The Dacha Phenomenon. A close encounter.

A hobby, a survival tool, a defining feature of the local lifestyle from early Brezhnev days till very recent times – that’s the niche occupied by dacha. In my mind however dacha was always associated with a climate more moderate than what we have here on Kola. On Friday we were treated to a trip to one 20km south from Kandalaksha, which was our first exposure to the local northern incarnation of the concept. A big surprise of how much of everything can grow on less than 600 sq. meters minus the house here, above the 66 degree latitude. Below are a few photos showing how much can grow above the arctic circle, on the grounds reclaimed from a sand pit:

That’s how it started. Back in 1968 railroad workers were given free plots of land in a sandpit. Soil was stolen from the field of the nearby collective farm.

And that how it looks now:

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This is Valentina, the owner of the dacha, displaying a long cucumer, one of many fruits and vegetables her dacha produces.

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A view from the hill onto the dacha community.

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A cherry tree. If covered for winter it is able to survive this far north.

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A shadberry tree. It doesn’t even need to be covered for the winter.

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That’s what we were given to take home.

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