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[P]
Guerrilla gardening

By buffcorePhil in Culture
Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 06:10:03 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Guerrilla gardening is the art of using a piece of land which you do not own to grow something. One step removed from actual guerrilla warfare, guerrilla gardening takes land not for the people, but for nature; returning misused or disused land and finding a purpose for it. Guerrilla gardeners come late in the night with watering cans, compost and gardening gloves, and turn rotting sods of grass outside some condemned building into a vegetable patch, a clump of daffodils, or a flowering rosebush.


Why bother?

Well, why not? Land is expensive, and is the only base commodity that the entire human race has to share. Without getting too deep into arguments about the politics of land ownership, land is very important. Every person surely has some right to some land of their own. But take a look around any urbanised area, and you'll see that there is a lot of wasted land. Guerrilla gardening takes that land, and returns it to use. I'm not going to pretend that planting a geranium on a scrap of disused land is some huge Zapatista-like act of rebellion, but it is a highly symbolic act. And best of all, it's both fun and ecologically sound.

A quick start guide to guerrilla gardening

The basic principle behind guerrilla gardening is to take a piece of land which is not being used, and to grow something in it. So your first step should be to find some land that isn't being used. Look for grassy patches around abandoned buildings or deserted allotments. Grass will grow almost anywhere, and indicates fertile soil. The quality of soil can be improved if necessary by working in a compost or mulch.

A note on the illegality of guerrilla gardening

By now, you'll have no doubt realised that guerrilla gardening is perhaps a little on the illegal side. People, companies or local government will undoubtedly own the land which you are going to cultivate, and interfering with other people's land is illegal. Unless you can obtain permission to garden on the land in question, you should abide by three rules:

Use only land that is unused or unwanted

The land that you pick should be unused now, and for the duration of your vegetation's lifespan. Your definition of "unused" is up to you; derelict land is unused, but what about the grass verges on the sides of roads?

Leave the land in better condition than when you found it

If you're going to use some land for guerrilla gardening, then you should leave it in a better state than when you first took an interest in it. Improve the fertility of the land with compost, go organic, and clean away the detritus of urban life.

Don't get caught

This is as self explanatory as it sounds. In essence, you're doing something illegal on someone else's land, so don't get caught.

What to grow in your guerrilla garden

Chances are, with a guerrilla garden, you'll be working with a small piece of land in a largely urban area. You'll be growing in an area that the general public will not regard as a garden or farming area, so you should expect your garden to be ignored, or worse, trampled over. So, you'll need to use plants that are hardy, low maintenance and that have a high success rate if you want anyone to sit up and take notice.

If you want to extract maximum usefulness from your reclaimed garden, then I would recommend growing some form of vegetable or fruit and growing your own food. If it's shock value you're after, then a spray of bright flowers raised elsewhere from seedlings and transplanted out into the wild once established should achieve the desired effect.

One other plant that is often grown in a guerrilla garden is that activist favourite, marijuana. With the land clearly unwanted or owned by some corporate or government body, and tended by some mystery gardening-gloved masked hand, then who is there to prosecute? Indeed, can anyone be prosecuted for a natural plant growing in a (newly liberated) natural environment?

Political gardening versus gardening for fun

The very act of taking someone else's land and using it to your own end is in itself a political act. Whether or not you want your guerrilla gardening to act as a political message, with publicity and it own public impact is entirely up to you and the way your horticultural deeds are constructed. Planting pretty tulips on old industrial estates is one message, growing marijuana outside government offices is quite another. The choice is yours.

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Display: Sort:
Guerrilla gardening | 97 comments (87 topical, 10 editorial, 6 hidden)
I don't know about your country, (2.80 / 20) (#3)
by livus on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 04:56:22 AM EST

but here yes you damn well can be prosecuted for growing marijuana on someone else's (or no ones) land and they will take steps to track you. Had my house searched due to that once.

Another thing - here, grass verges on roadsides tend to be cut and sprayed for weeds fairly often by road workers. Hardly an ideal garden site.

And... if you're recommending people grow vegetables on toxic or polluted areas such as industrial wastelands and roadsides shouldn't you have added a link or something about toxicity build up in plants?

He's trying to kill us all.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

He's trying to kill us all (2.60 / 5) (#42)
by grahamsz on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 10:58:53 AM EST

He did already say that guerilla gargening was one step away from guerilla warfare :)

I'd also imagine that if you were to grow fruit on contaminated soil you could get into trouble if a child eats it accidentally.
--
Sell your digital photos - I've made enough to buy a taco today
[ Parent ]

... you could get into trouble [NT] (none / 1) (#43)
by grahamsz on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 10:59:56 AM EST

forgot what to say what i was thinking
--
Sell your digital photos - I've made enough to buy a taco today
[ Parent ]
yay : ) (none / 1) (#87)
by ShiftyStoner on Sat Jan 17, 2004 at 04:41:17 AM EST

 Gorilla warfare? Everyone educate yourself on gardening and making explosives, for every crop, plant a land mine. Weeee! It would be so fucking awesome if tons of people all over America started saving all there marijuana seeds. Then threw them out all over, court houses, schools, police station ext. Not for cultivation purposes of course, just to imagine the look on the judges, cops, teachers, etc., faces. If a lot of people were doing it they would cause a huge problem. All the plants would lay off a few seeds before anyone realized what they wee I'm sure. Then they'd have to figure out a way to get rid of all the plants and prevent more from growing. At the pace government seems to work might take years, heh.

