Organic Soil Preparation

Overview

Preparing soil organically is becoming more popular as people learn about the harmful effects of chemical residue on food. According to the World of Organic Agriculture, the United States is fourth in the world in the number of acres devoted to organic growing. Creating organic soil is easy with some basic knowledge about its preparation and use.

Characteristics

Organic soil preparation begins with understanding the qualities that create good soil. Fertile organic soil has been identified by the National Sustainable Agricultural Information Service as having these characteristics: soaks up water easily, is crumbly to the touch, resists erosion and nutrient loss, stores moisture for drought periods, does not require increasing input for high yields, and produces healthy, high-quality crops.

Features

The easiest way to prepare organic soil is by composting. Composting creates organic soil from leftover kitchen scraps, yard trimmings, newspaper, other paper waste and leaves. There are many commercially available compost bins at garden centers or simple ones can be made using chicken wire and lumber. Compost is nature's simple way of creating organic soil, and home bins do it faster.

Considerations

All garden soils benefit from organic amendments. If the soil is heavy and clay-like it will be aerated by adding organic soil to it. Organic soil makes heavy soil light and porous, which supports root development. If garden is sandy and does not retain moisture well, adding organic composted soil gives it the capability to hold water. Organic soil also adds the microbial activity that creates plant growth.

Function

Organically prepared soil is a living community. There are earthworms, fungi, protozoa, small mammals, bacteria and small algae in good soil. These microorganisms reproduce constantly, providing nutrients for the plants that grow on the soil. Soil is kept alive and healthy by the addition of organic matter, also known as compost.

Preparation

Organic soil can be added to the garden at the time of planting, as a side dressing and in a regular program of fertilization. Compost added at the rate of one shovelful to one square foot benefits newly planted vegetables and flowers. Organic soil is then used as a side dressing on growing plants to provide a continual release of nutrients into the root system. Used as mulch, organic soil retains moisture.

Keywords: organic soil, compost, organic fertilizer

About this Author

Joan Norton, M.A., is a licensed psychotherapist and professional writer in the field of women's spirituality. She blogs and has two published books on the subject of Mary Magdalene; "14 Steps To Awaken The Sacred Feminine:Women in the Circle of Mary Magdalene," and "The Mary Magdalene Within."