What are humic minerals

How to increase the humus content of your garden soil

The humus content of the garden soil has a very large influence on its fertility. In contrast to the mineral content, which can only be changed with a complex soil replacement, it is very easy to increase the humus content of your garden soil. You only have to do what also happens in the wild in the forest and on the meadows: There all organic waste - whether autumn leaves, dead plant remains or animal excrement - will eventually fall to the ground, is broken down by various organisms into humus and then into the upper part Incorporated soil layer.

Humus has various beneficial effects on the soil: It improves the air balance, because it increases the proportion of coarse pores in the earth, and optimizes the water storage capacity with additional fine pores. Various nutrients are bound in the humus itself. They are released by the slow and continuous mineralization and taken up again by the plant roots. A humus-rich soil also has a favorable growth climate for the plants: Due to its dark color, the sun warms it up very quickly. The high activity of the soil organisms also continuously releases thermal energy.

In brief: Increase the humus content of the garden soil

Regular mulching, for example with autumn leaves or bark mulch, ensures a humus-rich soil in the ornamental garden. Likewise, the spreading of garden compost in the spring, which additionally supplies the soil with important nutrients - also in the vegetable garden. The humus content in the garden soil can also be increased with organic fertilizers. But be careful: not all plants like it humus or tolerate compost!

Mulch garden soil regularly

Regular mulching is one of the most important measures for building humus in the garden. Basically all organic materials and garden waste are suitable as mulch - from autumn leaves to dried-up lawn clippings and chopped shrubs to classic bark mulch. With very low-nitrogen materials such as bark mulch and chopped wood, you should work around 100 grams of horn shavings per square meter flat into the ground before mulching. This prevents the microorganisms from extracting too much nitrogen from the soil when the mulch decomposes, which the plants then lack to grow. The specialist also calls this phenomenon nitrogen-fixing - often recognizable by the fact that the plants suddenly worry and show typical symptoms of nitrogen deficiency such as yellow leaves.

Mulching the ornamental garden with organic material is basically the same as composting the surface in the vegetable garden, in which the beds are completely covered with vegetable waste. In addition to increasing the humus content, the mulch layer also has other beneficial effects: It prevents weed growth, protects the soil from drying out and from strong temperature fluctuations.

Higher humus content through garden compost

Garden compost is a particularly rich humus. It not only enriches the soil with organic substances, but also provides all the important nutrients. You can apply compost every spring as basic fertilization in the ornamental and vegetable garden - between one and three liters per square meter, depending on the nutrient requirements of the respective plant species. However, be careful with strawberries and heather plants such as rhododendrons: garden compost usually has a relatively high lime and salt content and is therefore not suitable for these plants.

If you want to enrich the soil in the rhododendron bed with humus, it is best to use composted autumn leaves that have not been treated with a compost accelerator. It forms a particularly coarsely structured, permanent humus, which ensures a loose soil. The autumn leaves should be collected in special wire baskets in autumn and allowed to rot for a year before using them as humus. The repositioning after six months promotes the rotting, but is not absolutely necessary. Half-decomposed leaves can also be used as raw humus for mulching or for soil improvement.

Organically fertilize plants for humus soil

Organic fertilizers such as horn shavings not only provide nutrients, but also humus. However, due to the small quantities required for fertilization, they do not lead to a noticeable increase in the humus content in the soil. Quite different with manure: Cow manure in particular is an excellent supplier of nutrients and humus, which can also be used in the rhododendron bed without any problems - especially for soil preparation when new plants are planted.

Important for all types of manure: let the manure rot well before spreading it on the ground - fresh manure is too hot and especially harmful to young plants. To prepare the vegetable beds in spring or new beds in the ornamental garden, you can work the rotting manure flat into the ground. In perennial crops, the manure is simply scattered thinly on the ground and possibly covered with leaves or bark mulch. You should not work it in so as not to damage the roots of the plants.

Which plants don't like humus?

A soil rich in humus (the expert says: "humus") is not welcome for all garden plants. Some Mediterranean herbs and ornamental plants such as rosemary, rockrose, gaura, sage or lavender prefer low-humus, mineral soils. Observations show time and again that these species are even more resistant to frost damage in permeable, winter-dry locations. The water-storing humus in the soil is doing them a disservice here.