In 2004 we got our first allotment – we took on another one almost every year after that. Now we have a total of 400m². The allotment is about 5 kilometers from our house, which means 20 min by bike (the most popular means of transportation in the Netherlands).
We garden following the 3 simple permaculture principles:
- no digging
When we take on an overgrown plot, we cover it with clearance mulch for a year to get rid of the weeds. This is a lot more efficient than digging and easier on your back.
We made raised beds from old tiles and from wood. The beds are never dug over and are always covered with mulch, a layer of organic material that protects the soil. It also prevents evaporation and the germination of weeds, which in return saves us a lot of trouble.
We planted 3 appels, 2 pears, a plum, a hazelnut, a persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), a large-fruited hawthorn (Crataegus schraderiana) and many soft fruit bushes. There are also plenty of herbs and a part of the garden is devoted to cutflowers.
The harvest is planned so that there is something to pick every week of the year, even though during the coldest months we are not completely self-sufficient.
Apart from the well-known vegetables, we try to grow something unusual every year. A small area of 3×5 m is set apart for experiments and in the past years it has been planted as a potager and as an annual cutflower garden, both of which were used for an article I wrote.
If you’d like to read more about our gardens here are a few posts: