Thursday, February 23, 2012

guerrilla community garden

the revolution is rising! we broke ground on an abandoned lot today. the place is about 1/4 acre of weeds and grass and rocks where the owner has just been dumping crap for years. we decided it needs better parents then that so we're adopting it. this is what the site looked like before we started:

and this is an hour later (i don't know why this pic is so blue):

right now it just has some wild flower seeds sprinkled on top. we'll add more useful things later in the season. we got the wood from the crap already on location and cleared out the weeds in a nice sunny spot with loose bare soil.
it was just me and a guy from the guerrilla gardening meetup group but it worked out fine. we're just testing the waters with this one little bed for now and we'll expand from there if no one freaks out. we spoke to a few neighbors who didn't seem to object and one lady from next door seemed really interested and is going to help us run a hose over the fence so we have a water source. i'm really excited. the worst that's going to happen is the owners tearing the whole thing out but i don't think it's that likely since the land has been unused for at least 10 years. because it's been untouched the soil is nice and rich and healthy, if a little rocky. if we take over the whole space we'll need to either pull out a lot of weeds and grass or dump a lot of topsoil on top to smother it. my vote is for pulling out the grass and composting it. we'll be putting a compost pile in a corner and we found a dog kennel that's going to be dismantled for plant supports. there's also 3 old tires that are going to become a potato stack. i may relocate and cultivate some of the native blackberries and snowdrops that are already thriving there.
eventually it would be great to cover the whole place with little beds tended by the community. seed the paths in between with hardy short wildflowers or lay down the broken tiles that are dumped there like paving stones. this is where we're going to plant the things i don't have room or enough sun for on the balcony, specifically things that are unlikely to be recognized as food and stolen. i know people think that no one would steal your tomatoes from the vine but it happens around here all the time. homeless people go into backyards and strip your harvest. if i do plant things that may be stolen i'm going to plant enough to share on purpose (those abundant cherry tomatoes!). it would be nice to put in some fruit trees as well. this is a huge undertaking but i'm hoping that others in the area will want to be a part of it.
we do not have permission from the owner to do this. we're doing it anyways on the principal that land should belong to those who care for it and are in it's care, especially when those who hold the property deed are neglecting it. lots of community gardens have started this way, with people just taking it over and it eventually gets sanctioned and protected. we're doing this openly and hoping to promote friendships among the community and make this neighborhood a safer and more pleasant place to live. can't you just see it?

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