Jeffry Hill is an agricultural consultant who helps farmers get better crops and fertilize their soils properly.
A soil is a complicated ecosystem that needs food, water and other nutrients. There is one single solution that provides all of that. This solution is organic matter.
Organic matter is defined as anything alive or anything dead that was once alive. For example, a piece of paper is organic matter because it once was a tree. A dead insect is an organic matter, too.
Organic matter captures and preserves resources such as water and nutrients. It changes the structure of a soil. It provides nutrients to both plants and living soil organisms.
You can think of organic matter as food for the soil. It provides the raw substance that plants and organisms use to build their bodies and tissues.
Decomposition is the rotting process occurring in organic matter. It starts with microorganisms feeding on the existing organic matter and excreting a new form of it. This process creates valuable nutrients and releases energy necessary to fuel the life of the soil. Your plants require this nutrition. They can’t grow without it. This is why by adding organic matter to the soil you literally feed both the soil and the plants.
In addition to being a food source, organic matter also preserves soil water. It is similar to a sponge that has a lot of pores and a lot of space inside. This is why organic matter can absorb huge amounts of water and release it into the soil when the weather is dry.
This sponge-like effect means that even a small amount of organic matter in the soil can significantly enhance its ability to store water and deliver it to the living organisms, mentions Jeffry Hill.