Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thoughts on Guerrilla Food Gardening

One of the big problems with living in an apartment is not having anyplace to plant a garden. A few pots of herbs and other small plants is better then nothing but is not going to produce anywhere near enough to feed a family.

While I really like the idea of permaculture it really does take some actual ground to really pull off a self-sustaining food source. Actually, Oma in East Germany pulled off something that could be called permaculture.

I recently came across Guerrilla Gardening. And while mostly they seem to be about planting flowers and ornamental stuff but only a little bit on vegetables. This is a good strong idea that we can adapt for survival production.

While planting flowers in the median isn't going to keep you alive, even if it is something like an edible nasturtium. There are ways we can leverage this for something good.

We are not going to be plopping a full-on garden in the middle of some park or forest and hope nobody finds it. Where we can get to, someone else can get to, too. Some places, like federal lands, may have other illegal growers already doing stuff. We have to think different.

Seed balls are a great way to get started. Using a little fertilizer, some native edible plant seeds and some clay you can make lots of marble sized seed balls. Now where can we drop them?

Suburban Colorado has a lot of Open Space and Nature Areas. These are often irregular block areas between neighborhoods to provide some buffer space. Most are just empty lots with a sign on it, that are over grown, though the edge will be mown to keep the sidewalks clear and the chance of wildfire down.

Most are full of native prairie grass, which is fine, but even if we use native edible plants they would be out competed by the grass, especially since it is usually so dry here. What we need is some water and shade.

I have noticed a few open spaces that have some trees always are by a creek that runs through them. This is a very good thing. The creek may only be seasonal but with the shade and mulch from the trees it should be okay. The land around a creek is uneven so it is unlikely to be mown.

There is often plenty of trash around blown in by the wind, so people will be coming through cleaning up a few times a year. So expect it to be discovered, so hide it in plain sight and since seeds are cheap spread them out over a large area so there is something left somewhere.

This is not the kind of thing you'll want to visit often, it'll have to take care of itself. To not call attention to yourself you'll want to look like what people would expect, a hiker or birder. A daypack, binoculars and a camera would be expected. A bag for trash would be good too, leaving a place better then you found it is always a good thing.