Composting is a process of decomposition and there are two terms used when this topic is mentioned, organic material and matter. There is a difference and they both are used for different purposes.
Organic material is where it all begins, it is what you use when wanting to produce compost. It can be your organic household kitchen waste or yard and garden waste. In nature, organic material exists from things like, leaves, woody material, grass and animal remains.
Organic matter is the compost, or decomposed organic material. It is the source of carbon that is needed to keep the organisms thriving in the vast complex community of them that live in our soil naturally. In the forest it source is from organics like leaf litter, tree branches, woody material that falls to the forest floor, and animals remains. Once this material decomposes to a state that it is no longer recognizable it is organic matter, or humus. The stable organic matter is what gets analyzed in a soils test.
When it comes to improving the soil structure of your yard or gardens, there is no better way than amending your existing soil with organic matter. It is a source of nutrient supply, retains moisture, improves soil aggregation and even prevents erosion.
A storing-house or reservoir for nutrients is one of the benefits that organic matter will provide to your yard and organic gardens soil. These nutrients are stored and readily available for plant life when they need them, predominately released in the spring and summer months, these nutrients wont benefit winter crops as much.
Water retention is another key benefit that organic matter will provide. Acting like a sponge, it has the ability to retain moisture and release it to he plant life as they need it. Holding up to ninety percent of its weight makes it a beneficial source of water conservation.
Soil structure is greatly benefited with the used of organic matter as a soil amendment. It improves the permeability and the porosity of soil, allowing it to hold water, drain well and support plant life. Aggregation, when soil particles are clumped together and form aggregates. These soil are held together by moist clay, organic compounds, like bacteria and fungi, and fungal hyphae. These aggregates vary in size, some fitting tightly and others loosely causing spaces. These spaces, also know as pores, are essential for storing air, microbes, nutrients and water.
Erosion is greatly reduced with a soil that has a healthy organic structure due to the increased ability of water infiltration and stable soil aggregate formation caused by organic matter.