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Does Guerrilla Gardening Work?

One style of gardening, often called “Guerrilla Gardening” is to put out seeds on unused land and see what comes of it. Most guerrilla gardeners do very little tending of the plants and primarily hope that the seeds will grow food so that your main job is to come back at the right time to pick it.

Does this method work?

There is an excellently written article that was originally posted on www.SurvivalBlog.com which I’ve re-printed here below.  This kind of  experimentation and communication of results is invaluable information.  I sure wish I could contact Oregon Pat and give her a gift of my video set.  Read the article, it is good.

Later I’ll write about my opinions and experiences of guerrilla gardening.  If you are not on the mailing list, sign up now so you’ll be the first to know when this topic comes up again. !

Here is the article – enjoy!

 

Our Guerrilla Gardening, by Oregon Pat

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Over the years our lifestyle of self-production has morphed from simply producing more of our own needs into an active learning, training experience for the whole family.  Our children have grown up working alongside us in the garden, enjoying our late-night “canning parties”, and lately helping to raise and pursue large animals for our consumption.  This last year our gardening has taken on a greater academic angle with more experimentation and trying new things.  We’ve done a fair amount of foraging in the mountains around our place, and we were wondering how our ‘domestic’ garden varieties would fair in the wild.  This is how our guerrilla garden began.

We already knew from years of experience with deer and elk in our garden that corn and other vegetables are a wildlife favorite, so we decided to see how potatoes might fair in various circumstances.  The internet is full of advice and experience, but our own personal efforts have been invaluable to teach what is possible and what is successful.  We chose potatoes also because of their valuable payoff in volume and nutrition for any emergency scenario.

Last spring we decided to see how potatoes would do in various conditions.  With lots of our favorites still in cold-storage from the winter, we had plenty of our favorite seed potatoes – Purple (“All Blue”), Reds, and Yukon Golds.  We decided on three main locations: 1) normal conditions in our regular, groomed garden; 2) ‘new’ garden conditions in land we recently cleared; and 3) rustic gardening in the wild parts of the hills around us.  We hoped each of these areas could teach us new things about growing one of our favorite foods.

In our regular garden, we planted over 50 potato plants to use as a control and also to experiment with things like using straw, dirt mounds, and even bucket systems we’d read about to help increase yields.  We varied the planting distances between plants, monitored watering, and even measured the effect of damaging the main plants might have on potato yields.

Adjacent to our regular garden we recently cleared out pine and fir trees to expand the regular garden plot.  This soil had not been cultivated or fertilized in any way – we simply mowed the grass and weeds, then did a rough tilling of the soil for us to plant in.  We wanted to see how suitable our ‘native’ ground might be for growing in short notice.  In this area we planted another 50 plants.

Our third location was chosen to see how potatoes might fair in the mountains of western Oregon.  Most of the land here is accessible by logging roads, and with so much space to use we were curious how the plants would fare.  First, we contacted local county and state Agricultural resources to make sure there was no legal issue with us planting domestic plants in the wild.  Also, we scoped out where noxious weed spraying might occur.  Finally, we decided on 4 different locations in the hills near where we often target practice or roam.  We chose these locations to provide different growing conditions – on top of an exposed hillside, in a small ravine, alongside a logging road, and in a small open meadow.  Would the animals find the plants?  Would they get adequate moisture and sun?  Was the soil suitable?  Lots of questions.

Our Experimental Conditions
In our regular garden we experimented with X condition to see how they would affect yields: mounding dirt around the plants; piling straw around the plants; enclosing a plant in straw and a bucket; spacing between plants; and ‘damage’ to the main plant when it flowered.  Each of these factors was chosen based on what we had read of others doing.  We varied the spacing between plants from 12 inches to 2.5 feet.  Some plants we regularly raked up dirt up to 12 inches high around the base of the plant as it grew, while others didn’t get mounded dirt.  We piled thick straw around some plants to see if they would grow potatoes in the straw, and if that helped hold heat, moisture, etc to promote potato production.  For 2 plants, we cut the bottoms out of 5 gallon buckets and placed the bucket around the plant as it was large enough to “see out” of the bucket.  Within the bucket around the plant we filled the space with straw.  One group of plants we regularly watered, while others we left to the elements.  I had read that if a plant was damaged around the time it flowered, it would put more ‘effort’ into the tubers, so we munched up some of the plants to ‘simulate’ crushing or deer damage, to see if it produced more potatoes.  Yield results for these plants in our regular garden area were most dramatic and clear between different conditions.

