Guerrilla Gardening Techniques

One woman shares her guerrilla gardening techniques.

Garden Beds

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

PHOTO: FOTOLIA/JOACHIM B. ALBERS

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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