Organic Matter: What Does it Do for My Soil?

If you own a home, there's a good chance you've gotten into gardening. Out of the almost 165 million homeowners in the US, almost half of them got down and dirty in their backyard.

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Whether you’re just starting out or have a great green thumb, there’s always something new to learn about growing your own plants and vegetables. One thing you should know about? Organic matter.

There are many benefits to using it in your garden. We’re going to talk about what it is and why is organic matter important in soil — follow along!

What Is Organic Matter?

When it comes to growing plants, the organic soil definition is a matter that comes from living things.

Examples of organic soil improvers are fertilizers, manure, and compost. Using these, your garden will grow without the aid of chemicals or harsh additives.

Ultimately, you’ll grow better, more nutritious fruits and veggies. Let’s find out what it does to your garden and how you can use this technique!

Soil Structure

Organic material improves the structure and texture of garden soil. It’s especially useful if you live somewhere with sand or heavy clay.

There are two issues with the worst type of soil: too little water retention and no drainage. Adding organic material to your garden helps break up heavy clay to allow drainage and improves sandy soil’s ability to keep water where your plants need it, at the roots.


By adding organic matter to the soil, you’re improving your garden’s natural ecosystem. Both microorganisms and insects thrive when your garden has added organic material.

Insects are often considered detrimental to plant health. Attracting the right ones by having a healthy, organic garden is actually beneficial.

Beneficial microorganisms are another key to a green garden. They help keep harmful soil-borne diseases and things like nematodes at bay.

What to Use for Organic Soil

You’ve got a few options when it comes to choosing organic material in the soil. Here are a few to consider:

  • Animal Manure: Using manure improves your soil’s nitrogen level although there might be hayseeds or bedding hay that might decrease its efficiency.
  • Sawdust: Sawdust aerates your soil and eventually breaks down into nutrient-rich humus, but you’ll have to add in nitrogen.
  • Compost: This is probably your best bet for organic matter for your soil. You can even make it yourself — over two million tons of it are made each year by homeowners just like you!

Now that you know what to use, let’s learn how to use it.

Adding Organic Matter to Soil

If it’s your first time adding organic matter to soil or your ground is full of sand or clay, you’ll have to add more than usual. You’ll want to add about two inches in this case.

Have fertile soil? A one-inch deep covering will do.

Once you’ve got your covering laid down, you’ll need to work it into the ground. Use a shovel, rototiller, or iron fork to get it at least six inches down.

More Gardening Tips

We want you to have a green and healthy garden. That’s why we provide you with tons of gardening tips and tricks so you grow the best fruits, veggies, and flowers.

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