When plants and animals die, bacteria and fungi and other critters move in and break down the dead material into simpler substances. The end product is a smorgasbord of nutrients for your plants.
Organic matter is any material that originates from a living (well, once-living) creature; you can dig this matter into your soil, and as the material decays, it improves the soil's condition. Examples of organic matter include compost, dehydrated manure (never fresh, which "burns" the plants), chopped-up fall leaves, peat moss (which is most effective if pre-dampened), ground-up bark, and so on. You may have some of this stuff on hand, or you can certainly buy it bagged. See Chapter 4 for more information.
Was this article helpful?