A New Project: A Public Allotment Garden

in #gardenlast year

I love gardening, theoretically.

Meaning, I like the idea of creating something. Deciding what goes where, providing space and opportunity for growth. Helping others to grow as good as they can, and share in the wonders of that growth - and the produce.

But, I don't have a garden. I live in the center of a small village in the south of the Netherlands. And I don't mind not having to keep up appearances, to make sure there are no weeds growing where there shouldn't. But I do miss being able to be surrounded by nature.

Public Garden Project - Day 1 (1).png

Public Allotment Garden

I'm not sure how widespread this concept is around the world, but in the Netherlands we call this 'volkstuintjes' - little gardens for the people. Basically a way to allow everyone to be self-sufficient when it comes to vegetables. You can sign up and get a piece of land that you are allowed to garden. You can grow whatever you want, although there are some rules: no illegal plants, no weird pesticides, and you need to maintain your garden properly.

I found one pretty close to where I live - five minute bike ride. And when I signed up I thought it would take a couple of years before I could start. But no. There was no waiting list, and there were two plots of land still available. I got a key to the area and a map, and found the piece of land that was on offer. Not for sale, I'd pay an annual fee of 20 euro (which is very cheap).

So I went and had a look.

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This is what it looks like right now. 5 meters by 21 meters. (5.5 yards by 23 yards). A total of 105 m2, which is 125 square yards, if that tells you more. Quite a piece of land. And as you can see, a lot of work to change it into a garden.

But... beautiful poppy flowers already on it. And lots of weeds.

Doubting

So then I started to doubt. Should I take on a project like this? Would it be wise? It would take a lot of time, and some money for investments in tools. I have a lot of other things to do already, and would I be able to commit to this, or be fed up with it after a few weeks?

This project does tick off a lot of my boxes for what I want to work on in my life:

  • Be outside more
  • Work out more
  • Enjoy silence and nature more
  • Work more with my hands, as most of the days I'm only sitting behind my computer all day

So, I decided to go for it.

Day One

Today is Day One of Project Public Garden.
I thought about how it would be nice to document this project, so what better way than to fire up my steem account once more? Perhaps there are other gardeners here who can give advice on how to go about this. I know nothing. So I'm in for the learning and enjoyment.

So of course, when I went over this morning, put on gloves and stepped into the garden, it started to rain. To pour, actually. And there was lightning. I thought I'd have at least one hour to start the work. Not so much luck. But as I'm writing this, the rain has stopped and the sun came out again. So will head back out and get at least one hour of work done.

I'll keep you updated. Online I read I should expect at least 200 hours of work per year. Let's see if that is somewhat correct.

Thanks.

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Oh my goodness! This meadow of flowers is your starting point for beginning a garden? It's a bit late to be starting, but I'm sure you can still make something of it.

Personally, I would keep a ring of those natural wildflowers around the perimeter as they bring in so many beneficial insects and add beauty and peace to your time spent there.

I would mower over the middle and use all that fresh greens as a mulch, or create my own compost pile. Then start adding some transplants of favorite veggies, because it's a bit late to start from seed unless it grows fast.

Yes, it's a bit late in the year to start, and it's quite a lot of work dealing with what is already there. But so far I'm really enjoying it :)
And great ideas. I'm still not really decided on what to do or what to leave and what to get rid of, will see as time progresses and I work my way through the plot. Thanks for thinking along!

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