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How to make humus soil

Read on to discover not only what humus soil is, but also how to make humus soil easily at home.


Lettuce being planted

Key steps 

  • Humus is a nutrient rich material great for adding to soil.
  • You create humus by creating a compost heap.
  • Add horse manure but no other animal faeces.
  • Turn it regularly.
  • Make sure it is damp, but not wet.
  • Humus is a dark, spongy, jelly-like material.

Nourishing humus soil is a key ingredient for a flourishing garden. But what is humus soil? It’s a dark black mature compost which is packed with nutrients and minerals to feed your plants. It's easy to make your own humus soil at home, using various types of organic matter, and it can do wonders for your garden. Here you can find a step-by-step method of how to make humus soil.

Although humus soil can aid healthy growth in your plants and vegetables, remember that it’s an additive and should be used in combination with good quality compost and soil.


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What is humus-rich soil?

There are two ways of getting hold of humus-rich soil for your garden:

  1. You can create it at home through a composting process using our step-by-step guide below.
  2. It can be found in the rich topsoil in some forest and woodland areas. 

Things you should know about humus:

  • Humus is also known as ‘finished compost’ which means that there is no longer any part of the soil which can be decomposed. 
  • It is high in nutrients. 
  • It can be used for both soil treatment as well as being ideal for growing vegetables and plants. Check out our guide for more tips on growing vegetables at home.
  • It can hold up to 90% of its own weight in moisture. This means that it can help your garden to withstand drought.

How to make humus soil: A step-by-step guide

Read below for our quick and simple step-by-step guide to making humus soil.

  1. Choose your spot. You need to have a decent amount of space in your garden to add your compostable materials; or alternatively, invest in a compost container or bin.
  2. What is humus made of? There are certain things that should (and should not!) be added to your humus compost heap.
    • Good for humus soil: Vegetables, leaves, fruit skins, grass clipping, old newspapers and egg shells (not whole eggs!)
    • Bad for humus soil: Metal, plastic, chemicals, animal food, meat, or garden clipping which were treated with pesticides.
  3. As a general rule, if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it in: it shouldn’t be fed to your plants either!
  4. Consider adding horse manure to your mix. No other animal (or human) faeces should be added.
  5. Turn your compost regularly. Preferably you should be turning your pile at least once per day to help the process happen quicker.
  6. Ensure that it neither becomes too wet or too dry; it should just be damp.
  7. Keep an eye on the way that the compost looks. In time it will become humus, which is a dark, spongy, jelly-like material.
  So now you know not only what humus is made of, but also how to make humus soil. For more general tips on homemade compost, visit our guide to making compost at home.

Originally published