CompostSoil Rehabilitation

Using Gutter Waste as Compost for Your Garden

One chore that must be done a few times a year is cleaning out the gutters of our homes. Many of us dread this chore and might hire someone to clean the gutters and get rid of the waste without a second-thought; however, the accumulation of leaves and other organic material in gutters can actually be a rich source of nutrients for your plants. Decomposing organic material in your gutters can be a free and effortless way to start a compost pile.

Since a successful compost pile needs heat, moisture, and aeration, a gutter provides ideal conditions for decomposition of leaves, branches, and other organic materials that are swept into it all year long. The resulting compost will be full of nitrogen and carbon, which serves as a conditioner and natural fertilizer for your soil. In addition, by constructively using your gutter waste to enrich your soil, you will also be reducing the amount of waste sent to your local landfill.

We not only used the gutter waste for our soil, but also gave our chickens quite a delicious feast of worms to enjoy. So next time you begin the chore of cleaning the gutters, make sure to collect and use the waste to enrich your soil with ready-made compost!


  1. What you say about catching the flows from the gutters is true and useful. I have often had the fun task of cleaning gutters (including getting an interesting view from this high vantage point) and not sending the harvested organics to the landfill and instead using it as the valuable mulch and/or fertilizer it is. Seeing the small bits of deteriorated petroleum-based shingles mixed in with the gutter ecojewels (leaking benzene amoung other pollutants) though, reminded me of the toxicity we are all ‘swimming’ in.

  2. I haven’t cleaned my gutters in 10 years oh the shame! But I started today and the gutter waste resembles pure dirt, with added bits of moss growing on top. Is this spongy, soily dirt high in nutrients? Can I use it to grow potted vegetables? It looks really nice, doesn’t have any smell to speak of, and I don’t want to throw it away if I can use it somewhere in the garden…

  3. If there is no smell , particles are very fine and the color is dark brownish to black you can use as nutrient media and improve the physical properties of soil

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