In the rough “new” area we planted, we simply rototilled the ground and planted the potato starts.  Some parts of this area had many roots left from the trees we removed, and even 3 stumps of considerable size.  About half of this area started growing field grass aggressively after our planting.  We also added straw and dirt mounding to some of these plants.  We did not give extra watering to the plants in this area.  We were mainly interested in seeing how the soil and conditions would do for potatoes.  In an extended emergency, would it be possible for us to till up yard or pasture and get a suitable crop at harvest in the first year to help our family?  Without extra fertilizer or watering, is growing our own food realistic?  How important is our efforts to remove grass and weeds in land we want to garden?  Lots of questions we hoped to answer for very little effort or work.  Big ramifications though for what we might find – especially if our dinner depended on this ground.

For the potatoes we planted out in the wild, the only “experimental” factor we added was to put an old tire around one of the potato plants to see if the tire would ‘warm’ the plant and encourage any noticeable yield improvement.  We found the tire along the logging road so it was a last minute idea to try.  Using what was available to learn something new.  We planted seed in a barren, clay bank, marshy wet soil, and even in dirt with a lot of ‘riprap’ rocks from the logging road.  Interestingly, the results in the wild were all pretty much the same, though we learned a lot from it.
I should say that the best part of all of this was not eating the results, but the fun we had.  We all had a great time planting, brainstorming and researching, and of course digging up the goods.  Our many children’s ages range from 5 to 19 and each of them was eager to get out and check the plants.  When checking on the plants in the woods, we often used the occasion to target practice, look for new mushrooming areas, or scout deer – it was always a great outing.  Learning life skills and enjoying this great world God has given us is always better (and more educational) when it is a fun time.  One of my sons was quite surprised when he realized he could use our experiments as a science project – he thought it was all just for fun.

Our Results
We regularly checked on and monitored the plants – noting any early deaths, plant growth, and observations.  The weather last summer was moderate, and relatively mild with regular rainfall and no dramatic heat stretches.  Good conditions for experimentation.  We carefully made notes and when digging the potatoes weighed the results from each plant.  None of our efforts were statistically defined, though we tried to randomize as much as possible.  Not truly scientific, but close enough for us!

Most of our insights were from the regular garden area, with all its variations.  We measured the yields to the closest ounce, but I won’t bore you with the number details.  The Red potatoes yielded much higher than the Purple or Golds.  This was expected.  We also observed that mice and mold preferred Reds over the other two.  The Red potatoes were still green and vigorous into September, while both the Purple and Gold plants were dying off or dead before mid-August.  These are all considerations for emergency conditions when our dinner might be on the line.  Red potatoes produced 5.5 to 6.5 lbs of potatoes on average; Purples put out 3.2 lbs each; Golds averaged 1.8 lbs.  Most of our experimentation was on the Reds, which is part of the greater range in average.

In our regular garden, the two most significant factors affecting potato yields were sun and dirt mounding.  The amount of sun the plants received was easily seen in the yields.  Mounding dirt vs. unmounded plants was even more dramatic – more than 30% more potatoes (by weight) was produced by plants that had dirt mounded around them.  The mounding also helped keep the weeds at bay so this might have been a factor.  We will always mound our plants after this experiment!

The straw around the potatoes had no significant effect on increasing the amount of potatoes, but actually had a large NEGATIVE effect in that the potatoes grown in the straw had much more mold and losses to mice.  Most potatoes had some damage and many were lost because of the mold and rodents, whereas those plants without straw had little or no damage.  As I mentioned, the Reds were much preferred by the rodents over the Purple or Golds.

