Clemson Extension: What’s the (organic) matter? | Clemson Extension | indexjournal.com – Index-Journal

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Clear skies. Low 38F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph..
Clear skies. Low 38F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.
Up to date: November 14, 2021 @ 10:46 pm
STEPHANIE TURNER

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STEPHANIE TURNER
You’ve most likely heard “depart the leaves” earlier than. Leaf litter is dwelling to numerous invertebrates, a lot of that are “good bugs.” These tiny animals overwinter within the cowl that leaves present. However even for those who aren’t taken with supporting the native insect inhabitants, you must take into account placing these piles of leaves to work. Leaves are a wonderful supply of natural matter, and natural matter is superb for our soils.
Natural matter is an integral part of wholesome soil. It helps to provide clay soils higher drainage and sandy soils higher moisture retention. Natural matter slowly releases vitamins into the soil. It supplies habitat throughout the soil for microorganisms, improves aeration in clay soils and helps make soil extra workable, or friable. Surprisingly, regardless of its significance, natural matter normally includes solely 2-8% of the soil by quantity. In the event you consider wealthy, fertile soil, that darkish shade you image comes from natural matter.
Within the soil, natural matter is just plant or animal tissue in varied levels of decay. Leaves, yard trimmings, grass clippings, produce scraps, manure, and so forth., are all sources. Paper, espresso grinds, sawdust and bark are all plant merchandise that may decompose and incorporate into the soil. These residues of residing organisms break down and enhance the soil. Nature is the unique recycle heart. Right here within the South, with our excessive temperatures, the method happens fairly rapidly, so there isn’t time for a lot natural matter to construct up in our soils.
The apply of composting can create a renewable supply of natural matter in your backyard. Composting is only a manner of consolidating and rushing up the pure decomposition of natural matter. Natural matter (akin to leaves) that people take into account waste can typically be composted and used as a soil modification. For example, the top product from composting simply leaves is known as leaf mould. Fall is a good time to start out a compost pile. The HGIC on-line factsheet 1600, Composting, is a radical primer on the method.
Composting doesn’t must be smelly or ugly. It’s also not a magic bullet for coping with weeds or plant illnesses, so it’s finest to get rid of these supplies elsewhere and never attempt to compost them. It’s necessary to keep away from composting grasses which have been sprayed with persistent herbicides akin to picloram, clopyralid and aminopyralid. Even manure from animals which have consumed these grasses could cause herbicide injury in your backyard. Chop or shred giant objects akin to limbs or fibrous tissues akin to cornstalks earlier than including them to the compost pile.
As soon as your compost is prepared, it will likely be finely textured, darkish in shade and have a stunning earthy scent. Incorporate 1-2 inches of compost to 6-8 inches of soil. Double-digging or tilling will work the whole lot collectively. Alternately, 2-3 inches of compost may be a wonderful mulch substitute. Restrict the quantity of compost utilized in a potting combine to not more than ¼ by quantity. Its moisture retaining properties can depart your containers too soggy. One factor is for certain: you will see you by no means have sufficient compost!
The 2022 Grasp Gardener Volunteer Coaching Class is now accepting candidates. Contact our workplace for particulars. A digital workshop on Mosquitoes and Wildlife Tracks and Scats shall be at midday Nov. 18. The associated fee is $10, and contributors will study concerning the biology and administration of mosquitoes and find out how to determine wildlife indicators in South Carolina. Go to the web calendar right here to register for extension occasions and courses: calendar.clemson.edu/.
Contact me at stepht@clemson.edu or 864-889-0541. The Greenwood County Extension workplace at 105 N. College St. is open 8:30 a.m. to five p.m. weekdays. Name the workplace at 864-223-3264 for help through cellphone. In your comfort, soil samples could also be left within the dropbox exterior of regular enterprise hours on the workplace entrance. Go to our Fb web page, fb.com/GreenwoodCoExtension, the place we’ll publish well timed data.
Stephanie Turner is the Greenwood County horticulture agent for Clemson Cooperative Extension.
STEPHANIE TURNER
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