If the queues for an allotment garden are long and the allotments far from your home, guess what: you can still have the opportunity to dig in and sink your fingers in that black, fluffy soil. If you don’t have as much as a French balcony, not to worry – hear these tips given by urban gardeners!
Airikka Mannerkoski, a mother of three living in Arabianranta, found herself wondering why there were no useful plants on the yards she could see around her. “Why do I, as a mother, have to tell my kids not to pick berries from the ornamental bushes? Rather, I’d like to encourage them to eat the fruit of useful plants to their heart’s desire! We do live in a city but it would be nice to be able to pick the nutrients and greens close-by.”
Airikka took it upon herself to find out how she could promote the emergence of vegetable patches in the shared courts of the near-by blocks of flats. The taciturn attitude of Arabia service company didn’t kill her spirit: she called Pinja Sipari, an urban gardener of the environmental organization Dodo, for help. A site was located near-by where it would be possible to grow a piece of environmental art. At the moment, the site only sports a big hole but the big opening of the designer patch is scheduled for Helsinki Day in June.
The patch is designed and its construction monitored by an international group of master-level students of environmental art in Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, the local farmers-to-be will help with the construction. District association Artova will continue co-ordinating the project while the plot itself is for the area residents to use. Some 40 locals have signed up to cultivate the plot, and they are committed to sharing the responsibility for the berry bushes and fruit trees that are to be planted on the site later. In the initial stages of the project, the “farmers” are encouraged to go for compositional aesthetics but the end result will be formed freely in the hands of the participants. If you are interested in joining the cultivation project, ask for an allotment: ————-@gmail.com
If you want to organize a cultivation box building workshop in your home district, participate in a development initiative, lead a discussion group, influence city planning or simply plant carrots on yards near-by, you can find more tips, detailed instructions and useful contacts in the Dodo website http://dodo.org (in Finnish).
Taika Ilola, an owner of green fingers and a French balcony
Translation by Pigasus Translations.