Humus, what it is and how it is formed

Humus, what it is and how it is formed

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Humus, what it is and how it is formed. Benefits for the soil.

In the article "composting, how it works"I have already told you about the transformation of organic matter from waste (vegetable waste) to compost (fertile soil). The training ofhumusit is only the simplest example of how transformations of organic matter can occur.

With the'humusit starts from the leaves and plant residues naturally present in the soil and obtains a substance rich in nutrients absorbed by the soil and useful for plants.

Humus, how it is formed

The leaf, on the ground, enters a very complex food chain. Someoneeat the leaf (also earthworms) after which this "someone" becomes food for other organisms and so on until the transformation of the original matter (the leaf) into humus.

For simplicity, I spoke of "a leaf", in reality thehumusit is not given only by a leaf but by a set of organic matter such as twigs, herbs and other organic residues produced by vegetation.

Earthworm humus

L'earthworm humus it can be considered, by far, the best fertilizer available in the world. It is obtained thanks to earthworms which, left to grow freely in a soil, release the manure into the soil, feeding on leaves and other organic waste naturally present in the soil. By not using any chemical pesticides and by not treating the soil in any way, earthworms have a way to proliferate and increase the natural fertility of the soil.

Types of soil humus

On the basis of the organic residues present in the soil, different types ofhumus. In coniferous forests (evergreen as well as coniferous), for example, ahumuswith a relationshipCarbon Nitrogenvery high, while in deciduous forests (shrubs, herbaceous plants ... and angiosperms in general), thehumusobtained has an average ratio of carbon to nitrogen.

This clarification is necessary to understand that not all of thehumusis the same but, thehumusthat forms spontaneously in an environment is always suitable forto sustainthe growth of the plants present in that habitat, because it is from those same plants that it originates.

Humus, what it is and definition

To further clarify themeaning of humusI can describe it as:

asoil substancegiven by compoundshumic and non-humicderived from the biodegradation of organic matter naturally present in the soil.

If you are looking for onedefinitionmore immediate, I can tell you that:

L'humusit is an organic substance that forms in the soil when the matter of vegetable and animal nature undergoes a complete process of biodegradation.

L'humusis a concentrate of nutrients for plants, especially nitrogen-based compounds. When the humus is formed it integrates perfectly into the soil structure, therefore, thehumusit remains in the soil until it is integrated into the structure, contributing both to a qualitative improvement (in terms of nutrients provided for the plants) and from a structural point of view.

The completely transformed organic substance has a uniform dark color, an amorphous appearance and is well distinguished from vegetable or animal matter not yet "humified".

If you look at thehumus, you will be able to distinguish fragments of organic matter (not visible to the human eye) such as plant residues, remains of microorganisms or animals. This is organic matter that has been mechanically processed but not chemically degraded. This makes you understand that there is a very fine line betweenhumusand organic matter, just as is done by observing themature compostor fresh compost.

To better understand all the processes that see the transformation of organic waste into humus, I invite you to read the article again "composting, how it works”Where I describe those chemical processes that lead to the degradation of complex systems (organic matter) into simple molecules (sugars). This process is known as mineralization and it interfaces with what it is callednitrogen cycleand nutrient cycle.

Video: The Living Soil: How Unseen Microbes Affect the Food We Eat 360 Video (August 2022).