 There should be a national, nonofficial date to plant your seeds. Like, oh I don't know, 4/20. Someone needs to remember to right an article on this around 4/20.
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
[ Parent ]

Why not do it straight ? (2.44 / 18) (#5)
by bugmaster on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 05:41:02 AM EST

If you want to grow your own garden, why not buy or lease the land ? This way, when the cops come to bust up the pot plantation, you won't get some random schmuck in trouble. After all, political activists should stand up for their rights on their own, right ?
>|<*:=
or even just ask (2.60 / 5) (#26)
by h2odragon on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 06:52:43 PM EST

if you're growing legal plant life, and the land is otherwise unused, you'd probably have a good shot at getting permission just for the asking. Offering a liability disclaimer might help, too.

[ Parent ]
How many hunting camps will be confiscated (1.45 / 22) (#16)
by Adam Rightmann on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 11:31:27 AM EST

because of the irresponsible, illegal actions advocated in this article?

Do you really expect a marijuana-addled urban "guerilla gardener" will be able to tell the difference between an unused lot bought for a second home by SUV driving liberals and a lot kept in a pristine natural state by a wildlife loving hunter who uses it a few times a year to reap Nature's bounty? How many poor, blue collar families who rely on 10 acres to provide them with meat for the long winter will be brought to the brink of starvation by the intrusive government confiscating said lot due to the spoiled action of drug addicts?

It's time to urine test everyone in the US, and lock up all those with marijuana metabolites in their urine.

10? (2.50 / 4) (#27)
by ph317 on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 08:29:49 PM EST

10 Acres is hardly enough to support much wildlife in terms of feeding people.

[ Parent ]
You're right. (none / 3) (#36)
by gte910h on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 09:45:16 AM EST

An acre is only about 40% the size of a soccer field or 60% of a football field:

http://www.cockeyed.com/inside/acre/acre.html

You won't have any appreciable hunting on that strech of land.

   --Michael

[ Parent ]

Ever been out of the city? (none / 2) (#67)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:18:11 AM EST

An overgrown ten acre field near my family's home in Upstate NY is a virtual cornocopia. On a given morning, you are likely to find anywhere from 50-70 deer, wild turkey and waterfowl flying to and from a nearby lake.

Ten acres alone will not support a huge herd of wildlife. But it can be a popular feeding & gathering spot for local wildlife, which is what the original poster was pointing out.

[ Parent ]

It depends on management (none / 2) (#55)
by rusty on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:26:40 PM EST

There are people who will set aside land specifically for feeding and sheltering deer and such, make sure there's ample food there all year round, specifically so that during hunting season they can take a few of them. If you're smart about it, ten acres is plenty of space to establish your hunting ground. You wouldn't want to rely on deer randomly wandering into your land at the right moment, but you can stack the deck.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
This stuff goes on all the time. (none / 2) (#60)
by kenmce on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 09:29:21 PM EST

Dude, chill. This stuff goes on all the time. The law knows perfectly well that the local farmers are not the ones who sneak in a row of marijuana in the middle of their cornfield. When they find it they just haul it away. Usually it's the farmer who calls them. No one loses the farm. If you had an acre or something I suppose they might hide out and wait for you to come water it.

[ Parent ]
Lagalise it (none / 2) (#70)
by nebbish on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:37:33 AM EST

That would solve the problems you brought up.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

A Shovel, Some Seeds, and the USS Nimitz (1.70 / 20) (#17)
by cribcage on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 11:41:17 AM EST

One step removed from actual guerrilla warfare...
You can't be serious.

Wait. On second thought, you're right. It's always seemed to me that nuclear power plants are merely "one step removed" from annihilating populated areas with fission bombs. Sending a rover to Mars is barely "one step removed" from sending a fleet of cyborgs to conquer other galaxies. And wouldn't you know it, posting this article was "one step removed" from actually flooding the site with a million submissions every three hours.

That's the value of K5, folks: Only here can you find some kid making an statement like, "Gardening is one step removed from warfare."

crib

Please don't read my journal.

A Bit of History (3.00 / 10) (#18)
by rigorist on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 12:03:27 PM EST

Occupying unused land is often violently suppressed. The Diggers attempted this in the 17th Century in England.

The Diggers first broke the ground on St George's Hill on 1st April 1649 as they set out to make the earth a 'common treasury for all'. The Hill is the place usually associated with their project and ideas, and it is from here that their influence, and the practice of Digging, spread to many parts of England.

The Diggers were unsuccessful:

As the Diggers' influence increased, so did the hostility of local landowners. Prominent among these was the lord of the manor, Francis Drake. With two violent accomplices, John Taylor and William Starr, Drake organised gangs to attack the Diggers and destroy their houses, crops and animals.

The Diggers viewed their "Guerilla gardening" as more than just a bit of night time fun:

Take notice, That England is not a Free People, till the poor that have no Land, have a free allowance to dig and labour the Commons, and so live as Comfortably as the Landlords that live in their Inclosures.
The True Levellers Standard Advanced (April, 1649).

