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What is humus rich soil and how do you make it?

No, we're not talking about everyone's favourite chickpea purée! Learn about humus rich soil and its benefits here.


a woman in colourful clothes repotting a flower in humus soil

Key Steps:

  • Dedicate a separate bin for your humus soil where you can collect food leftovers, grass clippings, and recyclable paper.

  • Mix and turn the pile regularly until the humus is dark brown and has a spongy consistency.

  • Spread your humus throughout your garden, mixing it with the existing soil around your plants. 

If you are a fan of gardening, you are probably aware of the importance of good soil for growing flowers and plants. Many people are familiar with compost but not everyone knows how crucial humus is for healthy soil. This article will talk about all things humus, why it is important and how to make it at home. 

Remember to keep all your food scraps, leftovers, and even old newspapers to reduce food waste and create your own humus rich soil at home.

So, what is humus?

The simplest humus definition is that it’s a natural compost. Humus is made when decomposing leaves, animal matter, and other natural substances breakdown to create a squishy dark brown substance that's full of nutrients. It can be mixed with soil to create humus soil: a healthier, richer base for your gardening. Whilst humus is naturally-occuring, it is also easy to make your own humus rich soil in the garden.

What is humus made out of?

Humus can be made out of any compostable or degradable materials. In nature, it tends to be made from decomposing leaves.

Making your own humus is a great way to combat food waste and transform your garden trimmings and these everyday foods and items can all be included in your humus:

  • Food leftovers: banana skins, vegetable peelings, eggshells and coffee grinds.

  • Grass clippings: any raked leaves, branch cuttings or mowed grass.

  • Recyclable paper including cardboard and old newspapers.

How to make humus soil and how to use it

Wondering how is humus made? Luckily, it’s a lot easier than it seems. Follow these steps:

  1. Find an area in your garden to store your humus.

  2. Add your food peelings and garden waste regularly.

  3. Mix and turn over the pile regularly.

  4. Wait until the humus is dark brown with a spongy consistency before using it on your plants. 

  5. Spread throughout the garden, mixing the humus with the soil in flower beds and around plants. 

  6. If you are planting something new, place the humus into the ground first.

What are the benefits of humus soil?

The advantages of soil containing plenty of humus include: 

  • Humus creates many important nutrients for soil health, including nitrogen, that help plants grow. 

  • Humus can hold on to large amounts of water and will soak up moisture in the soil, helping soil rehydrate when it hasn’t rained. 

  • Humus breaks up soil, trapping oxygen and helping roots grow.

  • Humus can increase organisms in soil, enriching the soil and helping plants feed off the nutrients they create.

Ultimately, a humus rich soil will greatly improve the health of your soil, helping you make the most of your gardening. 

Those are all our top tips on how to make humus and all you need to know about the advantages of soil containing plenty of humus. If you want to find out more about making compost for your garden, try our fantastic advice on how to make your own compost at home .

Originally published