The Importance of Organic Matter
The key to growing great plants and vegetables starts with the quality of the soil they are trying to grow in. A crumbly soil which is high in nutrients, high in organic matter, retains moisture during dry spells yet drains freely during heavy rain is the ideal soil we are trying to create in our gardens.
Even though yours may currently be back breaking clay or light sandy soil, you can improve the structure spectacularly by working in bulky organic matter such as garden compost and manures, then letting nature do the rest.
The Magic is in the bacteria...
The bacteria which is dormant in your soil comes alive when you provide it with a feed source of organic matter. The best sources are garden compost, black gold or well rotted farmyard manure. They warm the soil as they work and transform the organic matter into valuable plant nutrients and humus. The humus then helps break down the sticky clay soils or bind together the loose sand into soil crumbs, whilst providing a slow releasing source of essential plant nutrients.
Under cultivation each year, the organic matter and nutrient levels in our soils will fall and they need to be replaced by adding new materials into the ground each season.
It just gets better and better...
After the immediate transformations that are achieved during your first dig and incorporation of organic matter, the soil will be more workable and become less compact as it settles. The improved structure will provide more tiny pockets in the soil to hold air and water which in turn will stimulate root growth and help the plants thrive. As the organic matter then becomes settled in the soil, it will begin to act as a sponge by holding the water the soil needs but also allowing any excess water to drain through. All working towards the makings of a great soil.
Its not just the plants that will love it but also the worms. The increased feed source in the soil will attract worms to your flowers bed and veg patches, who in turn digest the material converting it into valuable nutrient rich worm casts, all adding to soil fertility.
After a few seasons of cropping the soil and topping up the organic matter your soil will have made significant improvements in both structure and organic nutrient levels creating a fantastic productive soil.