See all guides

Compost Heap

Make your own soil conditioner

Done in 2 hours
Skill level easy

Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed in a process called composting. This process recycles various organic materials otherwise regarded as waste products and produces a soil conditioner. Compost is rich in nutrients and decayed organic material that is used as a fertilizer for growing plants and improving the soil condition. With compost, your plants will grow much better!

Published under CC:BY-SA by

Abalimi Bezekhaya

The Advantages of Composting

  1. It feeds in the soil and plants with nutrients and minerals.
  2. It helps to aerate in the soil.
  3. If you have sandy soils it helps to hold water for longer (bond).
  4. If you have clay soil it improves the drainage (loosen & aggregate).
  5. Compost contains micro-organisms that fight against plant disease.
  6. It saves your money because it reduces the need to buy fertilizer.

A compost heap is the right thing for you if you have space and enough organic material to feed your heap. If you only have a very small space, use the Bokashi Method (link) to produce your own soil.

What you need

How to make it

Understand how the compost heap is structured

Find a sheltered place for your compost heap

e.g. next to a wall or fence and in the shade. Ideally you create a separate space with pallets. Should be a bit away of your home because of the smell.

Loosen the ground with a fork

Mark out the area for your compost heap with a spade

It has to be at least 1m wide and 1m long.

Lay down the first layer of rough material

Like branches, mielie stalks, cabbage stalks and hedge cuttings. The layer should be about 20 cm high.

Add a layer of brown material

Like dead leaves, dead plants and dry grass cuttings. This layer should be 15cm high.

Add a layer of green material

like grass cuttings, green leaves and kitchen waste. This layer should be 15 cm high.

Add a thin layer of manure

2-3 cm high

Add a layer of mature compost or healthy soil

5 -7cm

Optional: Add 2 cups of bone meal and handfuls of gypsum or wood ash

Water each layer well as you go

Keep on repeating these layers until the heap is 1 to 1,5m high.

After setting up the compost heap, water it regularly.

Turn the heap over with a fork every 2 to 4 weeks as this will speed up the process

After 6-12 weeks your compost it ready

The compost should be dark brown and crumbly.

Keep the heap covered with a breathable material

like shade cloth. In winter, cover with plastic to protect it from too much rain.

Use your compost for planting!

Share your feedback

More guides to try

What is dooiy?

Screenshot of dooiy web app on a mobile device

On dooiy you find fun and easy hacks that make life easier. Just follow our simple step-by-step guides and create something for your home or community with little materials and tools. Want to start a business? dooiy might be the perfect starting point for you.

Chris from dooiy

You don‘ t have to be an expert to start making with dooiy. Just choose an easy hack and get going. After you made a few, I am sure that you will come up with your own ideas.


Who we are

dooiy is being developed by Hack Your Shack, a young non-profit organisation from Germany with a passionate team in Berlin and South Africa.

To fulfil our vision, we are looking for partners, volunteers, donors and people who spread the word.

Learn moreand become a partner

  • The dooiy project is supported by
  • German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action
  • Impact Factory