Learn more about urban food gardening at Magneet Festival

I’ll be presenting on the topic of Urban Food Growing at the Magneet Festival on 23 August: 3:00 in the Green Area. It’ll be followed by a one-to-one Q&A session, so bring your queries… So if you’re in Amsterdam, stop by to pick up some tips and find out about local resources.


asparagus, mint, rhubarb august

You’re absolutely right, it’s definitely NOT asparagus season. But we’re already thinking about next year. A delivery from Vreekin’s Zaden came with 20 asparagus plants–basically, a bagfull of spidery roots. We’ve put them at the end of the permaculture spiral, in a round bed that was heavily dug over and weeded to prepare it, with plenty of compost added. Each root rests on its own little hillock, and then a light covering of compost-rich soil was added. We’ve had to top it up now and then due to heavy rains.
Here’s a few before and after pictures–the dead-looking roots produced spears and the feathery foliage in just a few weeks, which we’ll be able to start harvesting sparingly when they return next spring, and voraciously for, oh, 20 years or so after that 🙂
It’s bounded on one side by some mint that’s flowering beautifully, and then by a very healthy stand of rhubarb.

New year, lots of changes in our garden

We’ve stayed busy throughout the winter and spring with planning and projects to start as soon as we could return to the tuinhuis full-time last month. That has included building a greenhouse (from a kit — not for the fainthearted), and many changes to the pond and existing annual and permaculture beds. Yesterday H finished this raised bed, which we promptly planted with raspberries, tayberries and a blueberry bush. It will eventually have trellises on either end so that we can train the berry vines, and another nearby for grape vines. They’ll also be the basis of a fruit cage structure that will allow us to net the bushes to prevent too many berries from getting eaten by bugs and birds.

Winter treats

It’s been an exceptionally mild winter, so we probably should expect this next year… But the garden keeps giving us lovely vegetables. I can’t believe it’s February and we’re still eating freshly picked boerenkool, tuinkres and mosterd spinazie, plus of course beets and turnips.
Plans for spring are taking shape too, particularly the idea of a greenhouse to extend the season even more… H is planning a new hugelkulture plot, and we’re both keen to grow more varieties of tasty things…


Apples, neighbours and apple cake

Apples, neighbours and apple cake

On their last day at the tuinpark, our Turkish neighbours gave us all the apples they couldn’t carry. This haul has slowly diminished over the past several weeks, being turned into tasty apple cake, apple-nut cake, and apple-date cake. It’ll be many years before we can harvest our own, so it’s great to have neighbours to share and trade with!

Making friends with spiders


Ever since I was small, I’ve been both terrified by and fascinated by spiders. I’m warming to these harvester spiders though — every ear of corn in our garden seems to have one in residence, keeping the tasty kernals safe from bugs. Thanks!