The only noticeable effect that spacing had on the plants seemed to be related to the amount of sun.  plants close together but on the south side of the patch still had high yields, as did the plants spaced out more but not on the south (sunny) side.  Greater spacing also helped us to mound and keep the weeds out.
Those plants that had the extra watering did seem to have better yields, but it was not significant or really noticeable.  Not to say watering isn’t important for the potatoes, but perhaps the mild year we had was wet enough.  We don’t think that extra watering (unless a dry season) is worth the extra effort.

The damaged plants we crushed or munched up branches on showed no real difference in potato yield than undamaged plants.  The mounding and sunlight was still the overwhelming factor on these plants.

The plants with a bucket around them had lower yields than their peers.  No rodent damage but I suspect the buckets decreased the sunlight available to the plants.  All of the potatoes were in the dirt and none of them in the straw.  With all the ideas on the internet about stacking tires or boxes around the plant as it grows, I figured there would be something too it, but it didn’t pan out for us.  This shows the value of trying it for yourself, in your own local circumstances!

One final note on the results in our regular garden area was interesting – we planted just the “eye” growth from a Gold potato to see if it would grow to a plant, and indeed it did.  This eye start was about 2 inches long and we broke it off the potato before potting, then transferred to the garden.  It grew, but only produced 0.25 lbs of potatoes whereas the other Gold plants around it were producing 1.5 to 2.8 lbs.  It did something, but not much.  At least something to consider if you don’t have enough seed potatoes to plant a large chunk of seed potato with the eye on it.

In the new, “unworked” garden area, we saw similar results, though yields were smaller than in the tended and fertilized area.  Average Purple and Gold yields were 1.5 to 2.75 lbs per plant, and the Reds averaged 3.5 lbs each.  This is about 40-60% less than the same averages from the “normal” garden, taking into account the experimental variables we were using.  This is dramatic, but still encouraging.  Two to three pounds of potatoes from a plant in native soil would be a big deal in a year of famine or emergency.  With so many of our neighbors without gardens, it would be a big help if they had this option to grow potatoes without having a couple years to cultivate the soil.

Again, the amount of sunlight and dirt mounding demonstrated a big boost to yields.  As the quality of the garden area decreases, we would recommend spacing the plants more and mounding them.  Of course, fertilizing and other factors will also have dramatic increases to yields as the resources are found.

Also, those plants we put straw around showed much more rodent and mold damage.  Maybe we had moldy straw that also encouraged these losses- something to consider.  The amount of tree roots still in the soil also showed a negative impact – the 10 plants in this area (some of which had straw) showed about 10% fewer potatoes than adjacent ones.
The last observation from this unworked garden area was the impact that field grass and weeds had.  The plants in the areas where grass and weeds were thick (and left intentionally) still grew and produced potatoes, but were ~25% lower yields than the other plants in this area.  These plants put out 0.5 to 1.5lbs each, depending on other factors (mounding, straw, etc.).  Even the kids could see the value at harvest from weeding during the season.

The results from our final area of study – the real Guerrilla arden of the mountains, was disappointing.  We had hoped to hide our little seed potatoes in the waysides and remote mountains, then later in the year find a bounty to meet out need if we ever had to flee to the hills.  But any data is valuable data, and we had fun.  None of these plants produced more than a few small potatoes, of just an ounce or two.  Each plant had a potato though!

First, we learned how tough and aggressive the native grasses and blackberries are compared to our gentile, domesticated potatoes.  The native plants shot up, took all the sunlight, and in many cases buried our poor potatoes to flounder in their shadows.  Without human help to fight off the competition, the potatoes won’t have a chance.

Next, we saw the importance of marking or mapping our plants – we were unable to find many of them!  We tried to use rocks, logs, or natural markers to help us find our plants but on return trips our success rate was low – we found less than half of the plants by the end of the year.  It is truly a jungle out there!  When the plants were green and growing they were easier to locate and identify.  In September they were shriveled enough to make it hard to find them, and more difficult to positively ID them.

