“Where farmyard manure has been added, there is living soil. But the soil is dead where there is only mineral fertilizer application”. This statement by Erest Omulama, a farmer in western Kenya, represents a view shared by many in this region and beyond. What Erest is actually implying is the lack, or reduced activity, of soil microbes in soils that do not receive organic matter inputs. How can microbe health in soils be balanced with sufficient nutrional inputs?