Finally your own garden! But after her move our author Jessica Prinz still lacks the plants. Where should she start, what fits so well in such a city garden, what does little work? Fortunately she has the help of two professionals.

A place to go out was always a point on my wish list for a new apartment, but it never had priority. All the happier I was when I was given a great roof terrace or balcony at a new place of residence. Or like now: with two garden beds and a huge green area directly in front of the bedroom. And that in the middle of the city. I know life really means well to me.

The problem: I don’t really know what to do with it. Actually, I claim to have a green thumb for myself. But so far there has been a problem with the implementation of a splendour of flowers. Maybe it’s patience, the summer holidays that got in the way of harvest time, or the fact that I put the wrong plants next to each other. So I’m not unhappy when my colleagues suggest that I have a professional help me with the garden planning for an article. What and when will be planted where? Does the chives need a lot of sun? And should the tomatoes be planted next to the coriander? Yes, coriander. That is the only wish. And it doesn’t come from me, but from my Vietnamese roommate. I leave everything else to the professionals. It’s important that it doesn’t just look nice, but in the best case also tastes good afterwards in the kitchen.

The professionals who are getting my garden in shape are Julia Goedicke and Christine Strauss from Veg and the City, a company that has set itself the goal of bringing gardening closer to city dwellers. But first of all the good garden has to be mucked out. Which of the dreary looking plants can you still use? What would be better to make room for something new? And – one of the most important questions for me – where do the tomatoes go? “Unfortunately, they have to wait a little longer,” laughs Julia Goedicke. Actually now is the best time for sowing, only for all fruit vegetables it is still a bit early, it has to wait until after the ice saints in the middle of May. “And besides, it likes tomatoes in a pot much better anyway,” says Goedicke as she begins to work the garden with her shovel. On one side, berries are to be planted later, on the other herbs. Both are practical for the kitchen. “And then we brought you a raised bed – for salad,” says Goedicke with a smile.

The preparations always take the longest. But the better you work there, clean the bed and remove all the roots, the more beautiful it grows afterwards and you have less to do with annoying weeds, say the experts, “I would take out the Iberis here. It’s a bowflower, it looks nice, but it’s not very bee-friendly,” says Goedicke. This is important to the gardeners: pure ornamental plants such as geraniums are not even sold at Veg and the City. All plants should flower as long as possible and be insect-friendly. Like the kitchen clamp you brought with you, for example. This is later placed between the many herbs mainly for decoration, but at the same time bees like the flower very much. Lavender also blooms beautifully between the herbs – and also keeps pests away.

After cleaning the beds, Goedicke starts sorting the herbs. For me without any recognizable system. The expert explains: “Mint should better be placed in a pot, which otherwise displaces everything else. Coriander also belongs in the pot – because it is sensitive and does not tolerate too much sun. And don’t put parsley and chives next to each other, because the parsley doesn’t like the essential oils of chives. And as a rule of thumb: plant annual herbs, such as chives and dill, together, but separate from perennials, such as sage or rosemary. The flowers can also be processed from this,” explains Goedicke and stretches out a rosemary with violet flowers towards me. To syrup, for example. Or you simply sprinkle it over the salad. And the orange thyme, which exudes a fine citrus aroma, tastes incredibly good with pasta and olive oil.

So that everything has enough space, the trained landscape architect distributes the small pots on earth before planting. Before planting, she also loosens up the root balls so that they can grow well in the soil. Christine Strauss does the same with the berries. In the back the currants and blueberries, then the raspberries, in the front the rhubarb – and in between a strawberry every now and then. They will soon bear fruit and can be harvested in May and June. “And when the strawberries form runners, i.e. when a stalk makes a bow, disappears into the soil again and forms a new daughter plant there, one can simply cut the connection to the mother plant and the new plant can be harvested.

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