Humus is generally defined as the entirety of the dead organic soil substance. The upper 10 to 30 cm of the soil contain a particularly large amount of humus.
Here we distinguish between nutritive humus and permanent humus. While the nutrient humus is quickly decomposed substances that serve as food for the organisms living in the soil and ensure better aeration of the soil, about 90% of the humus layer in the soil is the permanent humus. This is characterized by a very slow decomposition and contains the main mass of soil nitrogen. In order to maintain and build up permanent humus, it is important to constantly add organic matter to the soil, as this only develops in the final stage of composting and ensures that water and nutrients are kept in the soil.
The worldwide humus-depleting cultivation of the past decades has led to a massive decrease in the humus reserves of our soils. Intensive crop management has depleted the nutrients from the humus, converting the carbon sequestered in the soil into CO2 and releasing it into the atmosphere. Humus build-up and soil improvement is therefore active climate protection. Even the smallest garden can make a valuable contribution here.
But besides climate protection, humus is the key to soil fertility.
If you want to benefit from this, you should add as much plant material as possible - which is built up into humus by active soil life - to your cultivated area. The influx of organic matter must not stop, because without an influx of organic matter, humus buildup will not occur.
The goal is to create a balance between humification (creation of humus) and mineralization (release of nutrients). Because when these two processes are in balance, sufficient humus is created while releasing enough nutrients for my plants.
With good humus management, it is therefore possible to make an active contribution to climate protection and also provide good and healthy soil, which reduces drought stress symptoms, especially during the dry summer months.