|K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Newsletter
Did you know that increasing your soil's organic matter by 1% has the potential to increase your crop yield by 12%? "Building Better Soil for Better Crops" states that even a small increase in organic matter can have a large positive impact on your crops. How can you increase organic matter? Cover crops, manures, and composts are 3 ways to increase organic matter in your garden. Although these are good strategies, it is important to remember that there can be challenges, so you may need to do some further research. For example, using cover crops requires knowledge, planning, and possibly equipment. Using animal manures is another way to increase organic matter and nutrients for your plants, but there are important things to know before you start. For example, uncomposted manures can harbor human pathogens such as E. coli. Yikes! So manure takes special considerations. The Kansas Garden Guide provides information in the Soil Improvement chapter (https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/s51.pdf). The book "Building Better Soils for Better Crops" has an entire chapter about using manures and if this is something you might be interested in, follow this link, https://bit.ly/2N5Rz35 , to the chapter called "Animal Manures for Increasing Organic Matter and Supplying Nutrients". It has a lot of detail and is geared more for commercial farmers, but some gardeners may be interested in those details. Composting is becoming more and more popular with home gardeners, and starting next week we'll include more details about this practice. For more information about organic matter follow this link, https://bit.ly/2Jbxq9s , to the "Amount of Organic Matter in Soils". (Chandler Day)
Ward Upham runs the Horticulture Response Center in the Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources at Kansas State University. Other contributors include K-State Extension Specialists.