How to Compost With Humus

Overview

Once a compost bin has been filled with organic material, the microorganisms in the pile begin to break down the matter. The end product of that matter breakdown is humus--rich, dark brown crumbly soil. But humus does not just have to be the end product of composting. If you periodically add humus to a fresh pile, you re-introduce the microorganisms responsible for decomposition. This intermittent addition will keep your compost pile working quickly and effectively.

Step 1

Add carbon-rich or "brown" material (like dried leaves, newspaper or straw) and nitrogen-rich or "green" material (like grass clippings or fruit and vegetable peelings) to your pile in a 2-to-1 ration by volume. For instance, each time you collect a container full of vegan kitchen waste in your kitchen, dump it into the pile, followed by two containers full of dried leaves.

Step 2

Add a handful or two of humus to your compost pile after the first material deposit you make. After the initial addition, add a handful of humus once monthly to give your compost pile a boost of microorganisms.

Step 3

Turn the pile with a pitchfork or shovel to evenly mix its ingredients each time you make an addition to the pile. If you have not made any additions to the pile in one week, turn the pile anyway.

Step 4

Stop adding to your compost bin when it is full. Continue to turn it once weekly until its contents turn into rich brown humus.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not add any animal products (meat, bones, dairy, cooking fat) to your compost pile.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost bin
  • Brown material
  • Green material
  • Pitchfork
  • Shovel

References

  • Compost Council of Canada: At Home With Composting
  • City of Davis (California): Compost Troubleshooting
  • University of Kentucky: Home Composting

Who Can Help

  • Joy Blooms: Green and Brown Compost Material
Keywords: humus compost addition, composting with humus, humus compost bin

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.