One man's trash is another man's compost

Large composting operation

Take a look inside your trash can. Do you see any coffee grounds, vegetable peels or eggs shells? If so, pull those items out because that garbage is garden gold.

"If you really think about it, our land waste is basically filling up in our garbage dumpsites," Jessie Dryden said. "So it's a way to at least reduce your waste, and then it's also healthier for the environment and healthier for you because we're not using any chemicals."

Jessie Dryden is the garden director for the Hannibal Parks and Recreation's Common Ground Community Garden. She and her team of volunteers has turned this once industrial piece of land into a green space by using compost.

"It's free basically and then we can recycle all of the garden waste, too," she said. "It's taking natural materials you use to grow your own food and kind of continuing that cycle."

If you're going to tackle composting Dryden says to sort your trash first.

Have a bin for greens, browns and manure.

"Vegetable peels, coffee grounds anything that can naturally decompose," she said. "Then you have your brown matter like egg shells, you can save your leaves, mulch, tree branches anything like that."

Make sure to steer clear of meat, dairy products and pet feces. Once everything is sorted, layer the items like a lasagna; green waste, brown waste and the manure. (Click here to get more composting tips.)

"You want to make sure it stays a little bit wet and warm to touch," Dryden said.

Make sure to stir your compost occasionally. Be patient. Depending on the size of your compost, it can take months to break down. Most aren't ready for use until after at least six months.

If making your own compost for your garden is not for you for you, you can go to the store and buy some but you do run a few risks.

"You don't have control over what's put into it," Dryden said. "You quite frankly don't know. Some things that say they're organic are only 60 percent organic and that's just based on regulations and what people can get away with but when you compost your own you have total control over what you're putting into it."

Plus you're saving money. Depending on the size of you garden you can spend hundreds of dollars on store bought compost. Making it yourself keeps the green in your pocket and on land.

"It's all about sustainability," Dryden said. "Our roles as humans in this ecosystem is to kind of regulate that. It is the best method to go through and use organic matter as much as possible and to be that facilitator for nature to encourage that natural process.

The Common Ground Community Garden's is holding a composting workshop Saturday. Click here for more information.