Urban gardens regain popularity in Latvia

In Rīga and elsewhere in Latvia, urban gardens or 'mazdārziņi' ('small gardens') are again in fashion, regaining their popularity after a few decades of lying low. Queues are forming after the free municipal plots, Latvian Television reported on June 5.

Edīte, who has a garden in the city of Salaspils, was met by Latvian Television on a workday afternoon watering her peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers in the greenhouse.

"Oh, what's not growing here! Starting with garlic, strawberries... The onions are sprouting. We've got cabbage wilting because it's not raining. “here are potatoes, beets, carrots, beans," she listed.

Edīte explained that she needed a garden because she couldn't rest when she lived in the city in four walls. "This is my fitness, this is my nature, this is my entertainment, my hobby, and what grows, feeds the family," she said.

Like many of the other Salaspilians, Edīte doesn't own her garden, but she rents the plot from the municipality.

Dace Braunere, representative of the Salaspils municipality council, said: "We have 24 garden areas in the Salaspils municipality area. That's quite a lot, and demand is very high, too. For each area, there are lines. The person submits an application to the local government. In the submission, they note three areas where they would like to rent a plot. In the first area where a plot is vacated, this is what we offer." The contract is concluded for a period of five years.

Braunere added:

“The trend is that younger people are very keen to rent gardens. The argument is that they want to show their children how to grow vegetables and teach children about nature.”

There is also a high demand in Rīga for garden rent. The municipality has several thousand plots but there are still queues.

Riga City Council spokeswoman Solvita Brence-Kauste commented: "This morning I was looking at the homepage of the Department of Property, where this information is regularly updated. There are no open plots right now. That information is updated regularly, at least six times this year. But there are a number of applications for each of the free plots within two or three days."

The contract shall be signed for a period of three or five years. Rents are also very low per year, for example, EUR 2.50. In addition, waste management costs around €25.

“User profile statistics – two-thirds of the tenants are between 20 and 50 years old and one-third are those over 50 years old,” said Brence-Krauste.

Also in Rīga, increasingly younger people choose to rent gardens. The most demanded area is Lucavsala.

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