Conventional wisdom tells us that we don't appreciate what we don't pay for. But I don't buy it. When I was going through a particularly difficult stretch, my friend told me that I would find gifts under the waterfall. She was right. I'm still finding them.
I have a yard now, and one of the things I love about that is composting. It kills me to see cores and peels going into the landfill. This takes them out of the nutrient stream; we know that agribusiness doesn't put nutrients back into soil, but feeds plants with fertilizer salts only to make them grow. Our fruits and vegetables are much less nutritious than they should be. Additionally, as I learned from my brother, rotting vegetation in a landfill produces methane gas, which contributes to climate change.
I have two compost bins, and it takes about a year to fill one, and another year until the layers of kitchen and garden scraps are richly broken down and ready to go into the gardens. I grow only flowers, but my hope is that one day we'll all save up our coffee grounds and egg shells for the local organic farm or community garden.
This spring I filled a pot halfway with compost and topped it off with soil and peat moss. I planted the free flowers that came with some purchases at my favorite greenhouse. The flowers are lovely and vibrant. A few weeks later, one side of the pot popped with cucumber vines. They must be stowaways from the compost - that happens sometimes. But I think it's great. There are a dozen or so blossoms already. Fresh cucumbers will be a nice addition to my CSA shares.