Saturday, March 27, 2010

Guerrilla Gardening

According to wikipedia, guerrilla gardening is a political act, a form of direct action related to land rights and land reform. For the record, I intend nothing of the sort. Around the corner from my house is a vacant lot that's been vacant a long time. I want to grow things. I heard the owner is a European man who once begrudgingly gave the stamp of approval to gorillas he discovered gardening on his land (according to the storyteller, the man said he couldn't stop poor people from growing food, "must be a European thing"). Rather than ask and get no for an answer, I wound my way back through the broom and hacked out a clearing.

(photo courtesy of

I tore up 30 square feet of sod and planted broccoli, cilantro, beets, carrots, radishes, and chard. I used cut grass as mulch around the base of the starts, and covered the whole bed with a sheet of Reemay to keep the cats from digging around and the seeds from washing away. I also cleared the turf around the base of some broom and planted peas, to see if they will grow up it like a trellis. I did not amend the soil, so we'll see.

In the bed, I mixed in a wheelbarrow's worth of compost and a sprinkling of fertilizer. It's chemical fertilizer, but not too much (Steve Solomon approves) and I figured it would be helpful to jump start the plants until I can build up the soil further. I mounded it up and raked it level. The broccoli was a little root bound, but I tore the seedlings apart and they were only root bound on one side, so we'll see how they grow; supposedly root bound brassicas tend to remain stunted.

The garden was planted March 22.

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