Gardeners at McFarland Community Garden enjoy the benefits of Purple Cow Compost supplied for garden enrichment and fertility provided to all registered gardeners.
All types of soil benefits from amending the soil with organic matter, and compost is an excellent way to do that. Organic matter is key for soil productivity, it improves the soil texture, microorganism activity, and nutrient uptake. Even rich, good-quality loamy soil gets compacted over time and adding organic matter loosens up the soil. Sandy soil with its large soil particles does not hold water and nutrients very well and amending it with organic matter helps the soil retain moisture better so that it does not drain faster than the plants can absorb water and nutrients. Clay soil with is dense soil particles sticks together, which leads to poor drainage and insufficient oxygen. Adding organic matter to heavy clay soil loosens it up and improves aeration.
Adding organic matter in the form of compost to soil also improves the soil’s ability to hold key nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium. The acids in organic matter help plant roots with the uptake of water and nutrients and makes soil minerals available to plant roots by dissolving them. By adding compost to soil you furthermore keep the soil pH stable because a pH that is off kilter also affects the plants’ nutrient availability and uptake.
Only 3 to 6 percent of soil consists of organic matter so as important as compost is, it is used in moderate amounts but applied repeatedly over time, about once a year. Spread a layer 2 to 3 inches thick over the soil and incorporate it with a tiller, shovel, or a garden fork.