Dyrk means ‘to cultivate’ or ‘cultivation’ in Danish. If you are gardening or growing plants, you would use the word dyrk in one conjugation or another. When I hear the word dyrk, I think about getting dirt under my fingernails, tomato plants, and worm bins. This is not too far away from the reality at Dyrk Nørrebro.

A group of three engaged Copenhageners, Katrine, Anders, and Christian, started Dyrk Nørrebro in April of this year out of a desire to create and encourage more urban gardening in the city. That and they wanted to grow some food to eat. The group has now expanded to eleven or so volunteers that garden each week on the roof of Blågards Skole.

That’s right. Dyrk is not just any community garden. It’s a garden of raised beds, or high beds, on the roof of a school building, in the heart of Copenhagen’s Nørrebro neighborhood. This beautiful oasis is right down the street from the Mythological Quarter.

The Dyrk team received funding from the municipality to start this urban gardening project. Part of their proposal included creating satellite urban gardening projects around Copenhagen. They have created several satellites since the beginning of 2011’s growing season, but devoted most of their energy to getting the main location functioning well.

It is functioning very well, despite the rainy summer weather here in Copenhagen. The group has a compost system, a beehive and a rooftop covered in edible and non-edible plants. I was especially excited about the innovation in various methods of container gardening. The main beds are made from scavenged pallets toped with collapsible wooden frames filled with soil. Then things get crazy.

Burlap bags, old milk cartons, milk crates, wooden crates on stilts, and army helmets are all being used to grow plants in the Dyrk rooftop garden.

‘Peace and Potatoes’ is written on the side of this rusty helmet.

Today, was our first visit to the garden. Dyrk was hosting a Sunday afternoon Kartoffel Cafe, or Potato Cafe with food from the garden and tours of the plants. Several people were there working at weeding, watering, and general maintenance.

We were kicking ourselves that this was just down the street from our house and we were visiting for the first time at the end of the summer. But despite the delay, we had inspiring conversations with the Dyrk-ers about, among other things, the best ways to create compost in your home and how to protect your cabbage from pests.

After suffering an attack of cabbage eating pests, the team plucked all the damaged leaves and laid down squares of cardboard and roofing shingles to block the bugs from crawling back up the stems and re-infesting the produce. A quick fix, that apparently works.

We will be heading back to Dyrk next Sunday. After talking with the volunteers there today, we are planning to help out with growing and work to develop some projects that coincide with their vision. Projects like urban wildlife habitat for birds and bats that can be beneficial to the larger garden and maybe a soil-based rain water filtration system for watering the plants. Dryk Nørrebro will be making more appearances here on the Mythological Quarter.

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