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Finland: A thicket of rules and a years-long queue await in Helsinki

Veteran green thumb Annaliisa Naskali has been gardening for 16 years. Image: Ilkka Loikkanen / Yle

Some amateur farmers may find themselves in a pickle, as inspectors dish out warnings over infractions like unattended weeds, insufficient cultivated land or their use of herbicides.

July 5, 2016


Allotment groups want to ensure that untended lots are actively used, as hundreds of residents queue for free plots in many areas. In some cases, wanna-be gardening enthusiasts can find themselves waiting anywhere from a few years to up to a decade for a plot.

“Unfortunately there are a few cases where people want a plot to themselves but then they don’t do anything with it. Ideally all of the plots would be actively farmed,” said Katja Uski, head of the allotment association.

City denizens with a yen for the land are better off looking for a plot a bit further afield. For example, the Elontie association in northern Helsinki’s Pakila district has managed to find plots for everyone who has come asking — and there are still a few places available.

“At the end of each season we reward a so-called conscientious farmer, who has tended his or her plot with care. The winner gets a waiver from paying the allotment fee the following year. We always have several candidates up for the award,” remarked association chair Ahola, proving that when it comes to city garden allotments, you reap what you sow.

Read the complete article here.