Weekly on Tuesday and Thursday, for two hours our gardening volunteers will be present to guide interns at Mediamatic to take care of our wide variety of plants. Some plants require a little more care than others, depending on how strong the plant is or how many were planted in the box.
The boxes we mention - or growbeds - are wooden boxes all around the Mediamatic Biotoop. They're found on the terrace, in between our Serre Separèes, on the sidewalk along the street and behind the Sluisdeurenloods. Some of these boxes are part of a project called Casting Doubt, which is an art project created by Masha Ru and Jasmin Moeller. The open-air project consists of a series of growbeds, each with a self-reflective question on the side, formed by pins. By answering the questions, the visitor can find out what type of artist they would have been.
Communal Gardening is always guided by one of our two volunteers, Anke and Mieke. They will be present to share their knowledge with the interns and to share what has to be taken care of that day. Sometimes it's weeding, sometimes you'll water the plants and sometimes you will plant new seeds. It depends on the season and the weather.
During summer or spring for example, we're mostly busy watering, removing dead leaves or plants, trimming some plants and removing unwanted plants. They grow very quickly during this time of year and the plants themselves need quite some care. Whatever plants, branches or leaves we take out will be taken to our compost bin.
In autumn or winter, dead plants are removed, some plants will be moved inside to protect them from the cold and a mulch layer will be put in the boxes. This layer, consisting of leaves, stems, wood and more will be used as winter protection. And when it's possible again, new seeds will be sown in the boxes to grow beautiful new plants for the next year
All growbeds have our so called Hortus Signs, on which you can see what plant is growing - or supposed to grow - in that box. Some boxes have one plant, some have three or more. Each sign also tells you the plant's properties; what positive or negative effect could the plant have or what part of the body does it effect? The explaination for the icons is displayed on the windows of our Aquaponics.
Communal Gardening is many interns' favorite moment of the week. They say it has a positive effect on their mental health and productivity. You can leave the office for two hours and clear your mind. It's a fun time where interns come together and strengthen their bond, while also keeping the Mediamatic premises clean and taken care of. The interns talk about their week, good and bad things they've experienced and gain knowledge on taking care of plants. It's a time to have fun and be free.
Most of the plants we're taking care of are being used in the Restaurant. We grow plants like bell pepper, daylily, koriander, lavender, mint and many more. The kitchen team will pick the fruits and vegetables every now and then and, when possible, you might take something home yourself!
After the Communal Gardening, usually everyone will enjoy a nice tea break together. The interns talk some more, drink their tea or coffee and sometimes some cookies will be present as a reward for all the hard work. And it's the time for some well-deserved rest.