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Organic Soil vs Non-Organic Soil

Soil | April 4, 2019

Understanding the differences between organic soil and non-organic soil can help ensure that you select the right type of soil for your particular garden. The mulching experts from Just Mulch understand how important choosing the right soil for your garden truly is. That is why we carry a selection of mulch and soil products.

What is Organic Soil?

Organic soil is made up of organic matter—decaying plant material, microorganisms, and worms—which make it rich in a variety of different nutrients and minerals. Organic soil, also known as living soil, consists of plant and animal residues at all stages of decomposition, the cells and tissues of soil organisms, and substances that have been synthesized by soil organisms.

Types of Organic Soil Amendments

Some of the different types of soil amendments, which can be used to turn nutrient deficient soil into a rich organic soil, include:


Made from decaying bark, leaves, and wood chips, mulch plays an important part in retaining moisture and enriching soil. This type of organic soil amendment works by slowly releasing nutrients into the soil and by helping regulate moisture retention. Mulch can be applied on top of the soil in a garden, flowerbed, or around trees.


While compost is similar to mulch, it contains a greater range of decaying organic matter, such as vegetable food scraps, leaves, and other vegetative waste. This type of organic soil amendment can be mixed with soil to help increase nutrients and overall drainage. Since compost decays slowly, it releases a steady amount of nutrients over time.

What is Non-Organic Soil?

Non-organic soil contains no organic matter or nutrients but allows for a neutral pH balance, free of contaminants. While each type of non-organic soil has its own unique characteristics, they can be controlled better than soils containing organic material. This type of soil is most often used in hydroponics, as well as being added to soil amendments to help facilitate moisture and drainage.

Types of Non-Organic Soil

Some of the most common types of non-organic soil are:


Perlite is an inorganic mineral that is naturally formed by heated volcanic glass and then altered during manufacturing to increase its usefulness. Commonly used in horticulture, perlite has a very large surface area that provides nooks and crannies for retaining moisture. Perlite is non-toxic with a neutral pH, sterile, and contaminant free.

Expanded Clay Aggregate

Consisting of round clay pellets that have been baked and contain no nutrients, expanded clay aggregate is durable, reusable, and ecologically sound. This type of aggregate can absorb water and nutrient solutions, draining it fairly quickly into plants. The air pockets between the clay pebbles are perfect for roots to get enough oxygen while avoiding rot.

If you would like to learn more about the differences between organic soil and non-organic soil, or if you are interested in one of our mulch products, please contact Just Mulch at 236-98-MULCH or by filling out a contact form on our website.