Ecology / Economy / Ethics / Food

The Start of the Gardening Season


Yesterday, finally, after months of waiting, I got my vegetable patch for this year. Like I did in the last four years, I have rented a patch to grow my veggies and potatoes from “Gartenglück“. This is a project running four plots in and around Cologne where people can rent such a patch.

The farmer running the project has planted and sown different kinds of vegetables. The field is then divided into stripes each 2 meters wide. You can rent such a stripe for one year. The work for us is to weed, to harvest and, after harvesting, to replant. Tools and water are provided. Additional seeds and plants are sold by the farmer but you can also bring your own, as long as they are organic. there are 41 rows, 3 of which are empty. I have sown some Fawa beans and set some little onions. Some runner beans are still waiting to be sown. I also plan to add chili as well as “sweet dumpling” squash (if I can get some of the plants). This is my favorite type of squash. Some other plants, for example green cabbage, will follow later in the year.

You get spinach, onions, carrots, parsley, chive, radish, pointed cabbage, Brussels sprouts, savoy cabbage, turnip cabbage, broccoli, red cabbage, nasturtium, rocket, potatoes, zucchini, cucumber, green kuri sqash, tomatoes, swiss chard, beet root, peas and sugar peas, several types of lettuce, bush beans and a mix of flowers included.

Some plants are initially covered with garden fleece to protect them from the pidgions.

Some plants are initially covered with garden fleece to protect them from the pigeons.

This concept, called “Gemuese-Selbsternte” (vegetable self harvesting), originally developed in Austria, seems to be spreading in Germany. There are now several such projects, but the one here in Cologne seems to be the largest, with four different plots in different parts of the city. It should be possible to reproduce this idea in many places in one variety or another, especially around larger cities. For city dwellers with not so much time and without my own garden, this is a good possibility. It is also a way to reduce my ecological footprint a little bit. And it feels good to know exactly where the food you eat is coming from and that it was grown in a non-destructive and non-exploitative way without the involvement of big agricultural and chemical companies. It is a good feeling to eat things you have grown yourself. I enjoy the garden work as well as the cooking. Most of the time, I go to the place on bike, which I like. Weeding and harvesting time, it has turned out,  is a good time to think and to contemplate, plan my next blog article :-), as well as for hearing an audio book on history, philosophy or science.

Related article:  Where I get most of my Vegetables and Potatoes from

The Gartenglück truck with some replacement plants (in case some where damaged). In the background the shed where the tools are kept.

The Gartenglück truck with some replacement plants (in case some where damaged). In the background the shed where the tools are kept.

13 thoughts on “The Start of the Gardening Season

    • Thank you. I hope for good weather. That means wet (as a “farmer” you can feel happy about rain, if it is not too much) with some sun until end of June and then a lot of sun.
      I am not a photographer and I don’t have a good camera, so in case you come to cologne, you can make some better images (later, when the plants are out, it starts looking very attractive).

      • A small one, yeah. Herbs and veggies and whole lot of catnip. I’m trying to convince the wife to move a little out into the countryside so i can grow more. I like the process.

            • The grass is always greener on the other side. I envy you for the possibility of growing things like papaya and pineapple. Our own land in Cameroon is a little bit far away from here 🙂

              • My neighbour grows pineapple. Papaya and bananas and mango grow everywhere, so they’re free. Our area has so many mango trees that people come from other suburbs and fill up bags with them.

                So, you own land in Cameroon? How cool!

  1. Pingback: Squash Harvest | The Asifoscope

  2. We have a tiny garden in the back. We are growing basil, tomatoes, oregano, chives, chard, onions and garlic. Medium success, and always a delicious plus to dinner. Oh, & chili peppers!

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