That tire we tried on one of the plants?  Well, someone needed it more than we did – it just up and disappeared, and we couldn’t locate the plant it was marking.
Elk do seem to like to nibble potatoes, though they didn’t completely eat them gone.  Turns out we planted some of our potatoes on the hillside where 4-6 elk regularly bed down (we confirmed the beds several times) and while they nibbled the plants, they didn’t outright eat them.  They might have been curious and then lost interest after the taste.

Our final observation on growing potatoes in the wild – no matter how “out of the way” you think you are, someone, usually on an ATV or 4 wheel drive will find your little potatoes!  We lost a patch that was way back in a ravine to at least two ATVs – they went in there and did “cookies” [turns] on top of the potatoes!  I don’t think they saw them and did it intentionally, but it made us laugh to think of how we thought we were so inconspicuous.  People really are everywhere.

Which raises a point about us trying potatoes.  We knew corn would not do well in the wild, because of wildlife but also because it is fairly recognizable.  When considering a garden for public or wild lands, it is best to chose something inconspicuous that another gardener might recognize, but not the general public.  Other than wildlife, people are the next big threat to growing in the wild.  Potatoes are both highly nutritious and inconspicuous.

For years we have been experimenting with our fruit trees, grape vines, chicken raising, and now potatoes.  Trying new things, and trying new ideas on old things adds a great spice to gardening and enriches our fun with the children.  It stimulates their creativity and natural curiosity and keeps them in the garden working longer!  It also helped us temper our thoughts that life in the mountains under difficult conditions would be simpler by growing a garden.  If hard times come, it would be better to have food cache’ed that to hope those potatoes are out there for our stew pot.  And our personal experiences have confirmed what Abraham Lincoln said, “Don’t trust everything you read on the Internet.”

This year we’ve decided to try pole beans and zucchini in our 2013 Guerrilla Gardening.  Pole beans might stand a chance in the wild if they can climb up and out of the cover, and zucchini grows like crazy in town, maybe it will have a chance.  Both have high nutritional values, and are relatively inconspicuous.  We are excited.  Our gardening experiments have been a huge success.  Many of the results were unexpected and helpful, and the time together invaluable.  What will you try in your Guerrilla Garden this year?

 

 

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This post was written by Marjory

COMMENTS(0)

  • Graeme says:

    Well that was a very interesting read on the total results covered. So straw sometimes can be a creator of the unwanted. So I will now be moundful when I plant my next lot of spuds.

  • Ben says:

    Great article and topic! We’ve also documented our guerrilla gardening experiences in the midwest.. Guerrilla Gardening Successes and Failures

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi Ben,

      I liked your article – thanks for bringing it forward. On the whole Guerilla gardening does not work – and for very good reasons. There are some exceptions (mostly plants that are pretty close wo ‘wild’ anyway like the Jersulme artichokes). Mostly the vegetables we grow have been bred to produce – and in exchange for the bigger fruits and veggies the plants need our partnership to feed, water, and protect them. It is a partnership we have made between our species. There are lots of plants that simply cannot produce without human help – we bred them that way over the years.

  • DALE_KIRKENDALL@YAHOO.COM says:

    IF YOU ARE IN THE CITY, IN YOUR BACK YARD, YOU WILL EXPECT A FEW GOFERS,SQUIRRELS, RABBITS, BUT I HAVE FOUND THAT THE FURTHER YOU GO AWAY FROM THE CITY , THE MORE EVERYTHING ATTACKS YOUR GARDEN,I PLANTED A LAWN AND SOON I FOUND THAT EVERY NIGHT I HAD ABOUT 25 RABBITS EATING THE GRASS,DOWN TO THE ROOTS. BIRDS EAT THE FRUIT ON YOUR TREES,YOU HAVE TO BUILD FENCES, USE NETS,AND BECOME AN ARMED GUARD 24/7 ,I HAD TO BUILD A KITCHEN GARDEN WITH GOFER WIRE UNDER AROUND AND ON TOP TO PROTECT MY FOOD ,NOW I HAVE A BAG OF BEANS, OATS AND RICE FOR MY MAIN SURVIVAL FOOD

    1. Rustaholic says:

      Rabbits taste great.
      In town pellet guns are quiet.
      You need to be a good shot with a pellet gun though so pratice.

