I grew up in post-World War II West Germany when resources were still scarce. Every family I knew had a garden and we were no exception. Our huge garden provided us not only with fruits and vegetables, but we also composted our kitchen scraps – at least the scraps that our chickens didn’t eat. Vegetable peels and other kitchen waste landed on our compost heap and was used as fertilizer. We were really self-sufficient. Back then, you had to be because there were no supermarkets like nowadays and you could not buy fresh fruit during winter and early spring.
Like most kids I was not very interested in gardening, partly because I have a bad back. Little did I know that I would one day become a gardener myself, at least on a limited scale. Over the past few years my husband and I have decreased our scruffy looking lawn and replaced it with native plants and a tiny vegetable garden. And yes, we have a compost bin in which we dump our kitchen scraps, cut grass, shredded leaves and twigs, and algae from our pond. It gives us great satisfaction to leave that much waste out of the landfills and, most importantly, we know where our compost comes from.
You can take the German out of Germany, but recycling must be in our genes!