Saturday, March 7, 2009

Guerilla Gardening

What is guerilla gardening?
Wikipedia defines it as:
"...political gardening, a form of nonviolent direct action, primarily practiced by environmentalists. It is related to land rights, land reform, and permaculture. Activists take over ("squat") an abandoned piece of land which they do not own to grow crops or plants. Guerrilla gardeners believe in re-considering land ownership in order to reclaim land from perceived neglect or misuse and assign a new purpose to it."

Basically, there is a lot of public space going to waste. Even small squares of earth can grow things. Guerilla gardeners take action to make use of this land by growing food and/or flower gardens. Even if you just plant some wildflowers along a strip of land by the sidewalk, you are providing beauty and food for wildlife. Plant crops and you can provide food for people. One group grew lavendar and then harvested and sold it, using the money for their cause.
Personally, I think it's a wonderful movement!

Where can you guerilla garden? Anywhere there is a bit of unused land! You can grow things anywhere, from vacant lots to squares of grass along city walks. If you can organize a group, you can coordinate a planting, where you go to your intended space and plant the lot. Since this is not strictly legal, many groups will do so at night. If your city is more green-minded, try asking permission to plant on any vacant land.
If you don't have a group, you can still act on your own. For places you need to hit in a hurry, or that are inaccessible, such as behind a fence, seed bombs are a great solution. Seed bombs work best with drought tolerant natives that will not need tending. Try a mix of self seeding annuals and perennials. Seed bombs are fun to make. Simply mix clay, water and seeds into balls and let them dry. When it rains, they will melt and the seeds will germinate. Most people make pretty small seed bombs, so you can hit a lot of places. The ones I have for sale are pretty large, and have a variety of seeds in them, so you might want to use one per location. In mine I put:
Orange Cosmos
Black eyed susans
Tickseed Coreopsis
Shasta Daisy
Daisy Fleabane
This mix will provide beauty and food for birds, bees and butterflies. It has self seeding annuals and perennials. If you make your own, you can vary them to the location and what you have available. I think these would be a fun wedding favor as well. Just attach a little note with instructions, or perhaps a poem. :)

This year I'm going to take before and after pictures of a location I intend to seed. I'll post a follow up then!

The Guerilla Gardening Home Page

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