In order to prepare your soil properly for next year’s planting, when you harvest from your garden any nutrients that are removed need to bereplaced. It is important to “prepare” your soil with composted matter before planting for the next crop in order to replace what has been removed.
Soil is not just dirt. Soil is made from rock that has been broken down to extremely small particles. Soil can also be sand, clay or silt. Clay has the smallest particles, then silt, and sand has the largest particles. Soil itself if not alive, but it is made up of an enormous amount of living organisms, which includes earthworms, insects, and many other microscopic life. Soil by itself is not enough to harvest large, tasty fruits and vegetables. The organic matter added to the soil is the missing factor to making a big difference in your harvest.
Organic matter is plant residues such as lawn clippings, leaves, corn stalks and straw, manures, sludge, wood and food processing wastes, and green manures. Organic matter mixed with soil starts the composting process, or breaking down the plant residues which makes nutrients for the next planting. Commercial composters are readily available.
Organic matter that you have composted yourself or have purchased has many benefits. It helps break up the dirt, making it easier to dig. It is better for water absorption and easier for roots to grow. It also provides nutrients for your next crop of plantings. Start composting this year, and every year you will see an improvement in your harvest.