Store-bought fertilizers will help your garden grow, but may also contain harmful chemicals that can contaminate local water supplies and pollute the air. To keep your garden green naturally, switch to composting. Compost is made from the remains of kitchen and yard waste, including coffee grounds, apple cores, vegetable peels and grass clippings. Virtually any type of organic material can be added to your compost and used as a free source of fertilizer to help nourish your plants [source: Greenpeace].
Ready to get started? You'll need a compost bin, which can be purchased from most home improvement stores. Look for a model with a tightly sealed lid to keep bugs and pests away. Toss in food scraps and other materials, and in about a month, you'll have a natural fertilizer that's completely free of chemicals.
If you need your fertilizer in a hurry, or you have plants that need some extra attention, consider vermicomposting. This super-compost strategy involves adding a supply of earthworms to your compost pile, which speeds up the composting process and creates extra nutrients for your garden.
Composting is a natural way to recycle yard and kitchen waste, and can reduce the amount of trash that ends up on your curb by up to 75 percent [source: Chua].This means less pollution from transporting this trash, and less land dedicated to landfills. Compost also offers a much wider array of nutrients than chemical fertilizers, and can absorb 10 to 1,000 times more water, which means healthier plants and less wasted water [source: US Department of Agriculture].