Occupying unused land owned by others is a radical egalitarian vision.

[ Parent ]

In the US (none / 2) (#66)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:14:14 AM EST

Property owners are not nearly as powerful as they were in the past, mainly due to conservation laws and America's lust to pave over fields and city streets with expressways.

In New York, conservation laws were used to "appropriate" land from Long Island land barons to build state parks and the Southern State & Northern State Parkway without comdemnation proceedings.

[ Parent ]

You forgot one other benefit (2.90 / 11) (#19)
by big fat idiot on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 12:45:34 PM EST

In some jurisdiction encroachment of this sort may lead to ownership of the land by the encroacher. If a property owner does not control their land, they may lose the right to kick off the encroacher.

Then it would be best to know in advance (3.00 / 7) (#21)
by ZanThrax on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 01:35:38 PM EST

A lot of the land that lies empty and unused in a city is that way for a reason. It would really be a serious problem for the guerilla gardener to suddenly find out that he's now the one responsible for cleaning the soil contamination out of that old gas station site just because he's been planting flowers there for a couple of years.

You see that little drop box? The one that says "Choose comment"? The one that you have to pull down before you can post? The "editorial comment" setting
[ Parent ]

Hmmmm ... adverse posession (3.00 / 5) (#24)
by jann on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 06:15:19 PM EST

In Australia this is called adverse posession ... basically if you act like you own land for a period of 10 years and the real owner does not tell you to get knotted ... you MAY end up with a better title than the owner.

There was even an adverse posession case involving guerrilla gardening (and fences) in NSW, Australia in the first half of C20 ... involving a piece of land in mosman ... googled for it but couldn't find it ... but if anyone is interested I can look it up in my property law textbooks at home.

J

[ Parent ]

Not something that you want (none / 2) (#65)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:09:03 AM EST

Abandoned land is happilly accruing taxes that the absent owner is not paying. Taking over the land legally means that you are taking over the taxes as well. You are also liable to get sued by any other lienholders.

[ Parent ]
often.. (2.83 / 12) (#20)
by Work on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 01:24:17 PM EST

"misused" land is home to illegal dumping, whether it be by the property owner or others. I certainly wouldn't want to eat vegetables grown in an area which 40 years earlier was a used motor oil pit.

Not forgetting... (none / 2) (#30)
by gordonjcp on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:12:19 AM EST

... that the land might be pretty manky even before it was abandoned.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Exactly. (none / 2) (#80)
by trejkaz on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:40:12 PM EST

Why else would it be abandoned? If it were a nice plot of land, it would have been used, or sold.

[ Parent ]
In Vancouver (3.00 / 17) (#22)
by sticky on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 03:18:21 PM EST

Planting gardens on public land, such as street boulevards and traffic circles, is not only tolerated but encouraged.  In fact, I think that city hall has a program dedicated to this.  Just as long as you don't make a mess of it, you can plant away.  This not only makes the city look better, but it saves the city money in beautification projects.

On an editorial note, plant hardiness refers specifically to a plant's ability to endure cold.  It does not refer to general toughness or survivability from being stepped on.  A banana tree is far less hardy than a daffodil.


Don't eat the shrimp.---God

Marijuana (2.44 / 9) (#25)
by Tatarigami on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 06:34:25 PM EST

If you want to make a political statement, why not grow hemp instead? It would make it much harder for anyone to argue that you were just trying to make an opportunity to get high.

Near my parents' house, one of the locals has claimed a fair-sized section of the clearance around a railway track to grow vegetables. The setup has gotten quite elaborate, with chicken wire and plastic fencing, a gate, and even a couple of pottery gnomes. I suspect the local council will eventually get around to bulldozing it, so I hope the gardner is the resilient type.

IAWTP (1.07 / 14) (#28)
by Typical African American Male on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 09:38:49 PM EST

Smoke that shit, nigga.

[ Parent ]
Never! (2.20 / 5) (#29)
by Tatarigami on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 10:22:58 PM EST

Don't you know that marijuana turns ordinary human beings into giant murderous chickens?  

I saw it in a movie once.

[ Parent ]

getting high (none / 2) (#33)
by Nikolai on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 08:11:49 AM EST

What's wrong with getting high?

Getting anything useful out of hemp would require much more work than if you just planted the drug variety and smoked it.

--
I like cheese.
[ Parent ]

Why not grow hemp? (3.00 / 5) (#41)
by Dyolf Knip on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 10:52:10 AM EST

Because the DEA is so single-mindedly anti-THC that they'll go after anyone who produces any of it. The fact that you'd have to smoke a bushel of hemp to get any effect is irrelevant to them.

---
If you can't learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.

Dyolf Knip
[ Parent ]

The Man Who Planted Trees (2.80 / 5) (#31)
by maelstrk on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 07:34:31 AM EST

The Man Who Planted Trees
See this beautiful animated short film , You'll love it !

I remember reading the book (none / 2) (#35)
by Stereo on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 09:35:12 AM EST

It was written in French, can't remember who the author was. It might have been translated to English and would certainly be easier to find than a short movie. Where do you find short movies anyway?

kuro5hin - Artes technicae et humaniores, a fossis


[ Parent ]
The author.. (none / 2) (#39)
by maelstrk on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 09:59:04 AM EST

..is Jean Giono

I saw the movie by Frédéric Back at a festival but it has been released at least on VHS - and probably also on DVD

And if you like animation this is definitively a must see !


