Article by: Nore-linn Movig
Wiet van Hoorn and Aleid Brederode can be found every Tuesday and Thursday working tirelessly on Wester-Amstel’s new kitchen garden. During their interview, their passion for gardening was practically bursting through the phone.
Below you can read about how this energetic gardening duo got started at Wester-Amstel, what a typical day looks like for them and how they’ve helped optimize our kitchen garden.
(Photo C. De Haan: Volunteers go down on their knees to elevate the kitchen garden)
Q. Would you like to introduce yourselves?
Aleid: I’m Aleid Brederode. I’ve been involved in the gardens at Wester-Amstel since January. My professional background is in landscaping and landscaping architecture. I’ve been gardening (as a hobby) for about 12 years now. Wiet and I started here together to create and develop the vegetable garden.
Wiet: I’m Wiet van Hoorn and I’ve been volunteering at Wester-Amstel since February. I completed a two-year part-time course in biodynamic agriculture, and I’ve done quite a few internships at horticultural companies. I have my own vegetable garden at home, but I think it’s special to be able to help set-up and maintain a new, ‘old’ vegetable garden at Wester-Amstel with Aleid.
Q. How did you end up at Wester-Amstel?
Aleid: My husband used to organize concerts here in the winter. He was brought in by Henk Blok and did this for a number of years, but the restructuring has brought that to a standstill. I came here via Els Hulsing.
Wiet: I worked at Land en Boschzigt for two years and I was looking for a new place in the neighborhood. I looked at several places in the spring, but nothing felt right. That’s when I found Wester-Amstel through the volunteer center. I fell in love immediately! In addition to setting up the vegetable garden, I also find W.A. to be very beautiful and inspiring.
Q. Did you two know each other prior to this?
Wiet: No. We got to know each other here and we hit it off immediately. We complement each other pretty well, in my opinion.
Q. How often do you come to work on the vegetable garden?
Aleid: Wiet is probably here twice a week. I live nearby, so I come here more or less daily. There’s always something to do. We sow a lot of seeds for the greenhouse, which means we have to check if things are going well every day, in relation to the sun.
Q. What are some of the things you do here?
Wiet: Well, today we’re going to plant the tomatoes. We grew them from seeds. They’ve been ready to plant for some time now; however, we were afraid to do so because there was still night frost. We also plant or pre-sow a lot, pick weeds, install support stakes for trees, and bind plants.
Aleid: In February, it was extremely wet and cold. This area was a semi-cultivated meadow with huge weeds. We laid out sections and then we got to work. First, we had to clean up the soil, because there were so many old plants and a lot of unharvested potatoes. We’ve decided to do alternative cultivation, which means you don’t always plant onions or potatoes in the same place. Instead, you plant different things like cabbage, leafy vegetables or other root vegetables.
Q. What’s your favorite place at Wester-Amstel, besides the vegetable garden?
Aleid: Quite frankly, we don't have a lot of extra time to explore the other areas. We usually go straight home after work. Strangely enough, it doesn’t happen very often… But when I do get the chance to go for a walk, I think it’s very beautiful here.
Wiet: I really like the sheep and the birds make me happy. There’s definitely enough to enjoy even before you start walking.