Thoughts and notes
The growing in the greenhouse started in 2013 and got bigger in scale in 2014 with its growing boxes. The first plants grown were some basics, like tomatoes, pumpkins and other easily grown and harvested plants. Some flowers and maybe carrots and potatoes. But as the growing continued and when there started to be some kind of continuation with people who would be part of the group for longer, it started to seem like the interest in growing was not only about the harvest and crops but also about having a change to dig your hands in soil and relax.
The yearly planning starts usually in the spring when the growing group gets together or starts throwing out and sharing ideas on what would everyone like to plant. Some grow seedlings at home and sometimes, if there’s been less time we might get some seedlings from friends or buy them from a local gardener to get a good start for the year. (Growing season can be short in Helsinki.) When the group is planning and choosing the species what they will grow, there can be an idea behind that it follows, but usually it ends up being a mix of interests varying from edible, pretty (shapes and sizes), insect or soil friendly plants to pigments or other art project related things. No-one in the group is professional in gardening and that brings along a possibility and some kind of freedom to be more experimental with what and how things are grown. There is a change just to try and see what happens which often results after few months in a waterfall of plants growing in all directions and ways, climbing on top of each other.
When rethinking the aim of gardening or growing, it opens up other layers that can come to be visible and different ways to explore the relationship that we have with plants. And there might be also other kinds of needs that plants and growing them can fulfil. By opening up the way we operate gives also space and time to think about the plants and their way of doing things, and there is also room to follow what the plants are and can be in multiple ways. Our relationship with plants are often based on controlling and organising, but by looking at the way plants are and grow, how they communicate and work together is quite complex and interesting. And on top of that it's also quite interesting to think what happens when we do art events in this kind of environment. How the music, light, people and other vibrations, scents and vibes are being sensed and what is being picked up and maybe responded to?
When we are working together around these themes it allows us to share ideas, responsibilities and get excited together. But also to share and get support in situations when plants are being cut, crops stolen or something else has happened. It all adds to the experience of growing.
But as the greenhouse, the growing group and the ideas what happens in the greenhouse, are always evolving and the events around it are too. Every year is different and the group is also open for new people to join. When there are free spots, we do a public shout out or open call to get in contact with people and through that new minds to join this communal project.