[ Parent ]

Jean Giono, no kidding? (none / 1) (#40)
by Battle Troll on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 10:48:53 AM EST

Blue Boy is awesome (at least, until you get to the philosophy.)
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
I remember... (none / 1) (#82)
by walwyn on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 08:54:06 AM EST

...there was an article about this in the The Next Whole Earth Catalog pp78-79 - by Jean Gioni back in 1981.

You used to be able to get a reprint of the article for $1.

----
Professor Moriarty - Bugs, Sculpture, Tombs, and Stained Glass
[ Parent ]

Online version... (none / 1) (#83)
by walwyn on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 09:15:09 AM EST

...is here.

----
Professor Moriarty - Bugs, Sculpture, Tombs, and Stained Glass
[ Parent ]
Nice story (none / 1) (#88)
by QillerPenguin on Sat Jan 17, 2004 at 03:41:55 PM EST

I read the online version of the story and thought it was very nice. One man can often make a difference.

But at the end, I was struck by how the now pretty forest remade the abandoned village: people were now moving in. Enough people move in, they want services. Services have to be built somewhere, and...

I can see how the story would have played out here in Central Florida, where we seem to hate our natural enviroment. The village is renewed, people start moving in, and more people keep moving in. Pretty soon, the developers also see a chance at profit, bulldoze the oaks to make housing subdivisions, apartments and condos. After a while, Walmart takes notice, somehow gets the local council to sell them the land where the beeches live, and it's all gone, chopped down and burnt, mixed in with the soil. Now we have yet another nice new Walmart to shop at. The water stream is piped and buried, turned into a sewer. What do the people care, most moved in after the trees were gone, didn't know about them anyway. Besides, they have their house and their Walmart. Higher property values, yes, they'll profit nicely when they sell their house. Oh, yes, the shepard's house will become a new Lowe's site soon, the council just gave them permission.

Man, we humans can be such fuckers...

"All your Unix are belong to us" - SCO, 2003.
[ Parent ]

If you grow food (2.66 / 6) (#32)
by fhotg on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 07:47:51 AM EST

get an idea about the history of the plot you're going to use. Chances are, the soil is contaminated and would produce toxic potatoes.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

Happened to us. So get the soil tested... (2.80 / 5) (#37)
by claes on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 09:47:59 AM EST

A local community group had some land donated and they started a community garden. After a while someone finally did a soil test and found some issues with contamination. I don't know all the details (we didn't have time for gardening back then), but this can be a real issue.

[ Parent ]
phytoremediation (3.00 / 5) (#48)
by a73x on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:42:47 AM EST

It's a multi-step process but there are interesting things being done with plants to extract heavy metals and other contaminants from soil. Plants pull the stuff out of the soil and then are harvested to reclaim the metals for reuse in industry or proper disposal.

[ Parent ]
Pinching Land (2.71 / 7) (#34)
by craigtubby on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 08:21:10 AM EST

One of my neighbours managed to do this.  His house bordered a stream, on the other side of the stream is a piece of land, maybe 4m by 25m, then a path and then a road.

It was supposed to be under control of the local council, but they never did anything with it, like clean it up, so he put a railing fence around it, cleaned the area (after the cleaning he was ill for a month - I wonder what was on that land) and turfed it.  He now has a much bigger gardern, and it looks very nice too.

(There is more of the land further up the stream tha noone has claimed, which is overgrown, used as a fly tipping site)

try to make ends meet, you're a slave to money, then you die.

* Webpage *

I've heard that you can.... (none / 2) (#38)
by gte910h on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 09:49:13 AM EST

...actually own unfenced land after awhile if you do this and it was owned by the government. Some common law holdover from the enclosure movement in europe.

I'd love to hear facts on this though.

    --Michael

[ Parent ]

what is fly tipping? -nt- (none / 0) (#72)
by Suppafly on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 02:14:31 PM EST


---
Playstation Sucks.
[ Parent ]
fly tipping (none / 0) (#78)
by naught on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 05:11:27 PM EST

you wait until a fly is asleep in a field.  they sleep standing up.  you just have to give it a little shove, then down it goes.  boy, are those flies suprised.  good way to spend bored evenings in redneck country.

:)

--
"extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.
[ Parent ]

Fly Tipping (none / 1) (#93)
by craigtubby on Tue Jan 20, 2004 at 08:14:17 AM EST

It basically getting rid of your rubbish on "waste" ground.  (Tipping on the fly)

It would be either

1) Individuals, with the mistaken impression that it would cost them money to get rid of their old fridges and washing machines, when infact most places do it for free.

Or More likely

2) Businesses (sole traders, companies, builders) that would be charged for disposing of their rubbish, so they dump it on any waste ground that isn't really over looked.

try to make ends meet, you're a slave to money, then you die.

* Webpage *
[ Parent ]

flowers? (2.40 / 5) (#44)
by horny smurf on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:02:23 AM EST

Guerrilla gardeners come late in the night with watering cans, compost and gardening gloves, and turn rotting sods of grass outside some condemned building into a vegetable patch, a clump of daffodils, or a flowering rosebush.

