Organic compost and nonorganic compost are two of the same material, but they each exhibit very different tendencies based upon their makeup – one is comprised of organic matter and one is not. With that being said, organic and nonorganic compost are both good for different occasions and environments – organic compost works well in environments that can support the requirements it poses, while nonorganic compost works well anywhere else. Organic compost contains carbon-based materials that are or were once living. Soil is a collection of different materials dissolved and mixed together into one – this is why organic materials are so valuable in soil. Mulch, compost, and manure transform nutrient-deficient soil into an organic environment rich in plant-available nutrients. Organic compost and soil also benefit the environment. Nonorganic soil or compost consists of materials that have been tested and certified as free of both contaminants and nutrients. Some of these materials include perlite, vermiculite, expanded clay aggregate, and rockwool. In addition to being used heavily in hydroponics and as soil amendments for potted plants, each non-organic material has benefits that aren’t exhibited in organic compost materials.
Organic soils and composts are rich in organic materials, matter, and nutrients. Because organic materials by definition must include some kind of material that is or was once living, organic soil consists of decaying plant material, worms, microorganisms, and other plant-based tissue materials. Soil is composed of three main particle types: sand, clay, and silt. Each of these is nonorganic, and in an ideal ratio, sand, clay, and silt combine to form the ideal soil – otherwise known as loam, it contains equal parts sand, clay, and silt. Loamy soil has the ability to retain moisture while allowing adequate water drainage. Because soils are highly influenced by climate, climates that do not offer ideal soil will need to be amended to create an organic soil rich in nutrients. Arid climates produce sandy soils and warm, rainy climates produce dense, acidic soils. Sandy soil can be amended and given nutrients through the use of mulch, compost, and manure. Organic materials facilitate drainage and retain moisture to give your soil the best quality it can have. Soil amendments are vital when preparing soil for planting. If soil is not amended often, it will most likely become void of nutrients and organic matter. This will make the soil unsuitable for planting, and amendments ensure that this will not happen.
What is mulch? Mulch is an organic material (compost) made from decaying bark, leaves, and/or wood chips. Mulch varies in color, texture, and smell, and it can even be made at home using the remnants of woody plants (like trees). It plays a very important role in enriching soil through retaining moisture, and it can be applied on top of the soil within a garden or flower bed. Mulch oftentimes varies in color, texture, and smell, so no two mulch types are really alike. With that being said, mulch can be used as a soil amendment to increase nutrients and drainage within soil. It works by slowly releasing nutrients into the soil as it decays, and it serves the function of keeping the soil around plant roots fairly cool. Soils comprising mostly of sand and clay-like materials benefit greatly from being mixed with mulch because this mixture is able to regulate moisture. Eventually, mulch decays completely and mixes with soil to create a very dark soil mixture heavy in nutrients.
Mulch is a kind of organic compost. Like other kinds of composts, it turns deficient soil into nutrient rich and plant-capable soils. Composts can be mixed into soils to increase water drainage and nutrient absorption. Because compost is usually acidic, it will often need to be “balanced” using powdered lime or other calcium-heavy, basic materials. Creating your own organic compost is fantastic for recycling and saving waste while also benefiting gardens and flower beds.
Nonorganic composts contain no organic matter or nutrients, meaning that they have a netural pH and are free from both contaminants and nutrients. Sterility is a key advantage nonorganic composting brings to the table, and can be easily achieved through using inorganic soil components. Some of these components include perlite, vermiculite, expanded clay aggregate, and rockwool. It is used in soil amendments to facilitate moisture retention while still allowing for adequate water drainage. Nonorganic compost materials have unique characteristics that can often be better controlled than those of their organic counterparts, and as a result they are heavily used in hydroponics. Nonorganic and organic compost materials each have their own real-world applications, advantages, and disadvantages.