[NAFEX] increasing organic matter in soil

Stephen Sadler Docshiva at Docshiva.org
Thu Dec 18 12:45:22 EST 2008

In that article, tt was that 10-20% of manure and cover crops remained in
the soil as 'stable organic matter;'  but it was also noted that compost is
more stable than those.  A much higher percentage of composted material will
remain in the soil.  

Cover cropping is conversion of mostly pre-existing matter in situ to active
organic matter. Manure is also largely active - as opposed to stable -
organic matter. I'm not at all expert in soil science, but my rough
understanding is that that active organic matter will increase largely
beneficial soil organisms, which make up a lot of the weight of soil, and
cause other changes: the soil becomes easier to work, holds water better, is
better aerated, and more resistant to erosion and compaction, for example.
Non-composted materials added to soil will compost actively, or fairly
rapidly, compared to prepared compost. 

Prepared compost has already largely converted to stable (slow-converting,
rather than active-converting) organic matter, and may come from outside of
the area it's tilled into; you get a direct increase of soil volume, and
most of it is stable.  The stable organic portion is important to help the
soil maintain nutrients in place for crops.  It's also the portion
responsible for the wonderful dark color of well-tended soil. 

~ Stephen

-----Original Message-----
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Mark Angermayer
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2008 9:00 AM
To: North American Fruit Explorers
Subject: [NAFEX] increasing organic matter in soil

A lot of folks are trying to increase OM of their soil.  This month, the
Ontario fruit newsletter had a short interesting article about it.
Interesting that only 10-20% of the weight of compost, actually ends up in
the soil.



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