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Guerilla Gardens

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:25 pm
by Steve
I’m thinking about planting some "guerilla gardens" around my area as an insurance policy to supplement my preps. I’m currently storing food (about 3 months worth so far) and I’m putting a garden in my backyard in a few weeks (breaking soil this weekend.) However, I want to also start planting "clandestine" gardens around my area as an additional source of food. Here’s my rationale: 1) The garden in my backyard will not be big enough to sustain me because my yard is too small, 2) in a PAW situation, that bountiful backyard garden may attract hungry neighbors who might pillage it, and 3) I have a big family in town who haven’t started prepping yet (though they are warming up to the idea!)

My idea is to find 3 or 4 spots in my area where I can plant food as a backup supply. My thoughts are that the plants should be nutrient dense – roots, tubers, seeds, nuts – and that they should probably be plants that people don’t immediately recognize as food. I’m also thinking about planting in a random fashion so that it doesn’t look like a garden. I think 3 or 4 would be good in case some of them get mowed down. If all the gardens die, then no big deal – I’m looking at this as an insurance policy.

I’m thinking of planting primarily potatoes because they are cheap and most people don’t recognize the plants. Also, potatoes can be stored underground – you don’t have to dig them up until you are ready to eat them. Sunflowers might be a good choice, too.

Any thoughts? Suggestions?

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 4:24 pm
by Czechnology
I have no idea where you live, but if there's anything approximating a groundhog living within a few miles of you, expect to find your gardens disappearing quickly.

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 4:50 pm
by Blast
If you live in the south then cana lillies are a good choice.
http://www.survivaliq.com/survival/edib ... a-lily.htm
In the north you'd have to pull the bulbs up over winter and store them.

Jerusalem artichokes grow everywhere.

Mulberry trees will produce a massive amount of really sweet fruit.

-Blast

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 6:56 pm
by Vindex
Look into 'companion planting' for a mix it up, more random looking garden.

Some castor bean plants will kill off the moles or anything else that nibbles on them.

Re: Guerilla Gardens

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 7:16 pm
by Steev
Steve wrote: 2) in a PAW situation, that bountiful backyard garden may attract hungry neighbors who might pillage it,
It's not even the PAW and it already happens to me...


This year's project is a fence between my browntrash(like white trash, but from india complete with cars parked on the lawn and appliances in the yard) neighbors and my garden.

Last year, like 2 days before I was going to pull up my heads of lettuce someone else did it for me. Same with the cucumbers...

I know it wasn't animals because animals don't use my clippers to cut cumcumbers (found the clippers beside the garden covered in dirt, they were several feet away on a table that night)...

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:08 am
by Dark Cloud
I wish you the best. I have tried and failed to grow anything of nutritive value in this Tennessee clay. Others have done it, but I am Black Thumb: Gardener of Doom. Come the PAW, I'm living off squirrels.

But say you did have a spot that was reasonably secure, not out in your unfencec yard or something, but a piece of property in the country or something. COuldn't you cultivate food plants, even ones that grow wile in your area as a backup plan? I used to live under a pecan tree in college. That sucker dumped a truckload of nuts all over my 1979 Mercury Cougar. I was giving away Wal-Mart bags full of fresh new and tasty pecans.

A nut tree, a fruit tree, some native tubers, herbs and such might be a low maintenance insurance policy and a nice place to visit from time to time, you know, just to make sure nobody leaves any snips on the table.

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 9:32 am
by Outlander
Dark Cloud wrote:I wish you the best. I have tried and failed to grow anything of nutritive value in this Tennessee clay. Others have done it, but I am Black Thumb: Gardener of Doom. Come the PAW, I'm living off squirrels.
For your problem with your crappy soil growing in containers would be ideal for your problem. This way you can added various items to the soil and to make it a better growing media. Adding compost, peat moss and sand can all help with your drainage problems.


