WON Landing Page OCT 2022

Step-By-Step Instructions to Create Your Own Compost Volunteer Garden

Every spring, while readying the gardens for planting, I find little plants growing in my compost pile. In the realm of botany, these plants are classified as “volunteers” as they grow on their own, rather than being planted. Normally these plants get turned under and chopped up while the compost soil is prepared. This year, however, I decided to create a garden strictly from these “volunteer” plants. I further challenged myself to complete this task using solely the items already in my potting shed. What unfolded was an enjoyable exercise of incorporating, and finally using, found items (such as seashells from many summers ago). I feel this creates an additional layer of “volunteer” to my garden. Follow along for my step-by-step compost volunteer garden instructions.

Compost Volunteer Garden Materials

Compost Volunteer Garden Materials List

You will need:

  • Volunteer plants from your compost pile
  • Pots
  • Trowel or shovel
  • Rocks (for base layer inside of pots)
  • Shells (optional)

Creating Your Compost Volunteer Garden

Scoop out any viable-looking volunteer plants in your compost pile. Place them in a bucket or wheelbarrow, with additional soil to help fill your pots. 

Compost in Bucket

Ours chickens appreciate any unfettered access to the rich compost soil. Read: worm jackpot!

Chickens in Compost

Next, ready your pots or small garden boxes. Place small rocks in a layer (about 1/3 the depth of the pot). This base helps hold water, while also keeping your plant’s roots out of any water. A bonus is the extra weight this creates in the pot, especially on a windy day!

Prepping the Pot

Separate and plant your “volunteers”  —  and try to guess what they are. I believe my compost plants are potatoes and squash. But, time will tell! 

Plants in Pot

Finishing the Volunteers

Decorate, if you please. I laid seashells in the tops of my pots, as well as an upcycled bottle cap flower (follow the step-by-step here). Last, water and wait to see if your plant predictions were correct!

Upcycled Bottle Cap Flowers Compost Garden

Keep Reading The WON

Need help starting your very own compost bin or pile? Click here.

No room for a compost pile? Check this guide for simple sprouting from scraps!

Have questions about that perfect DIY potting blend? Look no further.

  • About Jackie Richardson

    Jackie Baird Richardson is an interior designer, editor at The WON and avid junker. Watch for her design tips and occasional crafting ideas, bringing the outdoors indoors.