Humus vs compost are both believed to be used interchangeably by farmers, but both have different meanings and uses. Compost comprises the actively decomposing waste materials, while humus is the completely decomposed organic matter.
Both contribute valuable properties to the soil and have different applications. Read on to learn their differences.
|Color||Dark, almost black color||Black-gold in color|
|Texture||It is completely broken down into tiny particles hence the fine texture||It is in the process of decomposition, so it has a coarse texture|
|Smell||Doesn’t smell||It has an unlikable odor due to the decomposing materials|
|Components||Carbon, nitrogen, small amounts of sulfur and phosphorus||Organic materials like vegetables, weeds, coffee grounds, meat, and grass clippings|
What Are the Differences Between Humus and Compost?
The main difference between humus and compost is that compost is a coarse structure consisting of organic materials undergoing decomposition. In contrast, humus is made of different elements like carbon and nitrogen. Humus doesn’t have any smell, but compost does due to the microorganisms that feed on it.
Microorganisms feed on organic substances in the presence of oxygen to break them down completely. The final decomposed product of compost is humus, and it is primarily spongy and can no longer be broken down. You can also tell the difference between humus and compost by comparing their texture. Compost is a substance undergoing decomposition, meaning not much has been broken down, so in short, it has a coarse structure.
On the contrary, humus is compost that has undergone all the decomposition. The organic matter decomposes into a soft, spongy substance with fine particles you can hardly feel between your fingers. Whether you are a beginner farmer or a pro, you must also know how to use the two substances best, but notice that compost has a coarse texture, farmers use it to improve the soil’s water retention and drainage. This is perfect for plants that require little moisture to thrive.
Humus has a spongy texture, meaning it holds a lot of water, and this is why you can therefore use it for crops growing on sandy soil that require more water retention. However, too much of it will hold larger amounts of water, leading to suffocation of plants.
Exploring the Features, Characteristics, and Benefits of Humus
Humus is the rotten and decomposed organic materials and animals. When living organisms die, insects, bacteria, and other soil microbes attack and break them down to release waste into the soil. During decomposition, the organisms release waste that other organisms use as their food.
You may also wonder, what is humus? That is why you should know that organic substances’ decaying and breaking down involve chemical elements and heat production. Animals like earthworms help to turn and mix the materials with minerals in the soil for fast decomposition.
There is also a clear distinction between humus vs manure. Humus is fully decomposed animal and plant materials. On the other hand, manure is animal waste, remains, and other organic matter in the stage of decomposition.
Although humus is naturally made by decomposing leaves, twigs, and animal remains, it can also be made on farms. When making humus, gardeners add manure from cows, goats, and horses to the soil. You can also add humus by creating a compost bin to collect garden and kitchen waste. Add leaves, vegetables, plant clippings, and fruit waste into the outdoor container.
Humus is a naturally occurring soil amendment easily found in wooded areas that have not been disturbed for years. This is because the process of decomposition takes decades to complete. However, you can also make this product at home by adding organic substances like leaf litter, wood mulch, and vegetable remains.
You should sprinkle water in a heap to keep it wet, even in dry seasons, and it would be kept moist. This ensures the continuous breakdown of the organic matter. Ensure you turn the pile to fasten the decaying process so that you can add humus soil to your plants by tilling the land or mixing it with nitrogen fertilizers.
Humus is an entirely broken-down and decomposed organic matter. The decomposition leaves behind a dark, almost black, finely textured, or spongy substance. The porous substance is carbon-based primarily because it takes a long time to be ready.
Due to the fine texture and spongy feel, humus has a high water-holding capacity. It seals the moisture in the soil, reducing the watering frequencies for crops that require high amounts of water. The fine texture also holds the soil together and prevents erosion.
Erosion leads to the washing away of nutrients, leaving the soil unsuitable for crop growth. In addition to this, if you want to feed your crops with nutrients without weird odors, increase humus. Since the substance is fully decomposed, it doesn’t produce any smell, making it ideal for gardens in the backyard or near the house.
Gardeners prefer humus to other soil amendments because of its benefits. You must know that, you can use this wholly decomposed compost to fix water retention. If your crops grow on soil that loses water fast, like sand soil, adding compost will help with water retention. It also holds enough water to prevent puddling.
