the harsher environment of higher elevations will make the IMO more likely to survive in your garden.
The farmer then combines the soil from their garden to the pile of microorganisms to adapt and train the IMO for specific conditions. Drake Weinert and Chris Trump go into further detail about the methods and proper approach to Natural Farming in the videos below.
Benefits Of Indigenous Microorganisms
When we have established a range of IMO into the soil by feeding them Natural Farming solutions, the bodies of the microbes will become our fertilizer. The solutions give the plants the ability tocontrol and select the particular microbes它们的根系需要这些物质。这种选择是通过植物从根部释放分泌物来完成的，这些分泌物会喂养和吸引特定的微生物。
Once the plant has attracted the specific fungi or bacteria they desire, larger microorganisms, like protozoa and nematodes, naturally come to graze on the bacteria/fungi. These larger organisms consequently excrete the bacteria/fungi in a water soluble form at the plant’s roots, where the plant will absorb the nutrient-rich waste.
The established IMO will then increase the plant’s resistance, even providing a cure in come cases, to fungal and bacterial diseases. Beneficial fungi found in IMO willregulate pathogenic organismsin your soil through their hyphae, and release anti-bacterial/fungal substances to keep pathogenic organisms in check. Natural Farmers like Chris Trump, a large-scale macadamia nut farmer, used IMO and other Natural Farming inputs to save hundreds of acres of severely diseased trees. His success story is one of many resulting from natural farming and IMO.
Along with disease prevention and increased fertility, IMO provides correct aeration, water retention, and the growth of fewer weeds. These benefits all come with the re-introduction of beneficial aerobic fungi grown in IMO into our soil.
Other Uses On The Farm
The Current State
The rapid death of forests around the world from fungal diseases is an example of accumulating pathogenic organisms. Often, the weakened immune system of the trees is caused by human pollution and climate change.
不幸的是，大多数人使用更多的杀虫剂、除草剂和杀菌剂来对付疾病肆虐的森林本身。虽然使用这些化学物质的社会惯例被证明是无效的，但韩国自然农业可以解决这个问题。In Natural Farming, the growerspartner with the microbialworld through maintaining healthy biology. This system can clean up poisons, re-fertilize soil, and ensure a safe environment for future generations.
The introduction of IMO to a farm or garden can have huge uses in the bioremediation of polluted land. Fungi have some of the most powerful enzymes known on earth and are experts in breaking down organic and inorganic material. Potentially, the introduction of beneficial native fungi selected with powerful enzymes could result in breaking down chemicals that are poisonous and scarring the earth. In fact, modern science is having a hard time comprehending fungi’s ability to break down toxic compounds because humans can’t create a controlled environment to watch them.
Today’s Homestead Story about Indigenous Microorganisms (IMO) was written by Adam McWilliams. Adam lives on a farm in Eastern Washington where he is co-farming three acres of organic vegetables and melons as well as working to make self-made fertilizers and microbial inoculants. In this post, Adam will share knowledge about Indigenous Microorganisms, a self-made microbial inoculant that utilizes species of beneficial fungi local to your bio-region.