Community Gardens

I’m not a gardener. Not really. At home we have a tiny raised bed and each summer I try a few tomato plants and squash and peppers. In the winter I have pretty good luck with lettuce. And by I, I mean my dear husband.

In grad school in Wisconsin we rented a garden plot in married student housing which was a nice 10-minute walk from our apartment. For $8 a summer. The plots were pretty big, so we split it with friends. There were hoses throughout the garden so we could easily water our plants. This was where I learned that 6 tomato plants were too many for two people. And that green beans are sneaky little devils and reproduce very quickly. You go down the row and pick every single one, and then when you go back, say, two minutes later, there are about 20 more beans that you could swear were not there the first time around.

In Switzerland, about 70 percent of the population lives in a rented flat. If you want to garden, you can also rent a spot in a Screbergarten (Hobby Garden). These little neighborhoods of huts can be seen from train windows and also within the city limits.

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Information gathered from the English Forum suggests that you rent your plot for anywhere from 250-500 CHF per year, and you must buy your plot from the previous owner. It also suggests that you must fly the Swiss flag, have at least 60% of the plot covered in flowers and/or vegetables. People go out to there mini farms for an afternoon/evening of grilling, gardening, and wine-drinking. I’m sure there are plenty of other rules to follow, but it would be another way of integrating into Swiss society.

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