Wooden Shoes and My First Vegetable Garden

A Few Words on Klompen

Visit Netherlands and you will definitely see them everywhere: wooden shoes sold as souvenirs. Coming in all shapes, sizes and colors, the wooden shoes have a long and interesting history, and were definitely not intended to be used as decorations.

Klompen date back all the way to the Middle Ages. The oldest wooden shoe, from the year 1230, was found in Netherlands, on Nieuwendijk, a historic street in Amsterdam.

DSC_5982Originally, shoes were out of reach for common people, and were worn only by the rich, as leather was very expensive. Still, the fancy leather shoes, were no match for the wet dirt found in the Dutch climate, so farmers came up with a one piece, cheap alternative shoe, made out of wood, which gained in popularity, starting with the beginning of the 16th century. Most proud Klompen owners, would have two pairs, one simple, which they would wear at work, and another pair, painted and nicely decorated, for special events.

Worn for over 800 years, we can say Klompen are shoes with pedigree!

Because wooden shoes are safer than any other type of shoe, protecting the feet against sharp objects and concentrated acids, Dutch farmers wear them up to this day, in the garden, or on the field.

My First Vegetable Garden Story

Living in a city for pretty much all my life, I have to start with saying: I don’t know anything about gardening, planting, seeds or caring for any type of vegetable, as I’ve never had the chance to do this before. Even so, I’m always willing to learn something new. As I always come up with crazy projects ideas, about 2 weeks ago I’ve decided to become a ‘farmer’, and start my first mini-garden.

After a lot of online research, I went to the local gardening store, got some seeds, a pair of Klompen (as you can’t be a real farmer without wooden shoes, right?) a lot of courage, and 4 pairs of socks later, I got down to business.

On paper, going from full city girl, to farmer girl looked easy, but I had no idea how hard it will be to get the soil ready for sowing. After I got some tips on how to do it, I realized seeds need a very airy, light soil in order to grow nicely, so it’s not enough to scratch the surface with the shovel, but you have to be serious about it.

my first vegetable garden

Getting the soil ready, the sowing of seeds and the containers

About 3 days later, a lot of muscle pain, and with a huge smile on my face, I was done! The soil was in the containers, the seeds were planted, and the waiting game began. In total, I planted 8 cherry tomato seeds, 5 cucumber seeds, 9 strawberry seeds, 9 carrot seeds, 15 radish seeds, 15 green onion seeds, 6 broccoli seeds, 18 wild arugula seeds, 6 lettuce seeds and 12 onions seeds. Not that bad for a beginner, I would say!

Even if this happened only 3 days ago, I still look out the window a few times per day, to make sure no tomatoes are already ripe and waiting for me to jump outside with my salad bowl, and greet them 🙂

Enjoying a job well done!

Enjoying a job well done!

After proudly wearing my Klompen in the garden, I don’t even know how I managed to live without them, so far. No other shoe is more comfortable (but with 4 pairs of socks, how can they not be, and no, don’t even think about wearing them without socks, or you will redefine the term of ‘pain’ 🙂 ) and more appropriate for muddy soil. They don’t sink and don’t get damaged, so what else could you ask from a shoe? Besides, they make very cute sounds when walking on the pavement. Actually, the first time I heard a farmer wearing them, I was pretty sure a miniature horse was following me around the supermarket.

All in all, my reason to start the garden is very simple: I love to cook, and I put a lot of love into it, as I like to see the person eating my food, very very happy. So, if I can cook with love, why not grow some vegetables with just as much love? They must taste much better (or at least that’s the plan)!

If no rabbit, deer, bird, mouse or mole get to my plants before I do (relying on beginner’s luck I guess 🙂 ), soon enough I should see some pretty plants growing in the garden. Keep your fingers crossed for me!


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83 thoughts on “Wooden Shoes and My First Vegetable Garden

    • Thank you, Jet! Hahaha, that’s exactly how I look at it. Besides, this experience made me appreciate our farmers so much more. it’s a lot of hard work, for food to reach our tables. Not taking it for granted, not even remotely! Thank you for reading. Have a great evening! x

      Liked by 2 people

  1. It is an incredible thrill to see the first shoots, and then to tend them to maturity. When they give you something to put in your mouth, it is nirvana. If all of your plants come to fruition, you will have plenty to share! ;->