  • Howard Wood says:

    My parents grew what was called a victory garden. My father was raised of a farm and learned gardening at an early age. Years later in 1963 my parents moved into a new house my father didn’t have time to prepare a garden so he planted some watermelons in red clay soil.
    that year he grew the sweetest melons he had ever grown. Melons we found out need an alkali soil so you don’t to put compost on them.

  • Doug Spaulding says:

    I have been Guerrilla Gardening fruit trees and this is the third year. Success so far has been good, my trees are living, though growing slowly. I tend them a couple times each year. The conditions are challenging and this year and last year has been very dry and long hot summers. Yet, I believe in years to come the project will turn out moderately successful and that excites me given the rough conditions these trees are growing in. I have found that blending water retention crystals in the soil at the time of planting is a very good process. As it is I only injected the crystals after the first year and did not achieve a proper distribution with the soil which is not all that effective. I suggest that the crystals be completely saturated with water prior to blending with the soil as they tend to swell much and if the crystals are blended with the soil in a dry condition it may lead to “jacking” the plant out of the planting hole once the crystals absorb their allotment of water.

  • I have tried the Rustic wild Guerrilla style gardening for years and it has been very disappointing. I’m not sure how much work the N.E. American Indians put into it.
    I am now trying indoor radishs by window sill sun. Some how the old normal way of life has been lost for us who live in an Apt. Ya, normal is a good word.
    Well I must say I have never tried potatoes. I think I will this year tho I lost my spade.
    Humm ?? What did the Indians do ?.. plow ? cut off the top of the weeds ? or just hoe a path ?
    It would seem that an small light electric tiller is what is needed to grow Guerrilla. Thats to say if theres electric running. For a hand hoe I allways liked those “V” shaped ones to start with. Me’e

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      The best book on the details of how the ‘Indians’ did it is called “Buffalo Bird Woman’s Guide To Gardening”. This littel volume goes into very detailed specifics about how buffalo Bird Woman grew her three sisters garden – corn, beans, and squash – which is a great place to start – all three are good calorie crops.

      In an nutshell for those of us into guerrilla gardening, they did quite a bit of work to tend and harvest the food plots. Although it looks like they either burned or moved every few years to get the fertility. So they weren’t hauling compost around…

    2. Well,
      My radish’s and beets are growing from just the sun by the inside window but I haven’t got any food yet. There is so little growing space indoors using window light. I have to wonder if those living in a apt can use LED lights powered by solar panels and if so just what would be the thing to grow fo food. Thats to assume one had heat. All-so what happens if the dollar is no good. Do we all get evocatived from out Apt’s and homes when we can’t pay rent or tax’s. Will retirement SS money still be given out if we wait for our power to come back up. I think we need some laws of protection for this. So, LED’s and “What to grow ?” Has any-one tried this ?

      1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

        Shannon, you are openign the whole can f worms there. Its why we prep. How the changes will come – fast or slow – hard to say. We are well knee deep into it now.

        LED lights? Not sure if that will work. With low lighting sprouting or herbs is the way to go. Did you see the video on ‘growing food in the dark apartment” I poste3d a while ago? Sheri grew sprouted grians and then fed that to small livestock.

        But yes, collapse is a difficult journey down as systems fall apart.

      2. Kim says:

        Not sure if you will see this as it is an older post but in case anyone else is interested…

        I have great success growing lettuce, spinach and other such food using the 4 ft long “shop lights” that men typically use to light the garage. As an experiment one year I grew all my own salad greens for an entire winter and was able to harvest a salad a day from January 1st on into the spring and then took the plants and put those out in the early garden. Give it a try, you might just be amazed.

  • clara Morato says:

    I loved your article on gerrilla Gardening; I was jus considering gettin rid of all the grass since the lawn mower broke down, and it’s too expensive to get it fix. Your article just gave me the incentive to remove the grass and replace it with potatoe plants eventhough is late Spring. I am in the Easter part of the Country. I would appreciate your input.

