ARTICLE - What is Organic Soil

Organic soil is gardening soil which contains only ingredients which have been certified as organic. There are a number of types of organic soil, including organic potting soil, organic soil for backfill, and organic soil specifically designed for vegetable or flower gardens. Many gardening stores carry organic soil in a variety of formats, along with other organic gardening accessories, like organic mulch.

While one might not necessarily think of soil as "inorganic" in the sense of "unnatural," many commercial soils include high levels of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides. Soil is usually designed to encourage rapid, healthy plant growth while discouraging insects, fungi, and weeds, and commercial soil accomplishes this at any cost. Organic soil, by contrast, does not contain chemical ingredients, providing a rich substrate for plants to grow and using natural means in an attempt to control pests.

Instead of using chemical fertilizers, organic soil is amended with compost from organic sources, and manure from organically-fed animals. It may also be amended with things like mycelium, which helps the soil retain water and nutrients, along with organic mulch to aerate the soil and make it looser. Just like standard commercial soil, organic soil can be formulated for specific environments and uses, with varying pH balances and levels of nutrients. Good organic soil is extremely dark, moist, and fragrant.

For gardeners, there are several advantages to organic soil. Some gardeners prefer to grow organic, in which case organic soil is their only option. Organic soil is also less likely to produce harmful runoff which could cause problems in local waterways, making it a more environmentally-sound choice than commercial soil. Some people also think that organic soil is better for the Earth and the garden, since it promotes slow, healthy plant growth, rather than rapid growth, which may strip the soil of nutrients.

Bags of organic soil can be purchased for various gardening applications, and it can also be delivered by the truckload. Some people use organic soil for backfill, digging out and removing exhausted, rocky, or contaminated soil and replacing it with new organic soil. Organic soil can also be spread on top of existing soil, adding a layer to the garden, which can be useful when people want to raise the height of their yards or flowerbeds.

Organic soil tends to be more expensive than conventional soil, and some gardeners prefer to build their own, working with organic compost, manure, and other ingredients to slowly build up the soil in their gardens. Ultimately, the choice between organic and conventional soil lies in the hands of the gardener. Gardeners who are worried about cost might want to look into sales at regional garden suppliers or government programs which help gardeners buy clean soil after contamination, plant disease, flooding, and similar incidents.