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Re: fungal vs bacterial/ till no? No till?
You asked if there is any why to tell what a plant likes in terms of
bacterial vs. fungally dominated soils.
I am sure Dr. Elaine will give a better answer, but the way I remember it is
to think of where the plant I am trying to grow sits on a line of succession
from short growing season desert to grasses to prairie to deciduous woods to
hardwood forests to old growth conifers.
Annuals and row crops are at the bacterial end...things that take a short
time to grow and produce.
My understanding is that there are "generally" the same numbers of bacteria
in healthy soils no matter where the soil is taken along the line. It is the
fungal numbers that change and increase as the system matures so that by the
time you get to old growth, you have very high fungal dominance. And, of
course, tilling decreases these numbers by killing the fragile, invisible
fungi in the soil so you are left with a higher ratio of bacteria after you
And, if you can stand two more paragraphs, getting rid of fungus is why we
here in Alaska actually want to till gardens the first few years after they
are carved out of the black spruce forests that are our back yard.....our
soils are so fungal, it is hard to grow lots of annuals unless the soil is
Breccias, on the other hand, do well in our fungal soils. It is a kid's
hell. Broccoli, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts. You may have heard of the giant
100 pound cabbages. Of course, this may be more a factor of the cool
temperatures or their ability to attract bacteria regardless of fungal
numbers in the soil. This family of plants does not form mycorrhizal
You can tell my gardening engines are running, but spring has just now
arrived here. Sorry. And, please correct me, Dr. Elaine!