    Thanks,

    Clara

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi Clara,

      I always yank out grass, because just like Oregon Pat, I’ve found that grass will reduce or completely wipe out your harvest. And I often let the wildflowers and some other miscellaneous weeds grow – if they don’t get too much in the way.

      For potatoes – I don’t know what part of the country you are in, but potatoes take anywhere from 9-18 weeks for maturity. Here is Texas it is too hot during the summer, so that is another facotr. But if you aren’t going to have a freeze for the next three months and it doesn’t get too hot where you are, potatoes will probably work. Check in with your local Master Gardening center.

      1. Hi all,
        I bet the grass cause’s run off of the water. I use to like to water by underground hose. As for weeds I mostly used a hoe but there was times when I just didn’t have the time to hoe and I just couldn’t let the weeds go to seed. So I would cut the weeds off long be-for they seeded with… Yep! you guest it, a weed wacker. If I didn’t have time to weed them out… at least they didn’t go to seed. Then I would weed just once or till them under at the end of the season. Call me lazy thats OK.

        1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

          Hi Shannon,

          Well, it sounds like you are doing more work thatn the average Guerilla gardener.

          You know for grass, sometimes I just grab a bunch of my old junk mail, then a layer of cardboard, and top it off with hay to make it look nice. That smothers it enough – especially if the grass isn’t super established.

          Gotta love lazy!

  • Dave says:

    Dear Marjory,
    My experience with GG was quite accidental. I’d bought a bunch of “heirloom” tomato plants at a big box store. I’d kept my eye on this one tomato in particular. It was HUGE; I was simply waiting for it to vine-ripen. I went to harvest it, and it had gone bad. Something had eaten part way into it, and the rest had gone quickly rotten. I was furious! We have this area near my garden where we burned down an old barn that our insurance agency considered a hazard. I took my “prize” tomato, and hurled it into the old barn area, just to be rid of it. As slugs took their toll on other tomatoes, those got chucked down there too…

    Much to my surprise, a neighbor pointed out the “wild” tomatoes we had growing in the old barn area! The tomatoes exploded like grenades on impact, and I had dozens of plants growing! With no tending, I got more tomatoes from down there than I did from the garden.

    I was hoping that some of the seeds might over-winter and grow again this season, but no such luck. It was another experiment really. I’m going to turn loose some other vining plants like watermelon in there next.

    best regards,
    Dave (TSP member TwoCorOne8b11)

  • Ya,
    I readed that the Native Americans burned so they could see to hunt. It was to control over growth I guess. I got to tell you, with to-days Tick population I have to wonder if burning wasn’t for more reason. I was in the woods a few days ago when I thought I saw a Seamink ??? Not sure what it was yet.

  • Well its no surprise to me,(You know I keep trying)
    Tring to grow any crops indoors by window light is not nature’s way.
    When I got burt out in tech I worked in a green house where we had 1,500 watt grow lights. It was then I started to work on producing the same lumens useing about 50 watts. I put my work on the far back burner for more inportain work. But its not for-gotten. I don’t think this is a problem living down south if you have a green house. But in the north you might want to grow in-doors… Un-heard-of.
    My family use to grow potatoe’s. Pick them green and keep them in a open bend in the cellar. This way they would last. And we were not Irish.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Shannon, can you tell me a bit more aoubt getting so many lumens from LEDs?

      I am normally not so excited about using ‘technology’ but more and more I am realizing there is tremendous need in urban and suburban areas. The dedication to ‘homegrown food on every table’ means I must pay more attention to the needs of those in smaller spaces and that will probably require higher tech than my instinctual, natural self likes.

      So tell me a bit about how we canhlep people in low light situations using very low wattage LEDs…

  • Dan McCaffrey says:

    “we learned how tough and aggressive the native grasses and blackberries are compared to our gentile, domesticated potatoes. … Without human help to fight off the competition, the potatoes won’t have a chance.”

    I am reminded of a book, “The One Straw Revolution”. With a little coaxing of mother nature, you can stave of the weeds by giving something else that’s beneficial to your soil a head-start. The tilled and fertilized soil will do better in year one and two, but after that it’s even money.

