Backyard garden
Backyard garden
Details
Commenced:
01/03/2009
Submitted:
09/05/2015
Last updated:
07/10/2015
Location:
Innsbruck, AT
Climate zone:
Alpine





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Nathan Dow
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Backyard garden

Project Type

Urban

Project Summary

Vegetable and herb garden in a backyard garden community.

Project Description

The backyard garden community my garden plot is a part of originated in the 1940s when the houses surrounding it were built: every apartment had its own veggie plot assigned to it!
The gardens began diminishing in the 50's-60's when people became more affluent and abandoned growing their own. Today, our garden is the last of its kind in Innsbruck (whilst at the same time there are efforts to begin new urban gardening projects all over town) and sadly is doomed to be eradicated in the next few years, when the old 2-story buildings will make way for 3-5 story, denser architecture.

From 2009, I began taking over small abandoned plots, beginning with a small herbal corner, and I now have approx. 90m² to work with.
The main aim of the project was to gather hands-on experience in putting permaculture principles to work and grow my own vegetables and fruit whilst preserving the historic garden structure.

There always had been a "no chemicals" rule in the garden, but not everyone had given compost (home grown or externally produced) back to the earth in the same measure they had been taking out produce. Hence the soil was seriously depleted and for each new bit of soil I'd take over, the process always began the same way:

  • - weed out invasive plants and use them as mulch.
  • - reorganise existing plants (mostly berry bushes and perennial flowers) to more amenable spots.
  • - loosen up the very clay-heavy soil without turning, plant green cover crops, potato and/or leguminous crops, chop and drop.


The main challenges faced were:

  • * to plan a garden that assimilates the overall gardening style (square veggie plots with pathways in between), is pleasant to the eye (flowering plants throughout the year), and does not offend the sensibilities of my bare-soil gardening neighbors (ohmy, what a buzz, when I started mulching haha)
  • * to use (almost exclusively) locally available resources to improve the soil (neighbors became mulch-friendly very quickly when they discovered they could just bring their weedings to my collecting spot - just a few feet away - instead of having to drive them to our town's composting center!)
  • * very high pressure from slugs, who clearly prefer the lush, mulched paradise my plots offer over the bare soil of my neighbors, and leading me to mostly discard thick layers of mulch, which has slowed the process of soil improvement a bit.


It has been greatly satisfying to observe how the garden is evolving over the years, how plants moved to better places in the garden have recovered and are now thriving, how I can grow an increasing variety of vegetables, how an abundance of bees has appeared, how my perennial berry/flower strips bring joy to passersby and gardening neighbors alike... I am producing surplusses that I gladly share, and am regularly asked for my (self-seeding) plant babies - which are reliable cover crops and sources of mulch.
And in all this abundance, I am learning a lot from my experiments!

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Urban
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Nathalie Sequeira - Admin
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