As mentioned earlier the term Nursery Soil is used for soil that contains well composted organic parts and mineral parts in equal volume. Organic part refers to different parts of plants. Let us see how the different parts of plants fulfill the requirement of building up good soil.
Composition of different parts of plant.
Any newly growing part of plant will contain all micro-nutrients and phosphate contents in it because every new cell in the meristem needs all of these before it comes into existence. Thus all tender parts of plants are capable of providing these micronutrients to us to improve the necessary mineral contents of our soil.
When new growth begins to lose its tenderness and as leaves expand the mineral nutrients that are necessary for this growth are nitrogen, potash, magnesium, sulphur, iron manganese and copper. Since these are necessary for healthy leaves of the plants, on recycling these will yield minerals back to the soil.
As leaves mature with age, calcium is incorporated more and more in the cells. When these leaves age and die before falling from the plant 70% of the mobile contents of nutrients are carried back to the plant for further use or as a reserve for new growth. Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sulphur, zinc, copper are such elements. But 30% of the elements like iron, manganese, boron, calcium are not returned to the plant as these are immobilized in the system.
Therefore we can say that:
Tender leaves provide Zinc, Boron, Phosphate, Molybdenum
Dried leaves provide Calcium, Silica, Boron, Iron, Manganese
So one can now learn how on decomposition of dried tender leaves and matured leaves one can get all the minerals nutrients back for the soil. As plant grows the cellulose and hemi cellulose components of its body begin to accumulate. With further maturity the lignin component also accumulates. The cellulose (tender) and lignin (tough and fibrous) parts of plants on decomposition yield humus and lignoprotein respectively. But if we return dead fallen leaves of a plant to the soil only iron, manganese, boron and calcium will be returned to the soil after complete decomposition.
With proper insight in whole plant use technique we can establish the lost balance in the fertility and in the form and structure of the soil through plant parts available from the farm or from close vicinity of the farm.
Preparing compost soil heaps.
While preparing compost heaps we have to remember the definition of Nursery soil which says:
Good nursery soil= 50% organic part (parts of plants)+ 50% mineral part(topsoil) BY VOLUME. The two are combined in proper proportion by alternating layers of biomass and soil in form of heaps. This heap on its own will take a long time to decompose. So we introduce a catalyst called Amrut Jal to accelerate decomposition.