Every guerrilla gardener I've heard of grows weed.

Oh yeah! Grow your own veggies! (2.85 / 7) (#45)
by FieryTaco on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:10:24 AM EST

If you want to extract maximum usefulness from your reclaimed garden, then I would recommend growing some form of vegetable or fruit and growing your own food. If it's shock value you're after, then a spray of bright flowers raised elsewhere from seedlings and transplanted out into the wild once established should achieve the desired effect.
Ah yes. That would be wise. It brings to mind all the thoughts of people who grew their own vegetables in their new backyards without knowing that the previous owners used the area as a dumping ground for various day-to-day chemicals, oil, household cleaners, dangerous pesticides, etc. Imagine the joys of having your spouses and children being struck with life long debilitating diseases as a result.

Plants will pull toxins up into themselves just as they will pull nutriets and what not. It's probably a good idea to know what kind of ground you're growing your food in.

don't do anything interesting! (2.50 / 4) (#77)
by naught on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 05:09:47 PM EST

you might get hurt.  stay huddled in your house, and consume -- after all, there's no way to know whether the air has been previously breathed by a republican, or perhaps sprayed by a passing mosquito initiative.

stay home, unless you have to go the store, where we're all absolutely certain the food is healthy and save.

and buy plenty of air filters.  

if not, you could die!

--
"extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.
[ Parent ]

So? (none / 3) (#85)
by FieryTaco on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 11:06:14 AM EST

Have you always been this reactionary, ignorant and stupid? Or maybe you're just young. Going out and planting food in ground about which you have absolutely information is just plain idiotic. Do you by chance go around picking up random bits of organic material and eating it? When you see a puddle of some fluid do you immediately drop down and slurp it up? No? Then why the hell do you think it's cowardly and paranoid to have some awareness of the ground you are growing your vegetables in?

[ Parent ]
response to reaction called reactionary. (none / 1) (#95)
by naught on Mon Jan 26, 2004 at 11:50:30 AM EST

how droll.  it's like trying to find someone with a sense of humor in southern california.

to answer your questions:

  1. i know you are, but what am i?  that seems appropriate, given the question.
  2. no.
  3. no.
  4. that's correct.
  5. i think you're reading someone else's post, or you have a healthy imagination.  i didn't mention cowardice or paranoia, so i have to answer: i have no idea what you're talking about.  
there's a fine line between caution and paranoia.  certainly, joy has no place in either bit.

now, to return the questions:

do you constantly live in fear that other people might hurt themselves?  do you feel the need to jump up anytime someone says something remotely interesting and point out all the obvoius and common sense dangers associated with it?  do you have the idea the people are having a good time regardless of the risks?

i'll bet you have many allergies, pale skin, and your mother kept you inside to prevent you from fraternizing with 'creepy neighbors'.

here's the kind of dialogue found here:

me: i rock climb.  

you: ooh!  scary!  do you understand that it's dangerous and that rocks are pointy?  do you know the failure limit of all your equipment?  are you using all the precautions you can, and trying not to anger the copperheads that litter some of your climbing sites?  do you have a first aid kit?

me: duh! yes.  why did you waste all that poor text?

i'm 30 years old.  i am a terror to my body -- i play rough, i do crazy stuff, and i don't hold back.  i drive fast and smoke cigars and drink (not often at the same time) and could be called a 'high risk' individual.  that doesn't mean i don't know the risks of what i do, it means i find them to be acceptable risks, and own the responsibility for them.  i also accept that other people might be okay with certain risks, and apropro to this conversation understand those risks.

comment threads like this make me feel like i have to make a disclaimer that "yes, i have a brain". posters like you seem to believe that your average human has the iq of a turnip -- they do, but that's not the point.  it's not your god-appointed job to waste time explaining the obvious.  if they don't know it, it's their responsibility.

let them die.  it's nature's way.

i don't think the author of this post was suggesting that anyone go out willy-nilly and leave their brains at home.  there's no need to be reactionary and protective here.  i'm not going to comment on the quality of the article (i feel it was a little substandard), but all of the response that's jumped up and screamed unnecessary warnings at the audience makes me feel like i'm in a PTA meeting.

stop it.  

--
"extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.
[ Parent ]

In my experience... (2.60 / 5) (#46)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:26:18 AM EST

...this practice leads to problems. Here in New York City, whenever a plot gets converted into a community garden, there is inevitably a huge dispute when the city or landowner decides to assert its rights in the land. I think it would be a great idea, except that gardening hippies seem to gather massive chips on their shoulders against rightful landowners. Go right ahead and plant your flowers, but don't expect to control the destiny of that plot unless you can: (a) buy it, or (b) assert lawful adverse possession.
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Squatter's rights may come into play (none / 1) (#61)
by ShadowNode on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 01:52:11 AM EST

And should you really be allowed to retain the title to a property you've abandoned?

[ Parent ]
Why would you want to keep the land anyway? (none / 1) (#64)
by Wobbly Bob on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 07:05:24 AM EST

Let the hippies pay the land tax!

