Eve’s community garden

by admin on 14/08/2016

Peas growing on a grid

Web site

Map reference

Photo gallery

I joined Eve’s garden in 2015 because the objective was to help local small-scale producers of foods and drinks by selling their products under one roof. Besides, visits to some of the producers who deliver their products to Eve’s garden, like Ånerud farm are arranged occasionally.

When Eve’s community garden was to be established in winter 2016, I naturally joined and bought a part. 40 parts were up for sale, but there are still a few left. The part owners are called grønnskollinger meaning greenheads where grønn in Norwegian means both the colour green and someone who is inexperienced. Since all of the part owners, as far as I know, have no or very little experience with growing edible plants, it is an apt description.

As stated on the website of Eve’s community garden, there are several reasons for growing our own food, like:

  • total control of what we eat and no residues of pesticides.
  • fresh vegetables are tasty and nutritious.
  • a large selection since we can grow what we want.
  • we take care of the soil by using it for producing food and letting it remain fertile.
  • less transport is good for the environment.
  • we get more knowledgeable about cultivation and nature.

After having founded the community garden, a closed Facebook page was set up and groups were founded, like one for carpenting, compost and herbs, while I joined the photography group and the beekeeper’s group. Unfortunately, another beekeeper has a storeroom nearby such that we can’t have any beehives in the community garden.

Since we started in the middle of winter, all of us were asked to raise tomato plants at home where volunteers got some pots, soil and seeds. Naturally, I also wanted to raise tomatoes and after having put seeds in soil and waiting for, say, a week where nothing seemed to happen, suddenly tiny shoots appeared. Next, tiny leaves appeared as well. Thereafter, the tomato plants grew steadily bigger until I brought them to the community garden in the middle of June for participating in preparing the garden. When I had last been there, the garden looked like a greenfield, but now rows covered by a layer of grasses in order to prevent weeds from growing and wooden cases partly covered by windows in order to create miniature greenhouses were visible.

Next, we prepared another row for planting, which was really hard work because the soil was so hard. Finally, after having broken up the soil, some part owners started planting tomato plants and suspending them by a piece of string attached to vertical poles at both ends of the row.

Later, I have also been watering, weeding, putting hay bales into wooden cases and cutting bamboo poles in fixed lengths for use as holders of signs, showing what is grown where besides making a visual reportage of the community garden.

In return for all this work, we get weekly messages telling us about what we can harvest whenever we want.

Since this community garden started from scratch this year, I’m still a part owner at Ødeverp farm where edible plants have been grown since 1990. As I had expected at the start of the season, it takes time to grow a community garden and we have to be patient.

As regards next year, mixed cropping will be practised. In particular, maize (a tall grass), beans (a nitrogen-fixing legume) and squash (a low-lying creeper plant) will be grown together. This kind of agriculture was practised by Native Americans for ages and they called the three plants the Three Sisters. Growing more herbs and fruit trees are also planned.

A greenhouse is very high on our wishlist, but may still be beyond our means.What’s for sure is that there will always be something we would like to get hold of, but which we can’t afford.

Eve’s community garden exchanges seeds, plants and experiences with Sylling Andellandbruk and Kirkerud Andelsgård. In addition, the researcher from Lindum who was conducting a field trial of growing cereals has a container, where he makes compost by means of earthworms, next to the community garden, Since there are also several organic farms with cattle and horses nearby, there is a ready supply of organic fertilisers and compost. Some of the part owners also make compost from residues in the community garden. As shown on this web site, there is a lot to learn about composting too. Here is another web site on composting and here is a third one, a fourth one, a fifth one and a sixth one. Here’s a website on the science of composting.

We moved the community garden to Renskaug vertsgård in late winter of 2017 because we got better conditions and even help from the resident farmer. This year, we didn’t need to break up the soil because the farmer plowed for us instead. By working together, we have planted a wide variety of edible plants. We still don’t have a greenhouse, but as last year, we have had great success with growing plants in wooden cases. Now, one reader of this blog has told me that this is called container gardening and, as is explained in that blog, there is a lot to learn about it.

Being a part owner in a community garden also contributes to reducing food waste.

A guide on growing squash is included here.

A web site called Thank Your Garden can be found here.

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