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NOTES OF AN AMATEUR FARMER

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Last May, we presented the first steps of our urban agriculture project in Kalasatama – the ‘bagfarm’ organised by Dodo and put together by a group of about 30 farmers.

In the heat of last summer, our farm was proved very fertile, despite the windy weather and occasional problems with water supply. The Urban Dream Management team being amateur farmers with little previous experience, we were satisfied with this year’s crop. And after the first summer’s experience, we also got some useful knowledge of how to prepare for next year and which plants to choose. Altogether, farming in the city turned out mostly a pleasure. Most of all, the huge yield of self-grown zucchini we grew from merely two small seeds, was a miracle for a first-time farmer, and well worth the little effort.

The farm also received a lot of positive feedback from passers-by of all ages, and great attention from the media. We were happily surprised that relatively little damage or stealing was done at this public farm.

As a documentation of how the farm developed during the summer, here is a growth story of the zucchini, which was no doubt our most successful plant of the year.

Organic seeds ready for planting, end of May
After the cold start, the first signs of life of the zucchini are spotted on Helsinki day, 12 June
... and until midsummer (24 June) the leaves have been growing fast.
The fertile farm
On the first week of July, the outcome from one single seed is enjoying the heat wave and about to invade the whole plantation.
18th July: we can see something edible already!
Bicycle of a happy farmer. The first zucchinis were picked on the last week of July, and from then on, we collected about 4 more super sized vegetables each week, until late August. All this from two small seeds of zucchini, and without any fertilizers.
The farm. Possibly larger next year?

In June, I visited another, much larger scale urban plantation in Berlin: the Prizessinnengarten, an unused lot turned into a communal garden in the midst of the busy streets of Kreuzberg. As there seems to be almost an urban farming boom developing not only worldwide but also in Helsinki, we are eager to see what kind of new projects will develop here in the next years. For those interested in starting their own farm, Dodo‘s new site kaupunkiviljely.fi offers a lot of valuable information.

The Prinzessinnengarten

» click here to read more about the events in Kalasatama during the summer 2010.

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