What Is Guerrilla Gardening: Information On Creating Guerrilla Gardens

A Guerrilla Garden Full Of Plants
(Image credit: PaulMaguire)

Guerrilla gardening started in the 70's by environmentally conscious people with a green thumb and a mission. What is guerrilla gardening? The practice is intended to make unused and neglected spaces beautiful, green, and healthy. Early guerrilla gardeners performed their work in the dead of night, though recently the practice has become more open. There are blogs and community groups that can provide you with a guerrilla grow guide and support if you want to try a little random act of growing in your neighborhood.

What is Guerrilla Gardening?

There are many reasons that people take up the cause of guerrilla gardening. The activity is sometimes an attempt to increase urban green space for recreation. It can also provide spaces with edible plants for neighborhood use. Some gardeners simply do it to cover up unsightly areas or take back overly developed regions. It may even be a protest against inadequate government maintenance practices. Whatever the reason, creating guerrilla gardens is a satisfying activity that can be meaningful in many ways.

How to Be a Successful Guerrilla Grower

Guerrilla gardeners can go about the activity with seeds, hardscape items, starts, or even cuttings salvaged from established plants. One of the most dramatic methods is the use of seed bombs. Guerrilla garden seed bombs are seeds mixed with soil or compost and coated in clay. They make excellent conveyances for seeds in closed areas. The clay cracks upon impact with dirt and eventually rain will start the germination process. The first step is to choose a location. Ideally a spot close to home will ensure ease of care. The plants will need to be watered occasionally. Soil preparation is your next step in guerrilla gardening. Preparation of the site is important to ensure proper growing conditions. Remove weeds, add topsoil or compost, and work in coarse sand or grit if the area doesn't drain well. Once you have amended the site, you are ready for your guerrilla planting.

Creating Guerrilla Gardens

Your choice of seeds or plants will determine the success or failure of your garden. The plants must be self sufficient and hardy to survive where constant care isn't available. Pick native plants, wildflowers, hardy shrubs, and other resilient specimens. Ideally you should have a team of volunteers so the process goes quickly and upkeep can be shared. You can sow the seeds or plant traditionally, or lob guerrilla garden seed bombs over fences into vacant lots and open spaces. Guerrilla planting sounds like a subversive activity, but it provides community benefit and natural ambiance.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.