Organic soil principles eschew the use of harsh chemicals for bolstering plant growth and preventing weeds or unwanted insect incursion. Instead of relying on chemicals, organic soil seeks to build a positive ecosystem. As organic soil is being built, a positive working relationship develops between microorganisms, insects, plants and even the gardener maintaining the process.
Organic soil is important in a garden as an alternative to chemically treated soils. Chemically treated soils alter and destroy the fragile ecosystem that supports healthy, vigorous plant growth in a garden grown in organic soil. Beneficial microorganisms, earthworms and all the other bit players in the insect kingdom that help a garden thrive end up in greatly reduced numbers or completely absent in chemically laden garden soil.
Organic soil encourages beneficial microbes, earthworms and other insects to thrive in a garden. It provides vital nutrition to growing plants, helping them to grow strong, hardy and resistant to diseases.
Organic soil building is an ongoing process. Gardeners build their soil with organic ingredients such as compost, worm castings, humus and mulch. Soil amendments such as greensand, blood meal and bone meal may be used as needed. As garden plants go through their life cycles, they may be plowed under in order to decompose and return their nutrients to the soil, thus enhancing it. Organic soil building never ends, and is infinitely sustainable.
Organic soil is least expensive to maintain in households where a gardener has set up a composting system or systems. While organic soil amendments may be purchased at garden centers, a large amount of kitchen and yard waste can easily be made into organic soil amendments. This can benefit an organic garden and also save money that would otherwise be spent on trash and recycling pickup. Compost bins or heaps, vermicomposting (composting with worms) and bokashi (anaerobic composting) are three common ways a household can create organic soil amendments out of what would otherwise be trash.
As an ongoing system, organic soil has unlimited potential. For that reason alone, it is incredibly important, particularly in a time where there is growing concern about worldwide conservation of natural resources. The more gardeners who participate in a system that builds organic soil, the larger a positive impact will be felt upon the earth. It may seem like a small thing, but if enough gardeners do it, it has the potential to quite literally change the world for the better.