When we first moved here, I was delighted to find small gardening plots dotted within the city of Munich. From what I could tell, the were very small, maybe 20' x 20', plots of land that looked like they were used as weekenders for people who probably lived in apartments in the busy city of Munich.
Each little garden had a small wooden house on it. (The wooden house would be considered the size of a garden shed in America. ) I'm sure it stored all of the rakes, hoes, and gardening equipment. There were small fences around each tiny plot of land and all of the plots were enclosed in a gated-community, of sorts.
I've done a little research since first moving here and I've learned that they are called Kleingartens (small gardens) and they appear in clusters at various locations in the suburbs and further out from the city. We have seen them near the grounds of the Nymphenburger Palace and along train tracks near the Ammersee. They crop up in the most unlikely locations.
They cost $12,000 euros each to lease, at the start, and then they have ongoing fees of less than $500 euros a year. Not cheap, by a far shot, and as far as I can tell, they are maintained with extreme care. Some have tidy rows of such vegetables as cucumbers, lettuce, radishes, beans, and tomatoes. Some are totally filled different varieties of plants and seasonal flowers. But all are nicely cared for and look to be well-tended.
All of these gardens are part of an association and each association has different rules for what is allowed or not allowed. It is quite common for the association to require that at least 50% of the land be used for planting. They are not allowed to have BBQ's or other parties in their Parzelle (parcel?). That rule must apply to some, but not to all because on my last bike ride I saw a tent on one plot and loud music was blaring out of it from a boom box. So much for peace and serentiy in your Kleingarten--at least that one!
Supposedly, there is an extremely long waiting list, so long that an expat will most likey return home before their name comes up.
I think it is a lovely answer to tight, cramped city living. It allows those so inclined an opportunity to do something other than container gardening in their apartment or on their balcony. It gives them access to fresh air and a chance to practice using their green thumbs.
They are quaint, unobtrusive, and I suspect since they are hard to come by, very envied. Likewise, in today's economy, they most likely provide fresh produce at a less than market price. How could you go wrong?