Live from Amsterdam

First Harvest

Today we’re happy to bring you another guest post, this time from all the way across the pond, the Netherlands!

Keally asked me a long time ago whether I would like to write a piece as a guest blogger on the garden-blog. As you can imagine, with university exams and lots of weeding to do, it takes a bit to sit down and actually write something. But today is a special day, with the first harvest of raddishes, and as a celebration I will tell you about my mini-garden. It started with an oblivious visit to a local utility store for some painter’s tape. Standing in the line I saw bags with seeds, and I couldn’t leave without buying one.

Inspired by the lovely stories from Plot 6, I started doing double digging as well, right behind the student dorms of the Amsterdam University College. Behind the courtyard of the dorms there is a ditch and green space belonging to the municipality. In this green area, the municipality put some little trees, I have no idea what for, and therefore they had exchanged the soil with dark soil instead of only sand.

The municipality didn’t respond to my email asking about the space and the little trees, so I changed the strategy: go guerrilla gardening. A squat garden here in Amsterdam writes some interesting thoughts on guerilla gardening. These people maintain a permaculture garden right in the middle of a living neighbourhood. On their website they explain how guerrilla gardening is connected to indigenous people fighting for land and justice. Apart from gains in sustainability and independence, they use their guerrilla gardening as a way of expressing solidarity with small farmers around the world. See:

Other modern guerrilla gardeners continue to green-pimp their neighborhood in all possible spaces (pavements, streets), wonderful pictures on

Between the municipality’s trees, I sowed radish, carrot, beetroot, arugula and lettuce. My fellow students first looked a bit surprised seeing me carrying a shovel down the stairs, but by now they’re used to seeing me carrying buckets across the student dorms. It’s quite small. But it is only a try-out. Oh next year… I imagine having a community project with many more vegetables, involve more of my fellow students, involve local schools, start a compost site and have chickens.

For now, I will write a project proposal to present my idea to the university and the municipality, and hopefully make this project a bit more official.


Keally’s friend from Amsterdam


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Fran Keally on June 8, 2010 at 1:13 am

    It is so lovely to hear your gardening story. I can just visualize you in my mind’s eye, carrying your gardening tools to the plot. The radishes are lovely too! We just had a dinner salad all picked from my vertical garden and I have a few small green tomatoes too. I’ll post more photos soon. Thanks for sharing and keep us up to date via this blog.


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