The Benefits of Organic Soil
Imagine a virgin forest floor, untouched by human influence for hundreds of years. Leaves, cones, dead plants, and dead animals have been piling up and decaying to leave a soft, wet, fragrant soil.
That is what the essence of organic soil is. The word itself means ‘from living organisms’. Organic soil accumulates from the remains of lots of dead flora and fauna.
However, there is more to it. Organic soil must also be free of chemical salts, synthetic fertilizers, and artificial pesticides. While it may have rock aggregates like sand or clay, every component should be completely natural.
Conventional soils like you would find on a farm are largely made of such rock aggregates, with organic matter forming about 10% of the total mass.
The more organic matter in the soil, the better all round. It supplies the nutrients needed for plant growth, retains water more, and remains soft to break the impact of rain droplets.
If you’re serious about successful gardening or farming, it is worth considering doing it with organic soil. Usually, the soil in your garden is less than ideal. Apart from having too little organic content in it, it can be eroded, depleted in nutrients, or too acidic for plant growth.
If you're using potting soil to grow plants, it might be sterilized to kill off all living matter including fungi, bacteria, worms, and nematodes (worms). At least, some manufacturers do that, not caring that the process also destroys most of the useful matter in the soil.
That is why you have to constantly add fertilizer, spray your plants with chemicals, and generally do a whole lot of maintenance. It is expensive and harmful to both you and the plants.
Organic soil, on the other hand, is the ideal soil. It is perfectly balanced, highly nutritious, and easy to manage.
The organic potting soil you find at the local stores is usually made of a variety of materials to optimize it for growing a variety of plants. Its components include:
Organic matter - It forms a large percentage of the soil and is formed from decayed wood, worm castings, bat guano, manure, or compost. It holds the bulk of the soil's nutritional content.
Peat moss/coconut fiber - These add mass to the soil without increasing its weight too much. They also improve their ability to hold water and add some nutrients as well.
Perlite/vermiculite - This is a mined volcanic rock consisting of compounds of aluminum, magnesium, and other metal salts. It is usually heated first to expand it. Apart from adding these metal salts, it also improves the soil structure and adds water retention capacity while preventing it from sogging.
Sand - A bit of sand is usually added to improve drainage.
Pulverized limestone - Organic soil can have slightly higher pH, so limestone may be added to stabilize it and provide calcium salts.
These are the ingredients of complete potting soil. Usually, you can also buy a different kind of organic soil to help improve pre-existing soil such as your garden or yard.
Improving depreciated soil is referred to as amending it. Organic soil is perfect for restoring the quality and potency of soil by acting upon it in three ways: it adds a lot of nutrients, improves its properties, and helps it retain water more.
Usually, you don’t have to buy gardening soil for amendment. Here are a few ways you can add to your soil’s organic content naturally:
Add mulch - Mulch is dead plant matter, which is great for improving organic content. When you mow your grass, trim your fence, or otherwise have a whole lot of dead plant matter, spread it evenly over the soil. It helps it to retain moisture and will eventually decay into organic matter.
Compost - Compost decayed matter. If you put together vegetable scraps, lawn clippings, leaves, and other organic waste into a hole and let it decay completely, it leaves a mass of very rich organic matter called compost. Applied on soil, it will instantly improve it in more ways than one.
Manure - This is animal droppings. It can be from cows, sheep, poultry, or other domesticated herbivorous animals. It can be spread while wet or dry on soil, where it decays and adds nutrients and organic matter into it.
Soil amendment can help to significantly restore the quality of the soil. However, when you want to do some backyard gardening or grow potted plants, its best to go for purely organic soil given its many benefits.
Organic soil is the epitome of organic farming. This is where you use natural, ecological-based methods, and products to create produce that is entirely free of pesticides, fertilizers, and other harmful chemicals.
This is made possible by the unique, wonderful benefits of organic soils. Let us look at each of them in turn.
The number one reason why you should use organic soil is that it is a treasure trove of vital plant nutrients. Because of its high dead plant and animal matter, it has a lot of minerals locked in that feed plants for a long time.
Plants need three major nutrients to grow healthy and strong, namely nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Others like calcium, magnesium, and sulfur must also be present along with trace minerals like zinc, nickel, iron, copper, and more.
If any of these is missing, it can affect your plants adversely. Organic soil usually has a good balance of all these nutrients. Adding the right amount of organic matter even to the most depleted soil can revive it enormously.
Of course, gardening soil or potting soil such as APN organic garden planting mix already comes with all the nutrients your plants need to thrive. With all the necessary nutrients, your plants will grow strong and lush and be able to withstand the normal stresses of growing.
A well-fed plant is a happy plant, even if you may not be able to tell. A plant's well-being is always discernible from the quality of yield it gives. Take a tomato for example.
If you harvest large, luscious, spotless tomatoes, it means that the plants themselves are super healthy and strong. The same goes for tuberous plants like sweet potatoes, as well as fruits like apples.
