I’ve had a couple of piles of compost rotting over the last three or four years now and it was high time I did something to shift it.
It the was the material that was skimmed off the top of the plot originally so it’s full grass and of kinds of bits and bobs. It’s also a very dense and needs to be sifted.
Pros of sifting soil
- You filter out any rocks, plastics, broken glass or anything that shouldn’t be there. These contaminants will appear in your compost heap over time, unintentionally, so it’s best to get rid of them when you can.
- Seedlings will find it easier to germinate in sifted soil.
- If you have clay or sandy soil that doesn’t retain much water, a layer of top soil will improve the conditions of the ground.
- Certain root crops don’t form nice roots with chunks of solid stuff in the way.
- Adding fresh composted material will increase the nitrogen levels in the ground, which is a good, natural feed for plants. As you use the ground for planting, you’re taking nitrogen out of the ground. Adding sifted soil will put it back in.
- Aerated soil aids with the movement of water, meaning that roots can access water easier than usual, encouraging growth and a good yield.
- The amount of oxygen in the soil is increased and this is important for bacterial decomposition.
To me, sifting soil is a bitter sweet experience. You do get a really good workout, but it takes ages to do and you can end up feeling like you’ve done quite a lot, with very little to show for it. However, the pay off is the lovely, fluffy, soft compost at the end of the of the sifting session – In some respects, it’s like digging for gold, or drilling for oil, it’s a pain to get the gold or the oil, but in the end it’s gold and oil you’re trying to reach!