How to Compost Organic Fertilizer


Humus, the end product of the composting process, is a type of organic fertilizer. But before it turns into rich, black, friable humus, a compost pile's contents are just a collection of discarded plant material. In order for a compost bin to effectively break down this material into fertilizer, the compost bin must first be populated with the microorganisms responsible for decomposition. These microorganisms feed on nitrogen, which is available in abundant amounts. By adding layers of organic fertilizer to your compost pile, you will keep these microorganisms energized and shorten the decomposition time of your compost material.

Step 1

Start your compost pile by layering the bottom with 6 to 8 inches of shredded or chopped (the smaller the pieces, the more quickly they compost) organic material like vegan food scraps, paper or garden waste.

Step 2

Use a hose to moisten (do not soak it) the first layer after it reaches the appropriate height.

Step 3

Add a layer of organic fertilizer. Spread 1 to 2 inches of organic fertilizer (4 inches if you are using grass clippings).

Step 4

Add a 1-inch layer of garden or potting soil.

Step 5

Mix the layers thoroughly with a shovel or a sturdy stick to evenly distribute the material.

Step 6

Continue to build layers of organic material followed by fertilizer and soil (mix the pile's contents after adding each soil layer) until the pile is 3 to 5 feet high. Then leave it to decompose on its own, turning it once each week or each two weeks.

Tips and Warnings

  • Even soil amended with composted fertilizer may need additional fertilization. A soil test is the best way to accurately predict the nutrient needs of your soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Organic matter
  • Soil
  • Organic fertilizer
  • Hose


  • University of Missouri: Making and Using Compost
  • Compost Council of Canada: At Home with Composting
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About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.