Guerrilla Gardening 101

Being truly free is not having to depend on anyone for anything. If you aren’t working towards being self-sustainable then you’re reliant on a broken system. What happens if the house of cards collapses and the system comes crashing down? Well then you’ll find out just how truly self sufficient you aren’t. I don’t want to get to into the politics of it too much because we all know the direction this country is heading. So now that my rants out of the way let’s get started…

I’ve been planning a somewhat mobile ‘bug out’ plan in case of a zombie apocalypse type scenario. Much of this plan centers around a guerrilla gardening expedition I’ve embarked on. I do not care about city beautification or urban renewal, this is all about edibles. Here are some things I’ve learned in my travels.

1. Perennials, Perennials, Perennials
Plant things that once established will come back year after year without you having to do anything. Think trees, shrubs and certain root crops. Your typical tomato and pepper plants are NOT good choices for guerrilla plantings, sure in the garden they may come back via volunteers next years, but on random plots of land where they will compete with other plants you need something hardier.

2. Go native
Search out native edibles that you enjoy. There are more than you might think. Native plants will suffer far fewer disease and pest problems, on a guerrilla plot you may not have the time to come back to constantly monitor for or treat these issues. A few examples include, blueberry, persimmons & hazelnut.

3. Plant in areas you frequent
One strategy I’ve employed is to plant near some of my secret fishing holes. This way I’m assured that I will be in the area of my plantings at least a few times a year to check up on them. If you have to travel far to your area you’ll be less likely to tend to any issues that may come up.

4. Avoid Seed Balls
There’s a lot of hype on the internet behind seed balls or seed bombs. Well that’s all it is. If you have to create a seed ball for an area that is so off limits and hard to access that you must drop a ball of seeds and run, what in the world makes you think you’ll ever have to time to tend or harvest those crops. These things are great if your trying to teach kids to be eco friendly, or want to spread some flower seeds in an urban setting. But for growing food their fun factor is much bigger than their true utility.

5. Learn the local wildlife
In my area deer will decimate any shrub level crops in most forest settings. You probably have deer or other wildlife that may do the same. If you must plant in these areas you are going to want to cage things up or protect them in some manner until they are established.

6. Be involved
A few of my plantings I had permission to plant there just because I’m involved with local nature preserves and land trusts. At one I was told to “experiment”. So that gives me hundreds of acres of land on which I can plant whatever. Volunteer at a local land trust or park. You will quickly find like minded people or if nothing else, niche areas where you can plant your crops. The only downside to these types of locations is they usually get high traffic from people hiking/dog walking/horseback riding etc. So your crops will not be only your own.

7. Make a Guerrilla Gardening bag
You will need supplies when you plant crops, think of things that will enable you to plant and then be out of the area as quickly as possible. You may have to clear brush, dig holes, cut/saw things etc etc. I have a list at the end of this post of some of the things in my bag.

8. Plant near water
This one can be a double edged sword, near water you will generally have more people and wildlife around however, having to carry in water for plants during a dry spell is no fun. This is another reason I stress perennials, once a tree or shrub get’s past its first year, it will be MUCH more forgiving about a lack of watering than a cucumber or tomato plant would be. Nonetheless if there is drought you will want to make sure your valuable crops make it, planting near water helps to make this easier.

9. Use a map
Everyone’s situation or locale is a little different but one thing I did was took a map and drew a circle around where I live. I looked for locations at the edge of the circle all around me to plant my little gardens of eden. Now no matter what direction I head in I am not far from food. If you use something like google maps you can use it to search for nearby bodies of water or parks.

10. Know your plants
Different plants require different growing conditions. Learn which ones require full sun to fruit and which ones will fruit in the shade. There are many that will grow in the shade but won’t set fruit in it. Some can’t stand constantly wet soil. Do some research before just putting seeds into the ground. Don’t be afraid to experiment however, it’s the best way to learn.

Guerrilla Gardening Bag
Hori HoriEveryone who gardens NEEDS this tool, it’s awesome.
• Zip Ties
• Jute/Twine
• Hand Saw
• Heavy Duty Scissors
• A multitool/leatherman
• Gloves
• Seeds
• Water container
• Small Rubber Mallet
• The backpack itself

I think that about sums it up. It’s winter now so my bag is taken apart for other uses but if I remember other things I will add them.

One Response to “Guerrilla Gardening 101”

  1. thanx kookster, that was not only fun, but educational too…great post!

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