How to Compost Soil


Compost consists of decomposing organic material, and it is essential for keeping your soil fertile and ensuring that your garden produces the best blooms and most nutritious foods. As they grow, plants use up nutrients in the soil; composting helps to restore these nutrients. Composting is more than throwing yard waste into a pile: It takes time and effort to turn your compost into the highly coveted "black gold."

Calling All Composters

Step 1

Add organic material in layers, alternating between green and brown clippings. Green clippings consist of leaves or yard refuse that is still alive or green; brown clippings are dried leaves, branches or wood chips that are relatively dry. Soil can be added along with brown clippings.

Step 2

Keep the mixture damp. If your compost is in a pile and receives regular rain, frost or dew, it should be fine on its own. If you keep your compost in a container, water it regularly, especially during the dry season.

Step 3

Reintroduce oxygen into your compost pile regularly. Take a rake or pitch tool and stir or turn the mixture. If using a bin or a pile, fork the compost into an extra bin. If using a container, just rotate it.

Step 4

Diversify the contents of your pile. Add fruit and vegetable refuse as well as grass clippings and garden waste. If the pile does not begin to generate heat within 24 hours, add green materials to the brown to ensure proper decomposition.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not over-water the pile. Compost only needs to be damp to decompose.

Things You'll Need

  • Container (optional)
  • Rake or pitch tool


  • Plow & Hearth: How to Compost
Keywords: Composting for Beginners, Making Compost with Soil, Improving Soil

About this Author

Leah Deitz has been writing alternative health and environmental-related articles for five years. She began her writing career at a small newspaper covering city politics but turned to environmental concerns after beginning her freelance career. When she is not exploring the trails and outdoors of the East Coast, Deitz writes for a number of websites including, and Associated Content.