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Organic Gardening Term of the Week: Humus

By May 5, 2008

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It's what every gardener wishes for: rich, dark, crumbly humus to plant in. Humus occurs naturally, of course. Picture the forest floor; a layer of fallen leaves covers rich dark soil. This soil is the result of year after year of plant and animal debris falling, decaying, and enriching the native soil beneath.

Few gardeners are blessed with perfect humus in their garden. We have to put effort into it, composting, building lasagna gardens, and mulching. But the benefits are worth it: strong root and foliar growth, few nutrient deficiencies, and great water retention are all side effects of planting an annual, perennial, tree, shrub, or vegetable in humus.


September 2, 2009 at 12:06 pm
(1) Jen says:

A great way to get humus, or a similar version called worm castings, is to compost with worms. You can do this both inside your house or in trenches right in your garden (the lasagna method mentioned) where the plants can access the compost directly. Worms eat the microbes that are eating the composting materials, and what they leave behind is a powerful organic fertilizer.

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