[ Parent ]
I mentioned adverse possession... (none / 1) (#71)
by SPYvSPY on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 02:04:38 PM EST

It's the closest thing to squatter's rights under the common law here. There may be more liberal rules on a local level--I don't know. Anyway, a garden may or may not be sufficient improvement on the land to qualify for adverse possession. Furthermore, the time period required (during which improvements must be made, continuous occupancy of the land must be maintained, and no assertion of the rightful landowner's rights may occur) is absurdly long (around 13 years), which is far longer than most community gardeners are willing to perservere.
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By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

Victory Gardens and such (2.60 / 5) (#47)
by knowugotadollar on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:34:44 AM EST

I can't be sure as to other cities, but the citizens of Boston have at their disposal a series of arable land plots near Fenway Sq., the Victory Gardens, are created during WWII to boost domestic morale and press home the need for self-sufficiency.
At that time, demands for food exports to the nation's armed forces in Europe and the Pacific caused rationing and shortages for those back home in the States. In response, President Roosevelt called for Americans to grow more vegetables. The City of Boston established 49 areas (including the Boston Common and the Public Gardens!) as "victory gardens" for citizens to grow vegetables and herbs.
(http://www.fenwayvictorygardens.com/history.html)
Certainly there are similar initiatives in other cities; I implore you to discover them.

.khaksari.
redefining life
The safety of our food supply. (2.60 / 5) (#49)
by waxmop on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 02:24:43 PM EST

It has been said a dozen times how growing vegetables intended for human consumption is a bad idea in urban areas because the soil may be contaminated. That's a good point, but what do you really know about the land where the produce you buy at the grocery store was grown?

Take coffee for example: you can pay $20 a pound for Hawaian Kona grown according to US regulations, or only drink organic, but the shit in the can that the vast majority of us drink is grown in places like India, or Brazil, or Africa. The profit margins in these industries are razor-thin, and enforcement of regulations is spotty. Pesticides like DDT may be banned for use in the US, but food grown outside the US that is sprayed with DDT is still legal for import.
--
We are a monoculture of horsecock. Liar

Read Fast Food Nation.... (none / 2) (#51)
by bobsandwitch on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 03:16:16 PM EST

By Eric Schlosser (sp?). You may find that the US food supply (especially beef) is not so clean.... (Personally, I'll drink my coffee from somewhere where the US government hasn't sprayed shit all over it, trying to kill the near-by coca plants.....)

[ Parent ]
Done it. (none / 1) (#54)
by waxmop on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:24:55 PM EST

That book should be packaged as a diet book. "You'll never eat another Big Mac after reading this!"
--
We are a monoculture of horsecock. Liar
[ Parent ]
well, yeah.... (none / 3) (#59)
by bobsandwitch on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 06:34:44 PM EST

Maybe "you'll never eat another bigmac in america" - MacD's outside of the US (in New Zealand, where I live, for example) is not nearly as bad.... mostly due to our meat processing being somewhat better.

But yeah, I dont think I've set foot in a McD's in the last 2 years (even to use the loo....)

[ Parent ]

Re-read the book (none / 1) (#68)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:21:48 AM EST

Especially pre-packaged GROUND BEEF.

Hamburger meat is ground multiple times a day from a single side of beef by good butchers and supermarkets. If you buy that beef, you are safe.

If you buy prepackaged meat or poultry in a tube from Wal-Mart or a warehouse clue, good luck.

[ Parent ]

Down cattle (none / 2) (#73)
by error 404 on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 03:00:36 PM EST

I spent some time on my grandparents' farm in the 1970's. I learned 3 things that were considered unremarkable.

1) Cattle are herbivores. Not carnivores, not scavengers. Herbivores. Eaters of plants. And, aside from the occasional suppliment, that's all. Grain, grass, silage, pelletized plant matter, it's all good, cows aren't picky. But they are built to eat plants. Not meat, not garbage, plants.

2) Cattle are dangerous. Besides the accidental hazards involved in that much not-particularly-smart-or-gracefull self-propelled mass moving around, cattle can sometimes become hostile and attack. Get knocked down and stepped on, and you have a serious problem.

3) Down cattle is not people food. Down cattle is a waste disposal problem. You don't take a sample and process the rest as beef, you dispose of it. Part of that is that you don't want to have people eating whatever knocked it down, part of it is that it gives a financial incentive for clean, healthy farm practices.

That a cow was found with mad cow disease doesn't bother me much. The way it was found means that the beef industry was literaly feeding us garbage. I need to scrape a few bucks together and buy a side of beef from a local place - grocery store or restaurant beef suddenly grosses me out. And I don't gross out easily - farm experience raises the gross-out bar considerably. Sure, they've banned the processing of down cattle, but what other disgusting practices that no decent farmer would consider are still going on? (OK, local beef in the freezer is also cheaper, higher quality, and more convenient than grocery store, so it's not like I'm making a big lifestyle change.)


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

That book has the most blatant use of ad hominem (none / 1) (#92)
by JChen on Mon Jan 19, 2004 at 11:41:36 PM EST

arguments.

Let us do as we say.
[ Parent ]
Expansionist Block Watch (2.60 / 5) (#50)
by error 404 on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 02:46:01 PM EST

A while back, I lived on a safe block in the middle of a dangerous neighborhood. We had a block watch. A drug house on the next block burned, and the land was bulldozed by the city.

When I moved away from there, the block watch was formulating plans to take the plot over as a garden.

