Got green fingers? Missing the smell of freshly tilled soil and the taste of home grown veggies?
Every summer, KVAT (Recrea-tional Committee of Korte-pohja) hosts a gardening club by providing allotments for students in Viitaniemi and Kuokkala. Adverts for the club go up in May and activities continue during the summer until the harvest in August/September. It is particularly popular amongst foreign students and participation is free!
“Gardening provides an opportunity to be in fresh air and enjoy nature. It helps me to relax and get rid of stress. It gives the opportunity to exercise, especially at spring time when preparing a plot,” says Jurgita Kairyte from Lithuania.
Food prices are quite high in Finland, particularly organic produce. Growing your own veggies can help the student budget. Cucumbers, lettuce, cabbage, peas, radish, carrots, and numerous herbs grow well in Finnish soil. Potatoes yield a particularly great crop. As Jurgita says, “it was a joy to eat ecologically grown vegetables without using any chemicals to enhance my yield.”
But the plots aren’t only for veggies. Take a stroll through the gardens and you’ll see a profusion of flowers and even small trees.” says Panu Mäkinen, club supervisor. The gardening club covers topics like soil choice for different crops, making and
using compost and natural fertili-
zers, and how to protect your crop from the elements and unwanted dinner guests.
“Gardeners’ plots are like a yummy buffet for rabbits and worms. So, if you don’t want to share with those guests, be faster than them or use a gardening veil that may protect, at least from rabbits,” advises Jurgita. Gardening in Finland is an unique experience since the summers are so short and the climate harsh. The gardening club is on vacation during winter and if you head to the gardens in Autumn, be sure to wear your wellingtons.
So stock up on seeds, shears and spades and you’ll be ready to join the gardening club in spring.
Suzanne van Rooyen