Five Ways To Improve The Health And Diversity Of Your Soil Food Web: A guest post by Phil Nauta, The Smiling Gardener. Most of the work in our gardens is done by the “soil food web.” If you’re not familiar with this term, it refers to the inhabitants of the soil, including plants and animals, and importantly (the very, very tiny) microorganisms. They do the work, and us gardeners are really just helpers. All of these soil dwellers manipulate the soil so it can support life. They also feed and protect plants. In fact, microorganisms play many vital roles, and there can be a billion of them in a gram of healthy soil. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have healthy soil, especially when we’re starting out, and without them, our garden gravitates toward being a desert, which is happening on much of our agricultural land. In fact, in most places where humans have spent some time, the health of the soil has gone downhill, but fortunately, we can move our garden back toward a lush paradise. A lot can be said about exactly what these organisms do for us, but I want to jump right into how to make sure they’re in our soil. While it’s less than ideal to bring in external inputs when we’re trying to be as sustainable as possible, our gardens often just need a little help at the beginning to move back toward a state of microbial abundance.