Apparently, the city would have granted the block watch a quasi-ownership of the land.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

Anyone with first hand expierence? (none / 2) (#52)
by Garc on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:02:57 PM EST

There has to be someone out there who's done this. How about some pictures or descriptions of your sneaky, underhanded gardening.

regards,
garc
--
Tomorrow is going to be wonderful because tonight I do not understand anything. -- Niels Bohr

I know someone actually (none / 2) (#53)
by livus on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:22:21 PM EST

now that you menytion it: one of my accquaintances has a horrible habit of planting trees and flowers that butterflies would like, etc. In fact I happen to know that he is singlehandedly responsible for the introduction of not one but three species of "pretty flowers" into a native forest area that are now classed as noxious weeds and are creating chaos.

He even has been known to climb people's fences in the night to put butterfly caterpillars on their plants.

Last seen accused of ringbarking somene else's pine tree because he didn't like it.

sorry no photos k thnx

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

butterfly bush (none / 3) (#57)
by Garc on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:54:05 PM EST

Oh my, I sure hope it wasn't the Butterfly Bush. The Buddleia species (butterfly bush) listed as an invasive species. From the article:

So what's a responsible gardener to do? Sarah Reichard, who has been monitoring invasive plants at the University of Washington, says she's less concerned about Buddleia's use in urban areas. But if you're growing it near a natural area, watch for volunteer seedlings. Remove them and get rid of the plant if necessary (dig out the roots, which will resprout).

I guess this brings up a good point, that before guerrilla gardening, one should check to make sure you aren't supporting an invasive species.

regards,
garc
--
Tomorrow is going to be wonderful because tonight I do not understand anything. -- Niels Bohr
[ Parent ]

are you psychic?! (none / 0) (#63)
by livus on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 04:00:23 AM EST

it was buddlia. I didn't know it was also named the "butterfly bush", I thought this guy just liked purple, but that explains a lot. Yeah he planted quite a bit of it in a nationally owned conservation area.

I also didn't know that it's considered a weed in the US too. Thanks!

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

Damned communists (none / 2) (#76)
by walwyn on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 04:22:30 PM EST

A native plant of China, Buddleja can be invasive in certain locations particularly forests in Australia and New Zealand. It can also grow in very dry, poor,  and contaminated soil. Can be seen growing alongside railway lines in the UK.

----
Professor Moriarty - Bugs, Sculpture, Tombs, and Stained Glass
[ Parent ]
ah well, one place's plant is another's weed (none / 1) (#79)
by livus on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 05:18:58 PM EST

I live in "certain locations particularly forests in Australia and New Zealand". Other menaces here include Jasmine, Gorse, and some sort of American Ivy.

Meanwhile, one of our native trees is a pest in S.A.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

try container gardening, or square foot gardening (none / 3) (#56)
by tkrabec on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:28:14 PM EST

You can grow lots of plants in containters or what are called square foot gardens. I do not use either, since I have enough land for a very nice sized garden for my black thumb. google around. -- Tim

thankyou, didnt know the word for it. (none / 1) (#86)
by wiremind on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 12:52:58 PM EST

I've been looking for that kinda stuff, and i didnt know that catch phrase that was used to describe it.

I live in an apartment on the 9th floor, i have lots of sunlight. and it would be nice to have a few plants, or veggies, hehe, carrots and celery would be especially nice.

anyway, stops daydreaming yeah, thankyou for saying what the catch phrase was to describe that type of planting.

Kyle

[ Parent ]

Another approach (2.60 / 5) (#58)
by sakusha on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 05:46:29 PM EST

I remember a while back, Adbusters published an issue with a packet of wildflower seeds enclosed. They said you should find a nice crack in the pavement somewhere and pour in the seeds. They said they picked the seeds because those species were most likely to take root through a crack in pavement, with little access to water. I don't know what kind of seeds they were, I didn't buy the magazine, you had to plant the seeds to find out.

Probably dandelion. (NT) (none / 2) (#75)
by walwyn on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 04:12:19 PM EST


----
Professor Moriarty - Bugs, Sculpture, Tombs, and Stained Glass
[ Parent ]
Recommendation of plant (2.40 / 5) (#62)
by Jebediah on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 02:58:40 AM EST

If the location to be gardened gets good sunlight I recommend Nasturtiums. They're wonderfully resilient (mine just froze but there are still some live ones) and once they get settled are hard to get rid of unintentionally. As an added bonus if you know the land is safe you can eat the flowers (great in salads) and the plants will produce many more seeds to further future gardening.

Don't! (none / 2) (#74)
by walwyn on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 04:09:52 PM EST

Nasturtium is favoured by the Cabbage White an horrendous pest of brassicas. At best they'll just strip every leaf from your Nasturtiums at worse they'll devour your neighbour's vegitable garden.

----
Professor Moriarty - Bugs, Sculpture, Tombs, and Stained Glass
[ Parent ]
Local knowledge. (none / 1) (#91)
by cdyer on Mon Jan 19, 2004 at 01:34:21 PM EST

As with anything related to gardening, agriculture, or the natural (living) community, this advice is meaningless unless you tell us where you are writing from.  Every plant and animal has its place, its niche in the ecosystem.  You may have a problem with Cabbage Whites, but they may not  exist where many K5ers live.  For them, planting nasturtiums would not be a problem at all.

