Organic Soil Needs Explaining!

Don’t you love listening to the rain, it means green, nature and if you have organic soil, it means soon you will have the best nutrient rich plants and produce growing.

So, what does organic soil really mean?

And is it worth making sure that your soil is organic?

Some of the benefits of using organic soil is that good soil means good nutrients and that is clear –  the cleaner and more nutrient rich your soil, the better the growing conditions.

But what does it really mean when we hear the term “Certified Organic” and is it any different to your good old home grown organic soil cultivated from compost.

Since the move towards highly processed foods, the overuse of chemical pesticides and fertilisers and genetically modified seeds (GMO’s), and harmful ingredients and additives even in the packaging our food and drink has taken over the 21st Century, people are becoming more aware as to not only what they eat but also the benefits of keeping things, fresh, raw, natural, wholesome and organic wherever possible.

When growing fruit, veggies (and plants!), any grower knows it’s ideal to have ample natural nutrients and microorganisms in the soil to feed their healthy growth.

Depending on the context these terms can mean slightly different things.   Those looking for organic soil for their gardens or lawn may need to take a little care to find what they are looking for.

If you are operating a certified organic business as a grower, you’ll need to choose soils or mixes that are compliant with the applicable certification standards of your country, just like the cultural good organic soil and great cultures are grown where they live and by particular standards – same goes with certified organic practices.

Organic is essentially a substance of animal or vegetable origin. It pertains to living organisms and is characterised by the systematic arrangement of parts; meaning that organised, systematic elements fit together as a unified, organic whole and of course these combined structures eventually find their own balance!    A discovery that was reported in a study published in 2012 by University of New England biophysicists Professors Iain Young, John Crawford and others:

Bacteria and fungi take on a little feng shui and they can rearrange the soil particles… Fungi and other microbes can reorganise the structure of soil so it is able to absorb more water and carbon.”

Professor Young describes soil as “the most complex biomaterial on the planet. In a handful of fertile soil there are more individual organisms than the total number of human beings that have ever lived on the planet,” he says. “The life in soil defines the soil and its function and properties.”

What does “Certified Organic” mean?

It means that not only is the soil made with composted organic matter, it also complies with recommended procedures for all stages of organic and biodynamic products preparation.

The Australian Standard AS 6000-2009 (and similar standards in the U.S.) sets out minimum requirements for growers and manufacturers wanting to label their products ‘organic’ or ‘biodynamic’.

If you need to be sure your soil has complied with these standards, look for the ‘Certified Organic’ designation on products.   Choosing the right soil nutrient balance for the type of plants you are growing is important, as phosphorus and mineral levels, pH and other factors come into play.

Ask your local nursery supplier about what conditions specific plants may need to thrive.    Even organic soils often need more nutrients, like a vegetable soil mix, while others are already made from rich, fully organic, composted materials and mixed with composted green waste, cow manure, loam, sand or ash.

The bottom line is that your soil mix is the foundation of a successful garden – it literally lays the footing for the plants that grow from it.    Backyard growers who strive to keep their home-grown produce organically wholesome, the soil should have a healthy contribution of organic matter, especially in the top 200 to 400 mm.

Whether you go to the lengths of it being “Certified Organic” may depend on what standard you are looking to meet. But as a general rule natural, organic matter is a vital part of a healthy garden or lawn.