Growing Over 200 Varieties of Vegetables and Fruit in Slovenia

Meet Iva from Novo mesto, Slovenia 🇸🇮

“I’m a simple person, with a clear vision of what I want in my life. I’m honest and accessible and always ready to help.

We used to live in an apartment and never had a garden, but my love for nature was always strong. That love guided me in my educational path, so I attended the Horticultural College in Ljubljana. After moving to the suburbs, I started my first garden and never looked back.

I want to teach my two sons where real food comes from. We eat seasonally and rarely ever buy veggies at the store. Nothing beats freshly picked organic produce from the garden. It also gives me the opportunity to grow many local and heirloom varieties.

I’m from Novo mesto, Slovenia, and I garden in zone 6b/7a. Our property is quite small and my gardening space is limited to 30 square meter plus 15 square meter of polytunnel space, where we grow food year round. I also make use of the tight space by growing fruit trees and bushes scattered all around the edges of our property. I want to grow a more versatile garden with as many varieties as possible but simply don’t have the space to do that.

I love to experiment, so you’ll find many unusual veggies in my garden. I grow around 200 different vegetable types each year and have more than 40 fruit bushes and trees. My biggest passion however, is growing and breeding tomatoes. I‘ve grown well over 1000 varieties to date and have released 3 tomato varieties of my own (Iva’s Red Berry being most popular) with many more to come.

I’ve always grown organically, but upgrading that and switching to no dig gardening two years ago has made a huge difference in the way I garden. Nurturing the soil with compost means no more digging, less watering and virtually no weeds. I love interplanting crops and adding flowers to my garden, as it mimics nature and helps with pest prevention. When pests do appear, I use bug netting or hand pick the bugs from plants.

I love watching my family enjoy the fresh organically grown food straight from the garden. Gardening also grounds me and keeps me sane. It is my wish to once own a larger piece of land to be able to grow more food for my family and live a simpler life, closer to nature.

I connect with other gardeners in seed and plants swaps and always like to share my extra produce with others. I’ve been gardening for almost 20 years, so I started my Instagram account  to connect with the gardening community and share my experience and knowledge through gardening tips, with the hope to inspire beginners.

No matter how tiny your space is, just sow some seeds and grow something. With each failure comes valuable experience and eventually success.”