You should have written that we shouldn't plant nasturtiums IF we live in a place that is plagued by cabbage whites.

Cheers,
Cliff

[ Parent ]

Wasteland is important ecologically (2.60 / 5) (#69)
by nebbish on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:32:40 AM EST

As I said some time ago.

It'd be more environmentally friendly to reclaim some pesticide saturated farmland.

Cool article though.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee

Ignoring the futile arguments... (none / 1) (#81)
by jdillon on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 05:08:17 AM EST

And the few good ones. ;-)

My comment is this.  I do this activity sometimes.  I do it on land (not roadside -- waste of time unless you just want some pretty wildflowers -- that can be nice) in privat eor public trust, with native plants.

That way, I get the secret payoff of seeing my handiwork beautiful my home town, and I help to keep the natural environment flourishing.  

And why not?  Where I live the county spends millions of dollars US trying to get rid of non-native plants, and almost nothing to re-establish native ones.  Odd isn't it?
!#/usr/bin/php -q echo "Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.";

Gardners (2.60 / 5) (#84)
by Jumery on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 10:00:13 AM EST

If there are any gurilla gardners out there my home needs some planting and care.

Feel free to drop on by in the middle of the night, but i dont want you freak shows around during the day, k?

:P

You're missing something... (none / 1) (#89)
by Morimoto Masaharu on Sun Jan 18, 2004 at 08:58:53 PM EST

I think that if land is an entitlement to each person, as you say it is, then the land that somebody owns should be under their own jurisdiction, not under that of some crazy moralistic vandals. Instead of breaking the law, why not contact the owner and asking him/her? That would provide the benefit without the criminal undertones. Or do you just do it because each time you do it feels like a minor rebellion of sorts?
«This is Mr. Yoshida on your favorite vegetables.»
If the land is clearly unused, (none / 1) (#94)
by rains fall on Tue Jan 20, 2004 at 07:48:33 PM EST

There's nothing wrong with planting something there, seeing as it doesn't harm anyone. If you were caught I'm sure they wouldn't press charges unless you were trying to grow marijuana or other illegal plants.
fall
[ Parent ]
Reminds me of this (none / 1) (#90)
by markmouse on Mon Jan 19, 2004 at 10:30:15 AM EST

These guys bought unused land, and sell it by the square meter, in order to grow native vegetation there (and to make some money I'm sure): Green Globe.

Mark
--
WatchMouse website monitoring
we've made it a garden--i think it should be ours (none / 0) (#96)
by randi on Fri Jul 16, 2004 at 01:34:27 AM EST

we have a community garden that's been around for at least 25 years--i've been here 10.  originally it was abandoned land, full of trash, old tires, etc.  a few people started cleaning it up and made raised beds for gardening (thereby avoiding the icky soil underneath).  it's a poor urban neighborhood (although gentrifying now) so no one was complaining (perhaps too gentle for the moniker guerrilla? i guess i've always been more into progress thru gentle subversion and convincing than thru strident confrontation), and the owners didn't respond to attempts at contact.  

many years later, a local non-profit purchased one of the 2 lots on which the garden exists specifically for the purpose of maintaining it as a community garden.  this org owns many gardens in the city, thus protecting them and providing an organized means to get services, etc.   for us, this means not worry that our garden and everything it means won't be yanked from under us.

we've continued to garden on _both_ lots of the land, so over 25 years later we're still squatting on the 2nd lot.  the landlord has never responded to letters.  we've built raised beds, fences, compost bins, arbors, and now a tool shed.  we've planted perennial flowers, a fruit tree, a grape arbor.  if we didn't take care of the land, it would be a dump.   (we have loads of photos from over the years--i should get our web site back on-line).

so, question is, if the absentee owner come back wanting to develop the land now that the area fetches higher prices, should the community garden have a right to expect that the land should remain part of the garden?  (i haven't investigated legal aspects on squatter's rights here yet...)

my opinion:  people own things, it's how we organize our physical world, okay.  but if someone clearly doesn't need or use something, and someone else _does_, does it make sense to blindly stick to the letter of ownership?  i think circumstances should and can have more power.  

in my neighborhood, most of the people rent not own, most are families with kids, most have no yard space.  it's demoralizing to have a garbage heap on the corner lot, and it's uplifting to have something beautiful to look at.  i've always believed that one of the most important things about our garden is that it provides a space for any/everyone to share a little bit of nature--what little open space we have is specifically there for everyone and not annexed to the house next to it so everyone else must stay outside the fence.  the kids in our neighborhood at least have a chance in their day to day lives to stumble upon snakes and salamanders and carrots and sunflowers.  (it still surprises me when kids don't know where food comes from.)  

given the amount of work put in, the junk heap that's been avoided, the complete absence of the owner, and the value of the place to the neighborhood, i think the hippie commie vision holds more weight.

ok (none / 0) (#97)
by soart on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 12:35:32 PM EST

If you're going to use some land for guerrilla gardening, then you should leave it in a better state than when you first took an interest in it. Improve the fertility of the land with compost, go organic, and clean away the detritus of urban life.
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Guerrilla gardening | 97 comments (87 topical, 10 editorial, 6 hidden)
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