Guerrilla Gardening Techniques

One woman shares her guerrilla gardening techniques.

Garden Beds

Leah Patterson leaves her garden beds “loose” by leaving out physical borders.


Content Tools

MOTHER EARTH NEWS’S Garden Essay Contest, titled “Why We Dig Gardening,” prompted many responses — here is one of our favorites!

For me, gardening is somewhat of a guerrilla affair, as I employ guerrilla gardening methods that the people around me have never heard of. We had some compost and topsoil trucked in from a local garden center, and I spread it around the perimeter of our back yard. I didn’t dig into the existing soil at all. We placed some landscaping material over the ground and then shoveled the imported soil over it.

Another step I didn’t take was to box the bed in with lumber slats or any other kind of constraint. No one believed that the soil would stay where it was meant to. I knew it would. The soil I use is very rich with organic material such as horse manure, straw and other unidentifiable humus.

I planted a variety of vegetables, herbs, berries and wildflowers, not in normal rows but more like clumps. I mulched the plantings with dried grass clippings to help them retain moisture, then fertilized with blood meal and fish liquid.

My garden is abounding with life — not only plant life but ladybugs, spiders and the like. By employing organic gardening methods and enjoying success with them, I’m encouraging my neighbors and friends to do the same. I believe it is a small effort I can make in the struggle against rampant fossil fuel misuse, as well as creating a haven for the wildlife that urban sprawl displaces. It is a way for me to stay connected to the natural world.

Leah Patterson
Calgary, Alberta