    To really grow wild produce, you must make the conditions right and have patience (4 years worth), to create hardy plants that can thrive in the natural competition.

  • Kim says:

    What a fantastic article and family for doing such an experiment. I would tend to believe that sunchokes would do wonderfully in the wild places as I learned from experience they can be horribly invasive and difficult to control. Now that said…they are great in an area you don’t mind them taking over and give a really nice yield. If you do decide though you put them in the wrong area, be prepared to fight them off for years and years to come!

    1. Oh sunchokes are great! they also contain, hmmm, is it oxalic acid? So not too much!

  • Chuck Frumusa says:

    I have only tried this methodology of planting randomly with fruit trees. Just not throwing seeds onto the ground, but by digging some rough troughs and throwing in a few seed. I had some success with apple, pear and cherry trees. I cannot vision growing plants without hoeing and weeding. But there is always a first time for everything so I cannot say this would not be successful to some extent other than it might be a waste of seeds.

  • Kelley says:

    This is such a fun topic! I remember you talking about this last year on your site and thought to try it out here in Indiana last Spring using “Indian” techniques just to see what would happen. Unfortunately, we suffer from an absolute infestation of rabbits – but in the spirit of ‘guerrilla gardening’ we didn’t put up any protection or sprays… we just let it go.

    The only soil prep was loosening soil into a 3′ circle and mounding the dirt by about a foot. Then we planted 5 or 6 corn seeds. Once the corn was about half a foot tall (or two weeks-ish, which-ever comes first) we planted about a dozen or so green been seeds about half a foot outside of the corn. A week later we planted some squash seeds in the middle of our circle.

    The corn gave the beans something to climb, the squash kept the soil from drying out and kept down the weeds with it’s huge leaves, and the beans helped the nitrogen in the soil.

    And our guerrilla gardening experiment went WILD. Corn, green beans, and squash were record breaking. Fantastically – for some reason the rabbits were completely and utterly uninterested in eating these plants (or any other type of dental destruction, the rotten little vandals). In fact, they thought it was such a nice little haven they made little rabbit rest stops near the middle of each mound. Free fertilizer!

    Was crazy. I’m going to try again this year and take pictures. 🙂

    1. Oh yes Kelly – I definitely want pictures!

      And with trapping or hunting you have corns beans squash and meat…

  • Robert Grissom says:

    Thanks for sharing your GG observations! The reverse, allowing some “weeds” to grow in part of the garden can bring good results, but don’t allow them to shade out your desired plants. I harvested thus lots of Lambs Quarters (Chenopodium album) and pigweed (amaranth spp). The tender leaves and tops are tasty greens sauteed with a little butter or coconut oil. Well dried leaves can be crushed or powdered (sift out stems) and kept a long time for tasty soup addition. Elias & Dykeman’s Edible Wild Plants a N. American Field Guide warns not to overdo on pigweed, “plants from nitrate-fertilized areas should be eaten in moderation.” Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)rich in Omega-3 than spinach is good as greens, & in soup or salad. A little bacon added to these three can add lots of flavor too. They add vitamins too. Hens love all three if you have plenty–to boost egg production!

  • Kiri says:

    I doubt growing zucchini guerrilla style will work. I live in a very rural area of Texas and lots of land around here is owned by ranchers or folks who come out just to hunt. So wild hogs, deer, etc. roam freely. My first summer here I did not have a fenced in area for a garden yet, but the previous owners left lots of large pots with soil in front of the house. I took one of those pots and planted a zucchini plant in it. For weeks it grew without any problems. Then it started flowering and I got excited. I was hoping that the pot being so close to the house was keeping the deer and other wildlife away, but I was wrong. One morning I got up to discover someone had eaten my entire zucchini plant. Only 1 inch of stem stuck out of the ground. That winter I paid someone to build me an 8 foot fence around what is now my vegetable garden.

    1. Oh yes, I’ve seen deer up on people porches. Before we got dogs, they would walk right thorugh the front yard within feet of the house.

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