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Guerrilla Gardening

 
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I dream of getting out of the city and into a small parcel where I can easily grow food. I live in an apartment complex with a small grass patch as the 'backyard' behind the apartment on a hill is a hotel. There is approximately sixty too eighty feet wide by a few hundred feet long patch of hillside. This 'waste' land gets cut down by landscapers several times a year so no major leafy greens could be planted. What root crops can thrive with the tops cut off a few times a year? There are several patches of small trees and bushes that I could plant some shade tolerant plants in. I'm thinking peas and greens? Any suggestions. There is very little wildlife in the area, a few birds but not enough to be enjoyable, in the summer there are frogs and turtles. What could I plant to feed the natural wildlife and distract them from eating what gorilla gardening I do. At my apartment I am allowed to have a container garden and have a garden tower project as well as a few grow bags, last year the turtles destroyed our watermelons and the tomatoes in bags but not at the top of the tower.
 
steward
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I think beets could maybe handle a mowing.  Radishes may fully size up between mowing.  Parsnips take too long.  Sweet potatoes may stay low enough to escape total destruction.
 
pollinator
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What about wildflowers that could be bee forage?

You might even approach the hotel (if I understand the situation correctly) and see if they would forego the mowing (and save some money) if you were to plant the area to wildflowers...
This would be more beautiful than the intermittently mowed "grass/lawn", and they might even agree to purchase the seeds!

and then...

Once they quit mowing it, you could sneak in some edibles/vegetables and get a harvest!
 
pollinator
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They mow several times a year - spaced evenly, or more in the summer than winter?  You might find a few leafy greens that can grow to maturity within a <2 month window.

Is it "lawn" grass, or wild grasses? roman chamomile, yarrow(for first aid), clover, alyssum are all potential lawn additions that can take a light mowing.

You could also just plan to go for a juvenile harvest - microgreens! Sometimes as short as 15 days between germination and harvest; Peas, Sunflower, and Radish are popular microgreens you can find seed for easily.
 
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Not sure if you're making a subtle joke or not...but it's *guerrilla* not gorilla.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrilla_gardening
 
gardener
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Arugula can handle being cut back, and you could try growing comfrey for soil improvement and for bees. You might also get away with guerilla planting some trees or shrubs in some places, especially if you make it look "official." Goumi berries could distract birds from bothering your plants, plus they fix nitrogen and feed pollinators.
 
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Since you have trees in that lot, have you considered guerilla grafting, grafting fruit branches on those trees (assuming they are compatible)?

M
 
Gail Jardin
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Mike Lang wrote:Not sure if you're making a subtle joke or not...but it's *guerrilla* not gorilla.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrilla_gardening



It was just my spell check, lol.
 
Gail Jardin
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James Landreth wrote:Arugula can handle being cut back, and you could try growing comfrey for soil improvement and for bees. You might also get away with guerilla planting some trees or shrubs in some places, especially if you make it look "official." Goumi berries could distract birds from bothering your plants, plus they fix nitrogen and feed pollinators.


Thanks for the tip about goumi berries. I will see about finding some.
 
Gail Jardin
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Maarten Smet wrote:Since you have trees in that lot, have you considered guerilla grafting, grafting fruit branches on those trees (assuming they are compatible)?

M


Wow! That sound like a great idea. I did not know it was possible to graft different species, I thought it was only different varieties.
 
Gail Jardin
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Dustin Rhodes wrote:They mow several times a year - spaced evenly, or more in the summer than winter?  You might find a few leafy greens that can grow to maturity within a <2 month window.

Is it "lawn" grass, or wild grasses? roman chamomile, yarrow(for first aid), clover, alyssum are all potential lawn additions that can take a light mowing.

You could also just plan to go for a juvenile harvest - microgreens! Sometimes as short as 15 days between germination and harvest; Peas, Sunflower, and Radish are popular microgreens you can find seed for easily.


They mow over the late spring too mid fall. I would want to plant soon so that by the first mowing I get some crops. I grow microgreens inside, I guess I could bury a few handfuls on the hill and see how it goes. I think peas and radishes can be planted as long as the ground is thawed.
 
Gail Jardin
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:What about wildflowers that could be bee forage?

You might even approach the hotel (if I understand the situation correctly) and see if they would forego the mowing (and save some money) if you were to plant the area to wildflowers...
This would be more beautiful than the intermittently mowed "grass/lawn", and they might even agree to purchase the seeds!

and then...

Once they quit mowing it, you could sneak in some edibles/vegetables and get a harvest!


I like that idea. What first got me thinking about gardening on the hill was the meadow in a box seeds at the dollar store. I want to scatter a box on the hill this spring. It's not grass, it's a combination of grasses, and native plants. I have found goldenrod, mullen, dandelion that I could identify. I was also thinking of trying to find seeds for native edible plants to make it less 'garden' like.  
 
Maarten Smet
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Gail,

Some other ideas:
- Use the land for your own Russian comfrey nursery (get the infertile Bocking 14 so it only spreads through root cuttings): you can start with one plant, after a year you can cut the comfrey root in small pieces and make a comfrey ring around the tree. Once you move to your own land, you can dig up the many comfrey plants and use the root cuttings for your own comfrey patch. It will survive the two bush clearings easily.
- Same for sunchokes.

M
 
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Onions & garlic can handle some mowing. Buckwheat grows easily & produces edible grain quite fast. Bees love it. Sweet potatoes can indeed survive a complete mowing (or rabbit/groundhog/deer munching) early in their life. Not sure about after they get larger.

Guessing that around the outside edges of the mowed area might be great for peanuts & root crops. Things that require minimum care & few people will recognize as food. Maybe a border of amaranth. That would draw attention though.

And ... just to throw a monkey wrench into the gorilla hole ... perhaps the owner/manager could be persuaded to allow a community garden to be started. Or maybe just one small plot way in the corner out of the way. Never hurts to ask.
 
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:What about wildflowers that could be bee forage?

You might even approach the hotel (if I understand the situation correctly) and see if they would forego the mowing (and save some money) if you were to plant the area to wildflowers...
This would be more beautiful than the intermittently mowed "grass/lawn", and they might even agree to purchase the seeds!

and then...

Once they quit mowing it, you could sneak in some edibles/vegetables and get a harvest!



That is about 2000 m². Very good idea, that would be my first approach. the Hotel can save some money and if it doesn't work out for them still let it cut down again. Though when you gift them something from your first harvest they'll be fine! I'd kickstart a part with wild flowers/etc for the bees!
 
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