Dirty Word of the Day
Compiled by Teresa Watkins
February 4, 2023
Humus, pronounced as if it has a y in its spelling, is nonliving, finely divided organic matter in soil, derived from microbial decomposition of plant and animal substances. Humus, which ranges in color from brown to black, consists of about 60 percent carbon, 6 percent nitrogen, and smaller amounts of phosphorus and sulfur. As humus decomposes, its components are changed into forms usable by plants. Once compost breaks down completely, it becomes humus. Humus provides four benefits to soil: Moisture retention, aeration, insulation from heat and cold, and nutritious soil fertility. Humus has a carbon to nitrogen ratio of 10:1.
Humus is valued by farmers and gardeners because it provides nutrients essential for plant growth, increases soil water absorption, and improves soil workability.
Credit: Encyclopedia Britannica
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