In Germany the towns are getting bigger and bigger. The allotment gardens are a means so that we do not need to live in deserts of concrete, but that the green areas can still increase. “The person, who wishes that our towns, with an increasing population, remain nice to live in, cannot omit allotments” explains Peter Paschke, president of the German allotment federation (BDG) the central federation of the German allotment gardeners. Allotments are still part of all our towns and communes in Germany, but this is changing in rural areas. In the larger towns, however, their development is steadily increasing. In fact they do not only save money, but they also bring people together, stimulate a healthy diet and offer recreation from the stressful daily life. They even have an additional value because they constitute compensation grounds for the urban climate, are a place to breath for the citizens, biotopes of biodiversity and a centre of knowledge for gardening aptitudes. Allotment gardeners have always spread their knowledge further than the boarders of their sites – and that is a fact the day of the garden wants to make people aware of.
Many of the nearly 15,000 allotment associations, which exist throughout Germany, encourage everyone to have a look at these green oases on this day and to discover the nature in town. Nature in town? Yes, of course. Nature friendly gardening has been a priority of the allotment gardeners for a long time. Instead of trying to get the greatest possible harvest, the gardeners want to get quality: Many associations renounce on a voluntary basis to use pesticides, cultivate old species and kinds of plants and so contribute to safeguarding biodiversity. Well trained gardening advisers in the associations help the garden newcomers to learn everything that is worth to be known about a nature friendly gardening. The central federation works hard to reach that the allotment gardens, especially in towns, are considered as an essential part of the green infrastructure – and are not considered as potential building grounds. Because extending towns where nothing is allowed to grow anymore, will not for a long time remain towns that are worth to be lived in.
That’s why we always celebrate the day of the garden on the second Sunday in June. This day should make people become aware of the importance of the allotments for the well-being of people and nature in urban and in rural areas.
With the celebration of this day of the garden, the allotment gardeners want to sensitise the population for the joy of urban gardening and try to get new supporters for the allotment idea.
This year the Day of the Garden was organised on 10th June. The official opening took place in Munich.
Author Thomas Wagner, scientific member of the central German allotment federation
The Competition of the NGO " Deutsche Umwelthilfe" continues – Five allotment garden associations among the winners in 2017
Gardening promotes local attachment and "taking root". No other place is better suited for people to talk and socialize with each other. For this reason, allotment associations and community gardens, which open up their cultivable acreage to refugees, make an important contribution to the integration of those who seek protection against war and violence in Germany. Five of the projects that were awarded a prize in 2017 are managed by allotment garden associations.
The Querbeet project: Integration in two Osnabrück allotment garden associations
The Querbeet project is stimulating the integration of refugee families in two Osnabrück allotment garden associations. Gardening creates opportunities for encounters and enables refugee families to participate in our society. The five gardens are managed by one family each. They already form an integral part of the life in the association. Two refugees have even made the leap into the job market through the garden project!
Eime Intercultural Garden (Lower Saxony)
The intercultural garden is part of the local allotment garden site and is well equipped. All tools including the lawn mower have been donated, as well as the garden furniture and the barbecue. A wildflower meadow has been sown, there are fruit trees and a shared vegetable garden. The board of the allotment garden association supports the project developed on this plot and has taken on the lease.
Lüneburg Cultural Garden (Lower Saxony)
This is the first "Integration garden" of the competition! The garden is located on an allotment site in a residential area on the outskirts of town. It is jointly managed. It comprises a large plot that is planted and harvested by all. There are also small fruit trees, berry bushes and a herb spiral. Various raised beds and mounds were built, as well as a greenhouse, created out of old windows. There is a hut with a large shelter attached. The garden is accessible to all at any time.
Dillingen City Garden (Saarland)
The Saar Future Workshop (Zukunftswerkstatt - ZWS) is developing an integrative community and educational garden on a 200 m² plot of the North Dillingen allotment garden association. The offer to cooperate was directed primarily, although not exclusively, to refugee women, in order to provide them with freedom in their specific situation, to initiate contacts and to facilitate gardening together according to their wishes.
Intercultural Bielefeldt Gardens in Lübeck (Schleswig-Holstein)
The intercultural garden in the Buntekuh district of Lübeck includes five plots of land at the allotment garden association Buntekuh. Highlights in the garden are a clay baking unit and a solar-powered water pump. The garden is managed organically. Gardeners can tend their own beds or garden in the common areas. There are many courses, activities and festivals for children and adults.
The competition will enter a new round in 2018. For all information please go to: www.duh.de/projekte/gaerten-der-integration/besondere-projekte-und-initiativen/
Thomas Wagner, BDG
Since its beginning the social function is a corner stone of the allotment movement throughout Europe.
You find some examples from Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden in the Hyphens no. 60 to 63.
Have a look at these inspiring projects.
Secretary general of the International Office du Coin de Terre et des Jardins Familiaux
The nature's seasonal clock
According to our timing, a new year has just begun with its exactly calculated dates. The processes in nature, however, do not exactly correspond to these schedules, as they strongly depend on the changing weather conditions. Whereas in the tropics and sub-tropics, the plants' vegetation and rest periods are triggered by rain and dry periods, the average temperature influences the state of the vegetation in our latitudes. In our imagination we combine the four seasons with certain images: Spring brings greenery, summer blossoms, autumn ripening fruit, winter shows bare branches and fir green. But nature does not always stick to this calendar. Often a harsh wind blows or even snow falls at the beginning of the spring as marked on the calendar. The activities in the garden must, of course, be in harmony with the real conditions. A better orientation as the regular calendar is so provided by the phenomenological calendar, which is based on longstanding observations of recurring events in nature.
The often smiled at peasants' rules reflect this knowledge, whereby some "wisdom" should be evaluated critically. From these traditions "the doctrine of phenomena", the phenomenology developed in the 18th century. Within phenomenology the observations from agriculture and forestry, meteorology and ecology are linked. The phenomenological calendar of the German weather service mentions ten seasons for vegetation. The development states such as flowering and maturing of certain plants mark the beginning of a season. However, this may be different from one landscape region to another. Due to weather conditions, there are often outbreaks, which can lead to a phenomenological season starting very early or very late. Based on decades of recordings in many small regions, there is a tendency, despite some irregularities, of an advancing in time of spring.
Beginning of the hazel flowering or alternatively of the snowdrop blossom
2. First spring
Beginning of the forsythia flowering or alternatively of the leaf development of the gooseberry
3. Full spring
Beginning of the apple flowering or alternatively of the stem's leaf development
4. Early summer
Beginning of the black elder flowering
Beginning of the flowering of the large leaved lime or the ripening of the currant
6. Late summer
Beginning of the ripening of the spring apples or alternatively of the fruit of the ashes
7. Early autumn
Beginning of the ripening of the black elderberry
8. Full autumn
Beginning of the ripening of the pedunculate oak or alternatively of the buckeye
9. Late autumn
Beginning of the leaf colouring of the common oak or alternatively of the buckeye
Beginning of the growing of the winter wheat or alternatively the leaf fall of late maturing apples or of the pedunculate oak
Bundesverband Deutscher Gartenfreunde