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, I hope to harvest at least a few. With so many bunnies, deer and other rodents around, there isn’t a lot of hope, but it’s worth to try 🙂 I’m sure what you described it’s about right, about tasting your first few veggies. Looking forward to it!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Ah Lucy, a little sniff of my home country, in America from Romania…the world is a village indeed. Great project on your gardening, we will follow with interest…especially since I will not garden much this year because of a lot traveling. And you did right in wearing 4 pairs of socks…often people would put a good amount of hay in it as well. And speaking a true modernn Dutch girl…I never had them;0) xo Johanna

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow, snow again? Winter doesn’t want to go away by the looks of it. I live in Netherlands, so here the climate is pretty mild, when it comes to winter. We don’t get a lot of snow, but mostly rain. It was warmer and warmer later, in some days even around 20 degrees. I hope spring will arrive soon in your area. I’m sure you must miss it. Thank you for stopping by! Have a great evening!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never tried wooden shoes, but I’ve seen them so many times in Holland 😉 I thought they would be pretty uncomfortable. But hearing you praising them.. I may give it a go next time. Gardening is fun. I was very lucky to learn from my grand father 🙂 But I’m sure I ‘ll need to make some research as well to refresh my memories the day I’ll start a real garden 🙂 You will, it will taste so good !!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for encouraging me, Gin! I also hope so 🙂
      You definitely have to try them on! With 4 pairs of socks, what do you think? Hahaha, sure they are comfortable! I have a very good friend, who tried them on without the 4 pairs, and she was in a lot of pain, getting blisters and all. But the trick works, and you get first class treatment for your feet, while in the garden! Works for me!
      You are very lucky to have had someone to teach you about gardening. I don’t know anyone outside Bucharest, so it was very hard, growing up, to imagine how certain animals look like, or where vegetables grow 🙂 But I’m learning now, slowly. Many hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! I sure hope so!
      I hope you found out some new things from the post. Wooden shoes are quite fascinating. I love to see people still wearing them. Cheaper and they last much longer than any other type of shoe.
      Have a great evening!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I LOVE this! The fact that you’ve planted your own garden is actually an example many should follow!
    With the shitty food in supermarkets these days, the only food you can truly rely on and know it is really healthy are the one(s) you make/plant yourself.
    I am also a happy little gardener, hoping to own a big veggie garden someday 🙂
    I know it’s extremely tiring, but the satisfaction when you’ll be collecting your own vegetables is priceless in my opinion 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for your kind words! I feel the same way about starting it. We’ll eat healthier, and besides, I’m always happy to see something I plant, grow into something beautiful. Not sure if I’ll succeed or not, but it doesn’t hurt to try. There’s no time limit, right? 🙂
      I hope you will get your dream come true. As you said, it’s a priceless experience! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • I have another friend who tried this, and it was very painful. With the extra pairs of socks, they are just perfect. Sorry you had such a bad experience with them.
      If you have family here, maybe you can visit again and give it another try 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hah, yes, unfortunately there’s no other way. Another blogger told me you can also use hay. I had no idea bout that 🙂 They are definitely special!
      I also believe it’s something wonderful in working in the garden, and getting some vegetable which I planted with my own hands. I hope they will work!
      Thank you for stopping by! Have a lovely day, Francis!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Takami! I’m happy to know you enjoyed it. The shoes are the best part of all of this, so far 🙂 Looking forward to seeing some veggies grow. Have a lovely day! x

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by, Sarah! I am also very impatience, but it won’t happen over night, so I have to wait. I’m sure it must be a great feeling to harvest something I planted. I hope all the work will pay off!
      Have a lovely day! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much! I hope to see something grow soon. I’m very excited about it. What do you plan to plant this year? Quite rewarding to do it yourself, isn’t it? 🙂
      I’m happy to know you enjoyed the klompen. I absolutely love them! Very useful indeed, and also good looking (at least for now haha).
      Have a lovely day!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my!! Lucy, you do have klompen and wear it when gardening! Wow, I am impressed! I live here but I don’t have klompen. Many Dutch do use klompen when gardening. Nowadays in the Netherlands also available klompen made from soft stuff as slipper for indoor purposes…

    Wishing you the best with gardening!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Indah! In the north of NL, most farmers use them everyday. They even go to the supermarket wearing them, so I just had to try. It’s very fun and comfortable to walk around the garden with my klompen. I got last year, from my friend, as a gift, some soft ones, for indoor. They are quite funny and very warm 🙂 Have a lovely day and thank you so much for stopping by! x

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Amy! I’m very happy to hear you enjoyed the post 🙂 I love the shoes, and also the feeling a vegetable garden gives me. Looking forward to some veggies. Have a great day!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Fun fact for you Lucy: Klompen in Norwegian is called Klomper. We definitely must have gotten that word from the dutch!

