Adding compost to your garden soil will help to improve just about any soil type - whether it is clay, sand, or silt. There are two things that unhealthy soils lack: microorganisms and organic materials. Truthfully, you need the organic materials in order to attract the microorganisms.
Remember the movie Field of Dreams
? "Build it and they will come".
It is pretty much the same for those beneficial microorganisms. Enrich the soil with quality organic materials, and the microorganisms will follow. One of the most beneficial organisms found in garden soil is the earthworm
. Soil is its own small ecosystem, each participant relying on the other in order to form perfect gardening harmony. Take away one factor, and the balance of your soil's health can get out of whack.
There is one common amendment that gardeners can add to their garden soil that is invaluable for keeping that balance - compost. Here are some ways that compost adds to the health of your soil:
- Encourages the formation of properly-sized aggregates which improves drainage, controls compaction, and prevents water run-off
- Conserves water due to better water retention
- Provides natural micro and macro-nutrients, which eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers, reducing pollution
- Stabilizes and sustains soil pH levels which will promote better nutrient availability to plants
- Improves moisture retention in sandy soils to reduce leaching and water loss
- Provides for better root penetration in clay soils
- Stimulates better overall root development due to improved soil structure, porosity, and density
- Controls or suppresses soil-borne plant pathogens that may lead to plant disease
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