In cultivating soil, the primary aim is to make conditions suitable for micro-organisms so that they can do their work most efficiently. It is that life, which is dependent on organic matter that feeds the Soil Food Web, which in turn provides plant ready nutrients to the roots.
Ground should be well aerated to allow the creatures to convert nutrients into forms available for plant growth; it should be moist to keep the organisms active, but well drained to stop harmful kinds which thrive in airless conditions. A well structured soil has plenty of pores which can be used by the plant roots to grow into the ground and which let in air and water. The structure of your garden soil can be improved by regularly adding organic matter—such as compost.
Organic matter applied in the form of composts or mulches:
1.Improves the soil structure by opening up clays and binding sands. Organically fed soil warms up much more quickly in spring and as more and more compost is added, the depth of the soil increases. Roots have more room to expand, the foliage above ground grows bigger, and heavier yields result.
2. Increases soil fertility. Organic soils are highly fertile and supply our food plants with all the nutrients they need in the right amounts at the right time, unlike chemical fertilizers.
3. Encourages plant development. Well structured soil and a balanced food supply prolonging a plant’s active life.
4. Gives plants protection. Plants are more likely to withstand cold spells and grow more successfully especially in cold areas if they are fed on a high organic diet.
5. Improves the quality of the crop. Anyone who has eaten organic food knows it tastes sweeter and more succulent than produce bought in the supermarket, and that it has better keeping and cooking properties.
Here is a list of some of these qualities and the reasons for them:
• Improved flavor of leaves, stems, roots and grains due to healthy bacterial population and micro- nutrients
• High juiciness from a constant supply of water and vitamins.
• Sweeter food. A balanced supply of gases results in the right proportion of sugar to starch made by good soil drainage.
• More succulent roots. Toughness and lack of moisture is caused by ground that is too warm, organic matter keeps down the temperature of the soil.
• Better color of leaves, fruit and flowers. Adequate water and sufficient nitrogen and carbon dioxide gases.
• Freedom from blemishes. Antibiotics taken up from the soil and reduced soil splash by the mulch blanket.
• Longer storage life. Improved structure and lightness of the ground.
• Improved firmness and less likelihood of bruising. Sufficient calcium which binds cell walls together.
• Better culinary qualities due to a balanced food supply.
• Food is more filling because the crops contain all the nutrients the body needs in the right amounts and in forms that can be absorbed.
6. Boosts yields. Organic growing achieves greater crop yields because highly fertile soil can supply more plants.
7. Improves plant health. By providing the plant with a well-balanced diet consisting of body-building vitamins and minerals, protective antibodies and other substances, compost builds up plant strength and helps it to resist attack by pests and disease. Plants are amazing at synthesizing their own protective “phytochemicals” when they are growing in a healthy soil environment. We call many of these phytochemical compounds vitamins, anti-oxidants and just plain good taste!
8. Boosts nutritional quality. Healthy soils develop healthy plants which build healthy people.