Guerrilla Gardening

Transform our blandscape by sowing the seeds of a green revolution.


| March/April 2002


Our cities are a sad sight—buried rivers and dead forests encased in cement straitjackets. More parking lots than parks. Weeds sprayed with chemicals. Trees tangled in Christmas lights and caged behind steel bars. Locally and globally, nature is becoming more controlled and corporatized while public green spaces are shrinking. What can you do?

Why not become a guerrilla gardener and reclaim your environment? While you’re out sowing the seeds of revolution, you can talk to curious strangers about what inspired you to take action. You can point to the cityscape around you and ask, "Does it have to be like this?" You can show them your seeds. Did I mention that it’s fun and cheap?

All you need is:
• seeds
• soil
• small shovel
• watering can
• used packaging from your
neighborhood recycling bins
• some friends (makes it more fun,
and safer too)
• creativity

Here's what you do:

Walk around and look for good places to plant. Abandoned property, construction sites, parking lots, and traffic medians are just a few places where you might find some soil or cracked pavement to plant in. Part of the fun is finding interesting places to garden.

Plant all kinds of seeds: flowers, vegetables, whatever. If you grow annuals early enough, they will flower in the summer, and some will even seed themselves next year. Perennials tend to be more expensive and take a few years to bloom. The simplest trick is to throw wildflower seeds around and hope for the best. This will often work if the area gets little traffic and lots of sun. I use sunflower seeds because they thrive in poor-to-average soil and they require very little water (plus they are a symbol of resistance and creativity).

Start planting in early spring, after the last thaw, although some seeds can be planted throughout the summer. Plant tulip and daffodil bulbs in the fall. Check seed packages for exact instructions.