Homemade Organic Soil


The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service says that "successful gardening depends on good soil" and one of the "best ways to improve soil fertility is to add organic matter." Homemade compost is organic soil. Compost is the natural process of decay of waste materials, and it can be done easily at home.Composting kitchen and yard waste helps reduce the problem of overused landfills. Many cities have educational programs about home composting. Homemade organic soil can be created from a simple pile in the back corner of the garden or in a commercial compost bin. There are many styles available by mail order or from your local garden center.

Step 1

Place a six- to eight-inch layer of green materials (food, yard clippings, coffee grounds) on the ground or the bottom of the compost bin. Layering helps create the correct nitrogen balance.

Step 2

Add a layer of brown material. Brown material adds the carbon that will help decompose the materials. Newspapers, leaves and straw are carbon-rich brown materials.

Step 3

Water the pile to the saturation level of a moist sponge. Too much water forces out the oxygen supply for the microorganisms that are working to decay the pile. Too little water creates a dry environment that doesn't decay.

Step 4

Continue creating layers of brown and green materials as they are ready, sprinkling with water after each addition. Do not let grass clippings act as a mat that prevents water from getting to the layer below it.

Step 5

Wait for one to six months, checking the pile regularly. When the decomposed material is a brown or black crumbly soil, it is ready to be used in the garden. Many commercial compost bins have sliding doors at the bottom for removal of completed compost soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • An active, healthy compost pile has worms, bugs and other harmless, beneficial insects that help the decomposition process. If there are no worms and bugs, the compost pile may not have enough moisture. All commercial compost bins have holes on the sides to let in air.

Things You'll Need

  • Kitchen scraps, including coffee grounds
  • Yard clippings
  • Compost bin or plastic trash can with holes in it or designated spot for a compost pile
  • Shovel or pitchfork


  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service: Organic Matter in Soil
  • Ohio State University Extension Factsheet: Composting at Home

Who Can Help

  • Colorado State University Extension: Composting Yard Waste
Keywords: homemade organic soil, compost, compost soil

About this Author

Joan Norton, M.A., is a licensed psychotherapist and professional writer in the field of women's spirituality. She blogs and has two published books on the subject of Mary Magdalene; "14 Steps To Awaken The Sacred Feminine:Women in the Circle of Mary Magdalene," and "The Mary Magdalene Within."