Composting and mulching to build healthy soils

Even lava flows with little true naturally occurring soil may be improved to create healthy landscapes with cinder and composted organic materials. Examples of this may be seen in North Kona and South Kohala resorts where barren lava has been transformed to create lush oases. (Voltaire Moise/Special to West Hawaii Today)

When weather conditions are dry, it is a good time to explore ways to conserve water. Organic material is essential to good soil. Well-decomposed organic matter helps increase water and nutrient holding capacity of the soil. Undecomposed material like leaves and clippings used as surface mulch can help conserve moisture and keep weeds under control. Nematodes, those little microscopic worms that feed on your roots, will do less damage in a high organic soil. Organic matter may also increase the minor element and microbiological activity of your soil.