    Looking forward to see how your vegetable garden is coming along. We used to have tomatoes and cucumber when I grew up – in my experience you might need to be a bit more patient than 3 days for tomatoes to ripen;) hehe…

    Have a great weekend caring for your veggies!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for the Norwegian word! I had no idea they are so similar. For sure there’s a name derived from Dutch. However, in the north of NL, and in other countries around it, I understand there’s a dialect spoken (Nedersaksisch – West low German), which uses words from NL, Denmark, Germany. I suppose this is how the word made its way all the way to Norway 🙂 Please do correct me if I’m wrong.
      Regardless of the origin, Klompen are very nice! I am so happy and proud to wear mine when gardening 🙂
      Haha, you put an end to my dreams of having ripe tomatoes the next day. Not much going on yet, but I’ll be patient. Eventually, we’ll have some plants growing, and hopefully, vegetables as well 😀
      Have a lovely day and thank you so much for reading!

      Liked by 2 people

      • That definitely makes sense. Norway was ruled by Denmark for over 400 years (1380-1814) so we have a lot in common with the Danish language. I also discussed ‘clumpier’ with my husband. He is from a different part of Norway than me and he says they don’t use the word like I would. So there might be differences within the Norwegian dialects as well.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you so much for the information! Very much appreciated. So it looks like it might be right. Fascinating how the country borders we set are no match for the desire of people to get along with their neighbors. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Oh, what an exciting post! You have a garden! Hooray! And your shoes….well, I think they are the prettiest things I have ever seen. I LOVE THEM! Everygood wish to the most stylish gardener the Netherlands have ever seen! And good luck with the planting and germinating> You will soon learn how to tend and cosset your seeds and may decide next year to start some of your seeds off inside so that they get a good start. But I think you garden will be sprinkled with magic. How could it fail when you bring so much joy to its creation?
    Love and happiness to you dear Lucy. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you dear Karen! Your comment really made me smile! ❤ I definitely love my shoes. I'm very proud to wear them. So much fun 😀
      No sign of any plant yet, but I'm looking forward to it. I hope they will grow nicely, soon.
      Did you finished the sowing already? I hope you had time to do it.
      Lots of love and hugs to you! xo Have a beautify weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. When we lived in Los Angeles, we had planted tomatoes and gated them off so our Scottish Terrier couldn’t get into the area. Somehow he managed to climb over the fencing and eat all the ripe tomatoes that summer. We still don’t know how he did it! They have very short legs!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Vegetarian dog huh? That’s a very funny story, Anne! I understand that can be frustrating, considering how much work goes into a garden. Still, they are quite cute, so you can’t be bad at them 🙂
      With all the animals waiting in the area to eat some fresh veggies, I might also have a hard time keeping them safe until harvest, but I’m willing to give it a try 🙂
      Have a lovely weekend and thank you so much for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Sue! I’m glad you found out something new through my post. It was a lot of work to get it started, that’s for sure, but I’m looking forward to the results 🙂 Have a lovely day!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Adrian! It’s great to see you enjoyed it. Your posts are very interesting. Looking forward to reading more. Have a great day!

      Like

  9. At the outset I must congratulate you for taking up this initiative of garden, it is such a lovely cause to take care of nature and also give our mind a break from the cacophony of our city life, indeed it is not a small initiative given the number of category of seeds you have chosen to plant. O! That was nice you keep peeping through the window, yes we are always very excited when we take up gardening, it is our plant and we want it to come out fast from the soil, I am sure it will come out well nourished and give the best possible vegetables to you…yes, this wooden shoe history is pretty fascinating and I had no clue, thanks so much for sharing such an interesting post…
    Looking forward to hearing the progress on the growth of the plants…you have implanted a nice idea in me…go gardening…
    😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for reading, my friend! I’m very happy to hear you found my post so interesting. I always aim to teach people something through what I write, so I’m always happy to know it worked.
      Starting a garden without much knowledge on gardening can be challenging. The hardest part is to physically keep at it. If my work pays off, in the end is all worth it. Looking forward to see them grow 🙂
      Have a lovely day and thank you for you kind words! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed, gardening keeps us meaningfully engaged and waiting for the seeds to grow…is worth a wait and the pleasure of seeing the flowers and fruits from the plants you have nurtured is a wonderful feeling.
        Looking forward to see thee post on the growth story…
        😀

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Gardening is like being in your own world with plants.Its a good practice for relaxing yourself away from the populated and polluted environment.

    Liked by 1 person

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