Increasing Organic Matter in Your Organic Garden

Increasing organic matter may be the most important part of your organic gardening, because organic matter  produces humus. Humus is the end result from the decomposition of organic material and is primarily the decayed remains of soil organisms

Organic matter and humus play an important role within the health of the soil. Both Organic matter and humus bind soil particles in a very granular structure making soil pore area. Pore area will increase the movement of air and water through the soil

Organic matter provides roots oxygen. Without oxygen in the soil they cannot grow. Additionally Carbon dioxide is discharged from the soil in its exchange with air, stimulating photosynthesis and also the production of energy for plant metabolism

Carbon Content Is Vital

By increasing organic matter, you are providing several compounds to the plant not obtainable within the soil water. Most vital is the carbon content of organic matter. The carbon content is the energy supply for soil microbes and it's consumed within the process of decomposition to supply the plant with available nutrients. Carbon is the limiting element for growth and reproduction of soil microorganisms.


The nitrogen contained in organic matter is very important, because it provides microorganisms with the ability to create proteins essential for reproduction and growth

Other Mineral Nutrients

During the decomposition process of organic matter, acids are created that will make available to plants mineral nutrients, such as potassium, phosphorus, and zinc, which are in the soil but unavailable to the plant. This process will eventually increase the availability of those plant nutrients way beyond what's removed by crops throughout the season.

Increasing organic matter to levels of 5% -6% will provide a profusion of healthy soil organisms and create good soil structure. These levels will also extend the nutrient-holding capability of the soil, and protect the soil against conditions of drought and heat stress, and buffer the soil against nutrient excesses. Providing an adequate supple of organic matter is important for supporting a flourishing soil system.

Ways to Increase Organic Matter in your Soil


Increasing organic matter by adding compost to to your soil is that the simplest means of rapidly increasing organic matter and maintaining it in your soil. Select “aerobically” processed compost that contains a pleasant “earthy” smell and has decomposed sufficiently enough so that you can’t tell it from the material it was created from. Applying compost that's not “finished” will quickly hold up nitrogen, which will limit plant growth.

Use Your Yard Waste

Stop throwing your yard waste out in your recycling bins. Keep it! Use it! Compost it. Mulch it!This is gold and so many of us are giving it away.

Rotate crops

Your soil carbon is determined by the amount and quality of plants grown.

The amount of plant residue is effected by:

  • Planting crops that have dissimilar biomass.For example corn has more biomass than onions.
  • Growing crops based on nutrient relationship cycle.

The quality of plant residue is effected by:

  • Growing crops that have diverse patterns in their root systems that change soil structure.
    Plant residue is improved by growing crops that easy for the soil microorganisms to breakdown. Grasses decompose easier than Legumes dried out tomato plants.Legumes (peas, beans, alfalfa, etc.) have the added advantage of fixing atmospheric nitrogen and high nitrogen in the upper plant.

Grow green manure crops

Green manure crops are crops that are tilled into the soil after a certain amount of time. This will provide organic matter for the following crop.

Apply Animal Manures

Animal manures supply plant nutrients and organic matter.

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