This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he always thought the garden was his. Even though I do all the work, he always stood by me. I'm located near Boston (in USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot and a backyard vegetable garden. I use sustainable organic methods and try to grow all of my family's vegetables.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Swiss community gardens

Swiss community gardens  200

While I was in Switzerland last week on vacation, I took a bunch of photos of vegetable gardens. We traveled by train, so I had to pull up the camera quick and hope to get a shot before we went into a tunnel or behind a tree. It was a challenge!

The gardens are full to the top at this time of year with all sorts of crops. They look beautiful!

The community gardens look a lot like ours here in the US, but I was surprised at all the little huts in the plots. I wonder why this is? Are there that many tools to store that its worth using garden space for a shed? Or are they used for growing something? There are also many high hoop houses and shelters over plants.

Swiss community gardens  201 Swiss community gardens  199
Swiss community plots  232 Swiss community plots 226
swiss gardens 107 Swiss community gardens  152
Swiss community plots  227

And here are a couple links to photos by eamesd on Flickr of an enormous community garden area in Basel, Switzerland. I missed seeing this and would have loved to have walked through here! Next time...

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Blogger Tamsin said...

I'm impressed with your photo skills. I get blurs even when I'm not on a speeding train.

I can't speak for the Swiss, but in the UK what I think you call community gardens we call allotments (that's what the photos look like). It's sort of a field divided into lots of plots that each person rents. It's pretty traditional to have a shed on the plot to house all the tools etc. you use. Ones with windows would double up as greenhouses to start off seedlings. A shed could also house chickens (depending on the allotment rules) or a chair and tea making equipment for breaks and sudden rain showers :)

July 21, 2010 6:42 PM

Blogger meemsnyc said...

Wow, those are really impressive gardens! Nice!

July 21, 2010 6:56 PM

Blogger Salix said...

On your last post I was thinking The Alps. Some of my most enjoyable vacations have been to Switzerland and Austria, hiking. I must admit that I wasn't looking at gardens!

July 21, 2010 7:11 PM

Blogger Ismail N said...

Impressive camera you've got there! The photos look too good to have been taken from a moving train! Here in Sabah, Malaysia, there are also sheds/huts for plants that can't tolerate the sun or requires darkness such as mushrooms.

July 21, 2010 9:48 PM

Blogger Sue said...

My grandparents had one of those little huts on their garden plot (as did all the others). They have many purposes-folks often had a table and chairs and a small propane cookstove. It was common to spend a very pleasant day there, enjoying a bit of lunch. Some folks even had a small cot to take a nap. What wonderful memories. These folks knew how to really enjoy their gardens.

July 22, 2010 1:53 AM

Anonymous Patrick said...

We have sheds on our plots too. Most people use them as a place to make coffee and tea, or to duck out of a rain shower as well as store tools.

A few of my garden neighbors use them to nap in during the day, but formally we are not allowed to spend the night in them and we aren't allowed to build anything big enough to be useful for living in. Many of the community gardens in Amsterdam allow small cabins to be built, with the intention you will live there for part of the summer.

I had to spend a day painting my shed this year, and next year or the year after it will need a new roof. I honestly find it more trouble than it's worth. I suppose I could tear it down, but that's a project too...

July 22, 2010 2:19 AM

Anonymous Soilman said...

The huts are where they stack the bodies....

July 22, 2010 3:26 AM

Blogger Tina said...

In Germany (and I guess in Switzerland it is similar) lots of the community gardens are along the railways, and the sheds are not only for tool storage but also storage of everything else you need for a weekend in the garden, and for shelter for the gardeners :-). Usually people spend lots of time there during the green season. We had neigbours who in summer only came home for sleeping it seemed *lol*
The shelters for the plants are mostly for tomatoes –to keep the rain from their leaves to prevent them of “you know what”, sometimes they are permanent constructions made with metal and glass, but mostly just from wood and plastic to be taken down after the summer and rebuild next year over the new tomato bed.
I searched wiki for the German “Schrebergarten” and went from there directly to the English version and found this on the pics you can see they all have a hut…
Oh and there are usually really strict rules about the size of the hut, the size of lawn-veggie patch-flower beds, when to keep quiet, when not to bbq… well I’ve never had such a garden but that’s what you hear a bout them. And my dad had one when I was little and I still have memories of it, and I can still remember that special smell in the hood…

July 22, 2010 6:38 AM

Blogger Ali H said...