For growing potatoes one slick method is planting them in a large garbage can. Put a good soil mix in the bottom of the can and plant your seedling. Once the potatoes starts growing keep adding dirt around the plant while it grows. By the end of the summer the can should be full of dirt and hopefully potatoes. Just tip over the container and your ready to harvest. I heard of some people using old tires & doing the same method. Fill one tire with dirt. Plant your seedling. When the plant get bigger keep adding more dirt and tires. This would work great for your guerilla gardening idea. Who's really going to take notice to a stack of old tires with plants growing out of it.

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:13 pm
by Mahatma Zombie
This style of gardening may help you get the most out of your space...

http://www.squarefootgardening.com/

I plan on researching it this summer!

Designing your garden with a permaculutre style could benefit you as well by disguising things more!

-Grant

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:24 pm
by Outlander
For your problem with your crappy soil growing in containers would be ideal for your problem. This way you can added various items to the soil and to make it a better growing media. Adding compost, peat moss and sand can all help with your drainage problems.

My garden is based on the square foot gardening method. Easy to weed, no compacting of the soil from walking on it. It also helps with disease control. With this gardening method your not planting in rows or have one type of plant clumped up in on area. So if a plant gets sick it isn't going to contaminate the other species next to it. My garden is a raised bed that is fenced in. It's amazing how much crap a person can grow in a few little 4' squares. I have been growing this method for the last 20 years. They use to have a television show on PBS that got me hooked on this method.

I also do a lot of planting in 5 gallon buckets and various containers like wooden barrels and plastic drums. With the buckets I have them on pallets that I attached wheels to. This way if there is a chance for frost I can just wheel everything into the garden and not worry about any loss. Plus I don't have to worry as much about animals raiding my garden late at night.

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:44 pm
by Blast
+1 on square foot gardening. I use that method in my backyard, too. I recommend getting the actual book rather than just using the info on his webpage. The recipe for his soil on the webpage leaves out a major bit of information, namely don't use just one type of compost in "Mel's Mix" but use a variety of composts to insure getting all the nutrients you need. That made a big difference to me.

A good companion book is "Joy of Gardening" by Dick Raymond. It covers everything you need to know about raising most veggies and some fruit.

-Blast

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:07 pm
by Cymro
What about cultivating native wild edibles? They blend in, they work with the soil you have, and they're non-invasive. Just a thought.

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:11 pm
by velojym
We're planning on doing a raised bed garden this year, except for the berries and the potatoes. The berries will be planted along the chain link divider fence in our back yard, and the spuds will be following a vertical plan, similar to the aforementioned trashcan planter. I may use tires. Build it up as it grows, stack on a tire when needed, and when you're ready to harvest, just push the stack over. Some folks have claimed upwards of 30-50 lbs of taters growing from one planter.

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:17 pm
by Vampire
There was a picture of this in the newspaper today, a few illegal crops of green in Rotterdam.

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 9:40 pm
by SamuraiBobX26
To me, all of the ideas that have been presented sounds about right and has giving me some new ideas. I used to grow a few vegatibles at my parent house and all of your ideas sound easier then mine.

I also like the idea of gurella gardening, but my problem is that where I live, the animals would get to it before I would even get a chance to harvest. But is still sounds like a great idea.

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 1:25 am
by Apollo-11
Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes. If need be, surround them on the sides and bottom with buried hardware cloth. (Think of a very large bucket made out of hardware cloth, buried up to the top, with a potato planted inside it.) If you have critters digging down from the top, you might need to bury some more hardware cloth 1/2 inch below the surface of the soil. Just be sure to cut out enough space for the plant to grow. This hardware cloth mesh will stop anything big but will allow nutrients and water to the roots. You can do similar things with radishes and other root vegetables. I am partial to fresh carrots, myself.

It's not really "worth it" to grow potatoes unless you have an underlying motivation... potatoes are so cheap you actually lose money, a teeny bit, unless you are farming potatoes by the hundreds of acres. But it is a good prep exercise and it can teach the rudiments of farming. Give yourself a chance to learn from your mistakes before they really count.