Using organic soil supplies the plants with all the nutrients needed for their well being, which induces maximum yield. Think of it this way: the parts we harvest are usually the storehouses of plant nutrients. A plant yields much if it doesn't have much, to begin with.
Malnourished plants are easily noticeable. A deficit of any of the macronutrients causes distinctive symptoms in the following manner:
Nitrogen - older leaves start to yellow with young leaves being a light green.
Phosphorus - leaf edges look burnt, while older leaves turn dark green.
Potassium - older leaves wilt, look scorched or show interveinal chlorosis.
Calcium - New leaves are distorted, and also causes blossom-end rot.
Magnesium - Yellow tips on older leaves, leaving a green arrowhead shape in the center.
Sulfur - younger leaves turn yellow first, then older leaves follow.
These are and other problems are evidence of plant malnutrition. By using high-quality organic soils, you can avoid all these altogether.
Just like a forest floor always seems damp no matter the season, any soil with a high amount of organic content tends to soak up water like a sponge. This partly due to its soft consistency, which is very good at wicking water.
Organic soil also reduces percolation and runoff to a large extent. What this means is that when you water your soil or the rain falls on it, the organic content slows down the rate at which water passes through it.
At the same time, it also absorbs the water before it can collect into pools or rivulets to flow. When the sun is out, it also prevents the water from rising and evaporating off.
The overall effect is an overall water retention quality that makes it so easy to maintain organic soil. Even if you are maintaining it by irrigation, you will need less water for every season. In fact, lots of suppliers add sand or other particles to improve drainage as needed.
Organic soil has a soft, sticky consistency or texture, which is important for soil health. For one, it consists of comparatively smaller particles.
Second, the organic matter in organic soil makes up such a large percentage that it acts like glue. It helps to hold other particles together to form large aggregates, which boosts its overall structure.
For one, such a soil has better water-holding capacity. Secondly, it will be easier for air to pass through it and for living organisms to survive.
These living organisms are the ones that break down dead organic matter into soil aggregates and thus ensuring the continued improvement of the soil condition. The organic matter in the soil improves its physical traits such as porosity, water infiltration, and retention rates.
Some normal practices like tilling, plowing, and burning vegetable refuse alter its physical properties. Organic soil can remedy such a situation.
Apart from the physical structure, organic soil also stabilizes the chemical properties of any soil it is mixed with. For example, some soils have a high pH or have a toxic amount of some chemicals.
Fertilizers also alter the condition of soil quite significantly. Long term use of artificial fertilizers can even kill the soil completely, to the point of having nothing growing on it. This is a dangerous situation where organic soil helps.
Organic soil is usually pH neutral or very close to it. With its rich store of chemical compounds, it neutralizes and stabilizes dangerous chemicals in the soil.
Growing a single type of crop or plant on the same soil means that the same group of nutrients gets depleted with time. If you can change the plants or rotate seasons, it is usually the most advisable course of action. If not, organic soil or organic matter can help restore the lost nutrients.
The soil is a large and vital part of the ecosystem. Damaging it usually leads to significant, irreparable damage to it including reduced biomass and possible effects on the general environment.
One interesting case is that of fertilizers used near water sources. When it rains, the surface runoff carries away excess fertilizer to the streams. There, it spurs the rapid growth of vegetation which in turn sucks in all the oxygen. With time, the fish die.
This is why the role of organic soil is so important. It eliminates or greatly reduces the need for chemicals harmful to the environment.
Apart from adding the right nutrients, organic soil also affords plants better protection from diseases and pests. It makes them strong and better able to defend themselves from pests and diseases.
Safety is a top concern in this age we live in, where almost everything nowadays seems to be carcinogenic. The food we eat is the number one concern among medical experts, which naturally starts from the soil it is grown in.
Poor soil necessitates a lot of artificial assistance for high yields. That is why we have a lot of agricultural chemicals and genetically-modified plants which are all high-risk factors when it comes to health.
The new-age fad and obsession with healthy organic food is not just a fad. It is people coming to their senses, and demand for organic food will just keep on rising. Whether you grow crops for personal or commercial purposes, you stand to reap top benefits from using organic soil.
Apart from humans, lots of animals consume the plants you grow. Bees collect pollen and nectar for honey, birds eat leaves and fruit, animals may eat grass and other plants. If the source has unhealthy chemicals, it will be passed on to the consumer.
The problem can even travel up the food chain, as happens with mercury in marine environments. However, using organic soil makes it safe for people and animals alike to eat safely from their products.
Our ancestors and predecessors depended on natural farming methods to produce food. Today’s solution to healthy gardening and farming is organic soil and organic agricultural solutions.
At Ancient Path Naturals, our commitment safe, healthy, and eco-friendly gardening has inspired us to come up with our very own 100 % organic, healthy gardening mix.
Whether you’re growing flowers, herbs, or vegetables, experience more productive gardening by ordering the APN 100% organic garden soil today. We are the home of organic soil that will help you reap all these benefits listed and more.