Communal garden in Tartu to receive five-hectare expansion

The Tartu Maheaed communal garden.
The Tartu Maheaed communal garden. Source: ERR

The first signs of spring brought out peoples' desire to get their hands dirty with gardening and Tartu Mahead is currently dealing with booking out plots in the communal garden with the popular intiative to be extended by five hectares this year.

Even with the soil still being frozen, hobby gardeners are already looking at their plots in the communal garden in Annelinn, Tartu, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Tuesday.

Thanks to a five-hectare extension project in the near future, there will be plenty new plots for people to book, after which Tartu Maheaed will host a total eight-hectare communal garden, the largest in Estonia.

"They are joining all the time right now, one a day or every other day and it is correct. Right now, you can join through the homepage (link in Estonian only). The land is level here now, the next step is digging trenches and milling the ground. Once that is done, we will distribute the specific plots to people," said Avo Rosenvald, head of Tartu Maheaed.

All plots of the current communal garden are booked and there are 50 more bookings for the five-hectare extension project already made. Rosenvald considers the boom in membership a positive effect of the coronavirus crisis. Rosenvald is worried however about parking, as there are only a few dozen parking places at the garden to accomodate for the few hundred potential gardeners.

Tartu deputy mayor Reno Laidre said: "Although we could expect everyone to be green and come on foot or by bicycle, then in reality many use their vehicle to come. A precalculation last week showed that to create the demanded parking spots, the cost would be €75,000. We do not have such money in our budget and are looking for a solution."

There are other similar communal gardens scattered across Tartu, but the two largest are the aforementioned Maheaed and gardens in the Jaamamõisa district, also known as the Chinatown district.

Tiia, a gardener, showed up exactly as "Aktuaalne kaamera" cameras were rolling on the communal garden in Jaamamõisa. "For as long as I did not have this garden plot, I thought to myself that I would like a small country spot, a small house. But once I received this plot, I thought I have it all: the comfort of the city and land, which is like the countryside. I no longer dream of the countryside," Tiia said.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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