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 (cardboard) 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 work.
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, an annual cutflower garden and as a polyculture of annual vegetables, all of which served as a basis for an article I wrote.
If you’d like to read more about our gardens here are a few posts:
Edible garden in November
Edible garden in October
Edible garden in September
Edible garden in August
Edible flowers, how to grow them and how to eat them
Edible garden in July
Edible garden in June
Edible garden in May
Edible garden in April
Kale salad and community gardening
Deciding what to grow
Edible garden in January