Sooner or later every gardener, even if he’s a fantastic gardener, becomes an Organic humus enthusiast. Read this article to know why!
What is Humus?
Humus, like chlorophyll, is one of the keys to the puzzle of life. It poses problems still unsolved by the probings of science, but adequate information is known to signify its essential importance. It can’t be expressed within the terms of a compound formulation, neither can it be reproduced synthetically, but it’s the substance that brings the dirt into life, and makes it capable of supporting plant life. No humus, no fertility, no life.
In the simplest terms Organic humus is the last phase of decomposition, rot, or decay of all organic material, animal and vegetable. Humus is the state of matter where the intricate biochemical types of animal and plant life, bereft of the energetic principle of life are broken down into simple substances capable of being built up afresh into plant structures. Therefore, Organic humus, by its existence, quality, and amount, determines the fertility of the soil.
More about it
Humus is all things to all lands. Its principal source is organic vegetable and animal refuse. This is converted to humus from the joint action of soil bacteria and earthworm. If generated on the surface, disintegration of the organic matter produces a light brown or brownish mass, containing more oxygen than carbon.
Decomposition within the upper layer of soil creates a humus of black or dark brown colour, rich in carbon, and more lively as a basis for plant activity within the soil. Humus functions as a weak cement into the soil. Added to light and sandy soils it serves to maintain the coarse particles together. Added to heavy and clay soils it forms aggregates of the fine clay particles and leaves its feel more open.
Physically humus is a colloid, using a colloidal land of swelling by absorption of water. In sandy, it enhances the ability of the soil to hold moisture and the soil solution for plant roots. In clay, it compels the aggregated particles apart, opens up the dirt, and promotes better drainage.
What does Humus do?
In most soils humus makes aeration more successful, and oxygen is as crucial to plant roots and vegetation as their counterparts over ground. Organic Humus also darkens the earth, allowing it to absorb the sun’s heat more readily and keep it more completely. It makes soils capable of sustaining vegetation earlier in the year, and of keeping a longer period of expansion.
Humus betrays its presence by the feel of the soil. A dirt well enriched with Organic humus is sweet smelling and elastic, and if squeezed feels just like a sponge. It darkens the top soil. Lower down the soil is lighter in color, because of the lack of humus. Soils long enriched with humus create the characteristic dark brown colour in thickness.
Valuable as it is to the physical condition of soils, Organic humus is to be valued even more for its direct and indirect discharge of plant foods. The raw materials of humus supply nutriment for all manner of dirt inhabitants, but chiefly bacteria.
Humus Chemical Components
The chemical components of humus are highly intricate. All we know is that in humus we have a combination of the goods of disintegrating organic refuse, more or less rich in carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen, and the many other components in smaller amounts that constitute the former organic and living structures. From the gardener’s perspective the essential of Organic humus is its situation.
Humus gathered under conditions of poor drainage, hard dirt surface, moisture, cold weather, and poor aeration, becomes peat-inactive, sour, and in itself infertile.
The best Humus
The ideal sort of humus is produced under conditions of well-aerated cultivated soil, where drainage is effective, and a temperature around 45 degrees Celsius the perfect for bacteria action. Such Organic humus provides the impartial colloidal substance that seems to be the principal source of these subtle but vital elements of healthy plant development, growth hormones, as crucial to plant life as vitamins are to people.
Humus serves also to maintain plant foods made available in the soil in book, before completely discharged itself into nitrogen, carbonic acid, etc..
Unlike the mineral components of the soil, humus is exhaustible. Its formation and disintegration are quickened from the strain of lime or calcium salts. These help to neutralize the acids produced in Organic humus-formation, and thus speed decomposition. Humus vanishes quickly in chalky, limestone, and gravely soils because of this. They’re humus-hungry soils, and we can’t replenish them with organic material too frequently or too much.
In most garden soils the action of cultivation serves to exhaust the humus content, and with it the fertility of the soil. Soil bacteria are always more numerous and more active in a cultivated soil, and the plants themselves draw extensively upon the soluble foods given by Organic humus and its derivatives.
Importance of Humus
Without humus living vegetation can’t flourish, and without humus the entire intermeshing action of dirt becomes suspended. Conversely, soil well enriched with Organic humus is well equipped to allow plants to withstand the vagaries of the weather. Being warmer, it enables an earlier beginning to gardening from doors, and a healthy immunity to cold spells. Providing a reservoir for moisture and the soil solution of plant foods, it withstands hot weather and drought.
Depletion of the humus variable is based upon the sort of soil, cropping, cultivation, and manurial policy. Regular renewal through the medium of organic manures and composts lead to an accretion of fertility over and above the seasonal cost.
How does it Form?
Under normal conditions all things organic source rust to form Organic humus and enhance the ground. Soil bacteria and micro-organisms in themselves, by way of their dead remains, are no mean contributors of humus. In wealthy, healthy soils, in which there action is encouraged, they provide as mush as 10 to 12 pounds per 100 square yards annually, of a kind especially full of phosphoric acid.
In the backyard some discretion must be exercised. Tree trunks, in addition to tree leaves, provide humus, but there is a fantastic difference in their rates of decomposition. Bones disintegrate much more slowly than blood. All organic remains are of significance, but to render immediate service to the reason for gardening, particularly food growing, they need to be readily digestible, and their food worth rapidly released.
Every garden, no matter how small, has a continuous supply of possible Organic humus in its own plant waste of foliage, stem, flower heads, hedge clippings, lawn mowings, etc.. Seaweed from the coast, spent hops in the brewery, scraps from the family table, stable manure and poultry run, or the bunny hutch-all provide possible life for the dirt.
Materials, slow to decompose in bulk, may be more quickly disintegrated by dividing then up into small particles. Bones con be soil, twigs chopped, rough cabbage stalks crushes and bruised, then pre-rotted before integrated with the soil, by mixing them with finer refuse, and permitting all to lie in a compost heap.
If outcomes are to be swift and gratifying organic matter shouldn’t be added to any dirt fresh. The initial stages of decomposition are basically fungal, and contribute to the creation of acids and carbonic acid in excess. This interferes with the manufacture of soluble plant foods from the soil, and limits the breathing of plant roots, and their expansion.
Organic material, well rotted, fits into the scheme of soil action perfectly, and introduces matter rich in partly formed Organic humus. If fresh or green manure of any type has to be added, it ought to be integrated with the soil once the ground is unoccupied by plants, and well ahead of sowing or planting period. This gives the essential time for the substance to be decomposed and take its place in supplementing the lively plant-sustaining functions of the soil.