Since humus is made of decayed material, it increases fertility in the soil by introducing nutrients. The nutrients are also easy to incorporate into the roots, meaning you will see the impact a few days after application. You can also use humus with mineral fertilizers because it helps with their assimilation.
Besides helping with water retention and adding nutrients to the soil, humus also improves soil texture. It makes soil looser and easy to crumble. This helps with the penetration and spreading of plant roots, and this way, you would see that the spreading benefits plants because they can access water and oxygen more easily.
Roots growing in humus-rich soil can easily absorb nutrients like magnesium, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. This is because humus has a negative charge, meaning that once it gets into contact with the roots, it can attract the minerals and benefit from them.
Now that you have the benefits of humus at your fingertips, you could be wondering; where can I buy humus rich soil, or how can you get the best humus rich compost? You can search ‘humus compost for sale’ or ‘humus compost near me’, and this is the way that you can have it because you must find it from the right location.
While humus has many benefits, too much can harm plants. The spongy substance is applied to the soil to improve water retention. Therefore, high amounts of humus will retain more water, making the soil extra moist. This affects plants that prefer moist-to-dry soils and can cause root rot.
Exploring the Characteristics, Benefits, and Downsides of Compost
Compost is a mixture of decomposing organic ingredients to provide soil nutrients for plant growth. Compost soil is prepared from plant and food remains and dead animals. The process takes place in nature but can be sped up by creating an ideal environment for decomposition.
During compost preparation, the farmer adds greens and carbon to organic material. They also ensure proper air circulation and sprinkle water to keep the hip moist and ensure the process continues.
Each batch of compost has various characteristics determined by the level of decomposition. Some batches have enough organic substances, water, and air supply and undergo decay smoothly, leading to high-quality compost.
Compost is an organic material that is still in the process of decay. Since the decomposition is incomplete, compost has a coarse texture. It can add coarseness to fine-textured soil, increasing water retention power and improving drainage.
Using compost for plants near the home is inadvisable because it produces an odor and this is because it is filled with organic material, and it is due to the decomposition still taking place. During the process, bacteria and other organisms produce waste, and the materials also rot, leaving a bad smell.
Another characteristic of compost is that it contains living organisms. Looking closely, you will notice worms and other invertebrates that help with the decomposition. These create openings in the soil for air circulation and leave nutrient-rich castings.
Compost is a good soil addition because it promotes healthy plant growth. It has dead and decaying matter that introduces nutrients to the soil and plants, enabling their growth. The substance also retains nutrients in the ground, reducing the need to fertilize plants using factory-made fertilizers.
Compost can be used to balance the soil’s pH. Most compost has a pH between 6 and 8, making them suitable for plants growing in strongly acidic soils. However, you must know the soil’s acidity level and the compost before application so that it wouldn’t be subjected to any issues.
Another benefit of using compost is that it discourages the growth of weeds. The substance produces high temperatures preventing the growth of weed seeds and killing other unwanted plants. When weeds don’t grow, crops have all the nutrients and moisture to themselves, promoting healthy growth.
Lastly, compost discourages pests and diseases, and this is why most problems and diseases attack plants because of nutrient imbalances. Applying compost balances these nutrients, making the plants resistant to diseases.
While composting has many advantages, it has its downsides. First, you cannot use it on plants near the home because of the unpleasant smell. Compost is organic food, plant, and animal waste undergoing rotting and decomposition, producing odor during the preparation process and when applied to plants.
Compost is also attractive to unpleasant animals like rats, snakes, and other insects because they would be in search of food, and this is the right pile for them. These harm human health, and others, like snakes, can lead to death. Besides, it also requires a lot of time, work, and equipment. You will need composting bins, and you must check the process often to ensure it is wet enough and receives enough air.
While most farmers don’t see the difference between humus and compost, these soil amendments differ. Humus is the fully decomposed final product of compost, while compost is the mixture of organic substances undergoing decomposition. The two also have different textures, colors and uses.
Choosing between compost and humus can be challenging, which is why you can buy humus to add nutrients to crops near the home because it doesn’t have an odor. Humus is also an excellent choice to improve your soil’s water retention power because it is spongy, and compost would be ideal for growing plants farther from the backyard because of its unpleasant smell.
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