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 7:49 am
by kevintorvalds
Various types of berries are pretty good too... not the best, but at least its something. In many places, blackberries, marionberries, currants, etc. grow wild - so it'll just look like the surrounding scenery. Be careful around roads and other public/near-public areas though... don't want your plants getting sprayed! Very bad for the plants' health and yours.
One thing you might consider is a vehicle-based garden, if you have the room. Especially good for a van or bus. I've done this even in a Ford Festiva (puny little car, but I loved it! :D). Took those long window planters, hung them from the ceiling of the car and then secured the side to the sidewall just under the window. It's not much, but it's at least something - good for carrots, onions, and a few other things.

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 10:51 am
by jung
a hydroponic type setup that runs of solar power with backup power through a car battery grow way more veggies on regular dirt. it's quicker too. i'm looking into an aquaponics system for the future. rooftop gardening is also becoming more popular as part of the green movement.

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 12:36 pm
by MarkTBSc
Onions and Garlic are excellent stealth plants. Not too many people recognise their flowers as being part of an edible plant.

You might also like to look at more invasive plants such as Kudzu and Blackberries. They'll grow in most places, spread like crazy and can be eaten. Not to mentkion that Blackberry thickets will defend themselves against clearing. There's Russian Olive, autumn olive... Check out invasivespecies.gov and Wikipedia for more details on hard-to-kill edibles.

Speaking of which, wherever possible you need to find foods for all year and not just ones that grow in traditional growing seasons. If the apocalypse comes then it'll come in the winter.

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 1:04 pm
by phoenixmastm
MarkTBSc wrote:Onions and Garlic are excellent stealth plants. Not too many people recognise their flowers as being part of an edible plant.

You might also like to look at more invasive plants such as Kudzu and Blackberries. They'll grow in most places, spread like crazy and can be eaten. Not to mentkion that Blackberry thickets will defend themselves against clearing. There's Russian Olive, autumn olive... Check out invasivespecies.gov and Wikipedia for more details on hard-to-kill edibles.

Speaking of which, wherever possible you need to find foods for all year and not just ones that grow in traditional growing seasons. If the apocalypse comes then it'll come in the winter.
Only problem with Kudzu is that you have to keep an eye on it. With an average daily growth of about 6 inches, that'll take over your garden in a heartbeat.

Cmon, look at Southern Georgia, and North Florida. That shit is everywhere.

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:32 pm
by Gauge
I hate to say it and I may get in trouble but if you are looking for ways to hide a garden start looking at websites for guys that gorilla grow marijuana.
My best suggestion is to plant in a brier patch.

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:23 am
by kevintorvalds
Gauge wrote:I hate to say it and I may get in trouble but if you are looking for ways to hide a garden start looking at websites for guys that gorilla grow marijuana.
My best suggestion is to plant in a brier patch.
why would you get in trouble? It's not like you're talking about growing marijuana (which I have my own opinions about, but lets not get into that) - you're talking about growing food. Nothing bad about that.
pretty soon, it may become illegal to grow your own food. This "food control" has been used in the past by other governments - it's not a pretty thing. So as with anything else, grow as much as you can now while it's still legal and while you can still get seeds that will reproduce.

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:31 am
by Moana Drifter
Cymro wrote:What about cultivating native wild edibles?
Or even uncultivated wild edibles. We put up a year's worth of blackberry jelly each spring from wild blackberries that we find growing in vacant lots and along creeks.

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:38 am
by ¿
Hemp? legal to grow and will produce edible seeds, it grows in all types of soils.

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:43 am
by kevintorvalds
¿ wrote:Hemp? legal to grow and will produce edible seeds, it grows in all types of soils.
ah, hemp. The plant that would save the world. If only so many industries weren't against it...
On top of food, if you're good with your hands, you can make jewelry out of hemp - basically just a series of knots, very easy to learn, and I've sold necklaces at $20-$30 each... sometimes they'll go for a lot more.
So many good things can come from hemp... it's just not even funny. And it is a very tough plant - it'll grow pretty much anywhere. And not just the seeds are edible - pretty much the whole plant is - nothing really toxic or harmful in any way. That includes leaves and stalks, seeds, etc.