In Zastrowstrasse, on the corner of Harmsstrasse, someone spreads out bee feed: last summer, there were sunflowers, cornflowers, marigolds and a few other colorful summer flowers growing right next to the wooden bollards, where
insects could enjoy the blooms. A picture that brings a smile to many people‘s faces.
What looks like coincidence here is a worldwide trend: urban gardening. A term that makes many people think of allotments. However, urban gardening means much more than that.
From rebellious small protest flower pots on lampposts, or herbal pots on balconies or windowsills over the cultivated
green areas between the street, or the community-managed permaculture project at the “alte Mu”; Urban Gardening is
everywhere and always possible! The only thing Kiel hasn’t got to oﬀer is completely green exterior facades…at least not yet.
The trend has its origin in the not quite so legal guerrilla gardening movement, which used the cultivation of fallow green spaces as a political protest. But urban gardening has long outgrown the illegal border area. So now there are numerous
private individuals, projects, and also public institutions, who find the urban gray too dull and are practicing gardening in
the city themselves or supporting those who do.
The typical gardener‘s advantages, such as movement in the fresh air, the experience of nature and the cropping of healthy fruits from their own cultivation are sound arguments for partaking in urban gardening. However, in addition, urban
gardeners also have many other benefits: On the ecological side, the air quality is improved, insects are given back their
habitat and food and in social terms, too, the trend has great potential.
For example, during the past three years one could „ZusammenWachsen“ (consolidate) in the “Interkultureller Garten
Kiel” (intercultural garden). Committed and culturally interested inhabitants of Kiel, together with refugees, have created and farmed a garden there. All participants were able to learn so much from each other that they even made a common intercultural cookbook.
In the Szenegarten (scene garden) “Grünes Eck” („green corner“) low-income, socially disadvantaged people are oﬀered
the opportunity to earn a small allowance while they strengthen their social skills and experience that they can certainly
grow something and bring it to life.
Also, in the “Garten für Generationen” („Garden for Generations“), a colorful place has been created out of 3500 square
meters of fallow land and now oﬀers a diverse array of things for both young and old. On another site our four-legged companion was also considered and they created a dog runway with agility elements. Urban gardening can bring people
together who would otherwise have nothing in common.
Similar to sports or music, in urban gardening diﬀerences in finances, cultures, or many other things are no longer
important because of the passion for gardening in the city. The appreciation of one‘s own ability, knowledge and work is
But there are also urban gardeners without pedagogical ulterior motives. For example, there is the “Schützenparkgärtner” where residents create and nurture small flowerbeds in the Schützenpark. The initiative “Rundbeet Kiel” goes even a little further: between Holtenauer Strasse and Gerhardstrasse, it grows food as a joint project.
The project „Grünkultur“ (“Green Culture”) at the Alte Mu wants to use permaculture to connect people “for the purpose of exchanging resources, knowledge and labor“. It is also about the connections between rural and urban life. „In
traditional agriculture, soils are leached out in the long term, and fertilizer and nutrients get lost. You can see this here in
Schleswig-Holstein; because of the erosion damage there has had to be a lot of re-fertilization and thus the soil is broken
and the drinking water is polluted.”
„The idea of permaculture therefore goes a step further and wants to regenerate the leached soils with the goal to restore natural cycles”, as Mathias Semling of “Grünkultur” explained in an interview. „At the moment we are concentrating on founding a nonprofit association and developing a permaculture center and learning site at the Alte Mu. Outstations, such as supervised school or neighborhood gardens, will be added next year.“
It is very easy to participate in most projects. If you too, are bored in your gray environment, you are welcome to join one
of the projects presented in the info boxes.
The “Garten für Generationen” (Garden for generations) offers an area for dogs with agility-elemts and is open for all citizens. You can find it at Poppenrade 53.