Soil is a living entity. Soil contains a microcosm comprised of bacteria, fungi, amoeba, protozoa (flagellates and ciliates), arthropods which include springtails and nematodes, earthworms, various insects and near the surface animals such as moles, voles, etc. If you look at any life form, its life is dependent upon soil, even if it is a creature living in water, some part of that life is dependent upon soil that has washed into the lake, stream or ocean, giving up the bacteria that flourished where that soil came from. Land animals are even more dependent on soil for their lives since their foods start in the soil and the plants that grow there. Soil is not only important, it is everything, for without soil, there can be no higher life forms than those that make soil what it is, the cradle of life. Since life is totally dependent on soil or more precisely the organisms that make the mineral dust on the surface of the crust of planet earth usable by all other life forms. Is it possible to make soil better than the best of it we can find? What attributes would the perfect soil have? We are still learning the answers to these questions. All life can be considered electric, brain cells communicate through electric charges, without electron exchanges cells can’t do anything. In the world of plants, roots need to be able to communicate with each other and then to the soil organisms in order to get the food items they need. This is done by exudates, chemical messages, in order to actually make and expel these exudates the root cells have to communicate and that is done by electron exchanges. One way we could make soil better would be to increase the electric conductivity capacity of the soil. Carbon is the primary conductor in soil, adding carbon to soil will increase the conductivity, bio char is one simple way to do this. Another way would be to increase the numbers of cations and anions by increasing mineralization. The “standard” is to till the soil, breaking up the matrix of life forms there, then adding synthetic, chemical fertilizers to add nutrients to the newly created dirt. All the needed basic nutrients might be in that fertilizer but these compounds will not be in best usable form for the plants to take in. These raw compounds won’t be processed because the life forms that do that job just got disrupted, broken down or buried far too deep to be able to survive. Long chain molecules need to be broken into “bite size” chunks so the plant cells can use them to make the long chain molecules needed by the plant. Since only the big three (N, P, K) fall into the “ready to use” form, it isn’t long before the plant looks nice and large and green and even puts off lots of fruits but, where is the real nutrition that comes from the complex sugars that are used to make the proteins, carbohydrates and bind the vitamins in usable chain molecules? They aren’t there because the microbiome was disrupted and then poisoned by the act of “farming”. Plants that grow in an environment full of synthetic nutrients do not acquire the nutritional values that same species plants grown in the presence of natural, mineralized soils, mostly because it is the soil life forms that break down the nutrient packets into a form the plants can use best. Synthetic nutrients (fertilizers) tend to either kill off soil life forms or are in such high concentrations that the organisms are overwhelmed and thus unable to do their job of breaking down nutrients before the plant roots suck them in. This leads to the plant having a glut of improper nutrients which, like a human who ingests too much vitamin C, passes the excess as excrement. The problem with this dependence on synthetic nutrients is that because they are not broken down prior to plant use, they are not in the correct form for the plant to use them well. Which leads to plants deficient in nutrition. These nutrient deficient plants are then used either as animal feeds or consumed directly by humans, the animal doesn’t receive the nutrients they need. This method has brought with it the concept of empty calories. You eat and feel full, but the nutrition simply isn’t there, resulting in cells not getting what they really need and end up substituting other items to complete the molecules needed for life. The organism then uses these wrong component molecules which results in all manner of health issues. There are other methods to make improvements, which would be far more beneficial and help the soil microbiome organisms thrive. We can increase the numbers of the micro-biosphere organisms that creates soil. This population increase can be accomplished through several methods; aerated compost teas, which contain living rhizosphere organisms, using finished compost as a mulch layer, which contains organisms of the rhizosphere, or through a combination of the two. You can also increase the quantity of minerals and the variety of minerals by applications of finely ground rock dust, sea weed or even naturally evaporated sea water (sea salt). The more varied we make our amendments to soil, the better the soil will become because life thrives in diversity. This is in direct opposition to what has become the “standard” thinking of farmers and gardeners. I'll add more as I get it written Redhawk When any organism can’t get the nutrition it needs to be fully healthy, diseases can grow rapidly. Diseases are usually caused by organisms (bacteria and viruses and most “pest” insects) which are unable to digest complete nutrients, they want incomplete items such as simple sugars and when these are in abundance, they have found their ideal breeding grounds. This is why infestations occur in fields, the pest insects are attracted to the incomplete energies the deficient plants put off. The plants are “sick” and the pest insects can literally see this, so they come in to eat the sick plant. This is the point where the farmer resorts to poisons so there will be a crop to harvest. This cycle is repeated, year after year . The result of this method is resistant insects and diseases, and we intensify the toxicity or we find new toxins to apply to keep the pest under control. This is an unsustainable method, both from a nutrient and pest control point of view. You can only do this sort of thing for a short time before you have killed everything beneficial and thus increased the numbers of the pathogenic organisms. We can find this is the case just by looking at farms all over the world. Everywhere that has followed this non-sustainable methodology has vast tracts of waste lands that used to be productive farm land. China is perhaps one of the best places to use as an example, simply because they have been farming longer than most other countries.