Photo: Compost your food scraps

(Credit: OrganicNation via Flickr.)

Garden health is built from the ground up. So start composting! It's cheap, easy and turns almost half your garbage into plant food.

Seven super reasons to start composting:

1. Your garbage is about 40 per cent organic waste — composting keeps all that garbage out of the landfill.

2. Organic wastes that end up in landfills decompose without oxygen and produce methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

3. Less waste in the garbage means fewer collection trucks on the road.

4. Plants love it — compost is a nutrient-rich fertilizer that helps soil retain moisture.

5. More compost use means less chemical fertilizers, which run off into the water table.

6. Composters are cheap. Many municipalities sell bins for a small fee. You can also buy them at hardware stores and plant nurseries. Or you can make your own.

7. It's easy! Once you know how, you'll wonder what took you so long.

Composting is a kind of colour coordination project. Start with a layer of carbon-rich browns (leaves, twigs, etc) to promote air circulation. Then alternate browns with nitrogen-rich greens (kitchen trimmings, etc). Stir the pile every couple of weeks with an aerator tool, or an old broom handle. Contents should be moist, but not dripping — like a wrung-out sponge.

Want details? Check out this list of Composting Do's and Don'ts.

You don't need a yard to compost — you can run a little soil operation in your apartment or condo, or on your balcony using worms or a garbage can or other container. Start a community compost at school, with your faith group, with other residents in your apartment or condo complex, or with your neighbours. There's a wealth of yard and kitchen 'waste' waiting to be turned into black gold!