I've been having a nice time hanging out in the kleingarten colonies of Berlin recently, and quite a lot of these allow part-time residence in the summer- like, you can't build a full-sized house, but people have pretty comfortable huts with beds, toilets, sinks, cooktops etc and they pretty much live there over weekends & holidays throughout the growing season. Actually I'm not sure if they're so much 'allowed' to live there as just 'creatively bending the rules' to live there- that is the Berlin way of doing things, after all. It's a lovely way to live in the summer, I think, surrounded by gardens and gardeners all the time!

July 22, 2010 7:21 AM

Blogger kathy said...

This is so interesting!

(except for what Soilman does in his shed ;)

I love the thought of spending days at the plot. Making tea and relaxing. (Maybe a little wine and cheese..) Then weeding a bit. The gardens are beautiful in the early mornings and late evenings.

I have a big umbrella at my plot. A blue and white beach umbrella. I put this up for shade or if a brief rain storm comes up and I don;t want to go home. That my garden structure. The only structure other plots have is arbors for shade.

We just don't have the same level of commitment to (appreciation of) our gardens in the US. (yet)

I wonder if I should build a more solid structure than my umbrella? Right now I barely have time to complete the gardening tasks, much build this.

I'm off to the plot for a lunch break now: tasks: fertilize the corn, clean out the pea bed, plant shell beans in it, work on my espaliered pear a bit, and clean out my overgrown flower border so I can plant some new plants there.

July 22, 2010 12:37 PM

Anonymous Sibylle said...

Where exactly were these gardens located in Basel? I'd love to visit them. I'm in Basel currently.

July 22, 2010 3:43 PM

Blogger kathy said...


I did not visit the Basel gardens myself (which I had). I just googled and found the photos. Here's a website that may help you find the address. My German isn't good enough to read it and find the address.

It seems to me there a a number of allotments / community gardens in Basel. If anyone knows the location/address, please let us know! Thanks!

July 22, 2010 6:52 PM

Blogger reddy2vish said...

First, love your blog! I have been following since I moved from zone 9 in Texas to zone 6ish in Germany and had to throw all my previous gardening knowledge out the window!

My in-laws have had the same community garden plot for 35 years in Munich, and it too has an almost cabin-like hut. There is a table, stove and even bunk beds and a wardrobe to keep gardening clothes (can come straight from work and change). Their kids used to go 'camping' there in the summer. I think the different gardening culture here stems from people living in small apartments with no garden, so their community plot is more like their backyard. It's not uncommon to see 3-4 generations grilling and playing on the weekend. There are strict rules to keep people from turning their plots into just a play space for their kids(you must grow fruits or veggies) as well as turning the plot into a plantation(approx 1/3 grass required). The gardens in Zurich seem to have considerably smaller huts and almost no one has grass. I am guessing the rules are different in Zurich and people want to maximize crop yeild.

sibylle- you usually can't enter unless you have a key to the gate, or someone lets you in. The website for the Basel Kleingartenverein only has a bad map. A search on googlemaps shows quite a few east of the train tracks, and north of the river.

If you are ever in Munich, I can give you a tour!

July 23, 2010 7:12 AM

Blogger Rachel said...

I remember all the gardens in Switzerland from our train trip from Zurich to Bavaria. It made me think of all the trips I've taken on the Metra from the Chicago suburbs into downtown and I don't think I saw one garden along the tracks. What a waste of some great garden space. I don't know why Americans seem to be so intimidated by gardening. Perhaps the Europeans are still in touch with the land and Americans just want to continue mowing their large swaths of yard.

July 25, 2010 11:16 AM

Blogger Medna said...

I live in the UK as well, but am American, and I think part of the reason for sheds on allotments in Europe is because there isn't always a place to store tools, boots, equipment, etc at home. Homes and home gardens tend to be quite small compared with the US, and with less storage (garages, closets, mudrooms, porches, etc are not as prevalent as in the US), especially in towns and cities where allotments are popular.

July 27, 2010 11:47 AM

Blogger kathy said...

Isn't theft a problem? In the US, Belmont at least, it would be. I haven't brought my garden chair to my plot because of this. Can't imagine leaving a shed full of tools and stuff there.

July 27, 2010 10:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The plastic over hoops is to shelter the tomato plants from rain showers. When I grew up in Switzerland we had 2 plots one with only fruit, any kind of berries and grapesvines growing around the shed. The other was for veggies. Mom canned the surplus and in the cellar we stored red and white cabbage, carrots, beets, celery roots etc in a heap of soil because we had no freezer at that time. We ate organic but we did not know anything else. Dad also had a huge compost pile.

June 11, 2015 9:17 PM

Blogger kathy said...

Your cellar, gardens and the organic food sound wonderful! And the compost pile.

June 13, 2015 2:57 PM


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