Estimates suggest that sixty to eighty percent of potatoes and vegetables grown in Ukraine are grown in private gardens/yards.

This small-scale localised farming means that millions of Ukrainians take to the land to plant their crops at the end of April and the beginning of May (during the Maiski-holiday). They sow potatoes, dill (Ukrainians favourite herb), beetroot, carrot and many other leafy treats.

Man and wife working the land in Irpin.

In Irpin, a small town on the outskirts of Kyiv, the gardeners were of respectable age. With a pension of just 80 euros per month they heavily depend on the food grown in their own back yard.

However for many of them it is a pleasure to work on the fields. “We have it in our blood”, says a 73-year old man from Irpin. “Before the Russian revolution in 1917 over ninety percent of the population were farmers.”

May Day gardening: