mercoledì 8 gennaio 2014

Guerrilla Gardening Techniques: Attack Strategy

Very well. You are armed to the teeth. Now, it's time to plan the assault.
No battle can be won without a proper strategy.

The choice of a target is essential.
Finding a neglected area and starting to dig is not enough.

The very first thing you have to consider, is that in the days immediately following the attack (and maybe even for long time after that), you'll have to take care of plants and flowers just planted.
Do not expect that inhabitants of the neighborhood will join so soon your cause: it's a matter of attitude. Until then, they never minded about that flowerbed. Probably, they even didn't notice that there's a neglected flowerbed, just outside their home.
The cooperation of the citizens is the most ambitious goal, and certainly is the most difficult to obtain.

Choose an area near your home.
Your watering missions will be more or less urgent, according to the season.
During Spring, probably you'll need to water once a week, but in a summer scorcher, you'll have to water every day.
Moreover, if you have chosen the way of sowing, you'll have to keep the soil enough moist to allow the seeds to sprout. And of course, the seedlings will not last long without getting wet frequently.
Don't attack a flowerbed if you live miles away and you're not sure to take care of it (at least at the beginning).

So, make sure you have easy access to water.
The ideal would be a public fountain, but if such a wonder is not in the area, then you'll have to bring water from home. I refer you to the chapter of the arsenal to assess which container comes in handy to you.
You could also try to involve shopkeepers of the area but do not count on them as for sure: they could promise they will water your plants (the odds are not good, expecially if they have to cross a road) or that they will let you to use their water faucet. However, it's likely that, in the long run, they'll turn fed up to see you going back and forth from their shops with watering cans or bottles. But if you want try, it can not hurt....

If your goal is a neglected pot, usually used as a bin waste, do not expect that rudes will stop to throw wrappers of chocolates and cigarette butts among your periwinkles. In addition to watering plants you'll have to clean up, often.

The greatest goals of course, are the larger green areas .
Consider your forces: even if in your golden dreams you imagine lush gardens everywhere, you might encounter unexpected difficulties. .
So, before you gather the troops, don't forget to explore and study the place you're going to hit.

First, make sure that the soil is workable and quite deep.
Flowerbeds which have been trampled for years, probably will be impossible to dig, unless you have a plow drawn by a John Deere tractor and, on the other hand, what looks like a perfect flowerbed, often is just a little more than concrete tank with a few inches of compact soil. In that case, it would be useless to put plants which have deep roots. That's 'cause it's always worth testing the soil, before bringing all the material on the choosen site.

Also, consider the option of hitting the ground after a period of rain: a compact ground which is hard to hoe, it would probably be impenetrable to the roots of your newly sprouted zinnias. Moreover, if you just dig a hole for a well grown plant (eg, a lavander one) might not be enough: it would be like leaving that plant in its plastic pot.
If you have access to a source of water not so far from the area of your strike, you may even sacrifice the water you brought from home to soften the soil (in this case, you'll need plenty of water).

Working public and forlorn areas, it means that you will certainly dig a nearly barren soil. Look at the color of the ground: if it's pale, almost gray, dusty and there is nothing growing not even weeds, it can hardly be suitable for more demanding plants.
On the other hand, if wild grass grows lush and the ground looks darker, you have better chances of success.
If necessary, you could add some universal soil but be aware that a fifty-liters sack of soil, which made ​​you suffer so much for uploading it in the car, it makes very little when you pour it on the ground. Very very little.

About trampled areas: check that it is not used by pedestrians as shortcuts (eg, to cross a road). Despite your colorful and funny signs and the presence of flowers, most of them will continue to walk on the same path, ruining your work.

Attention to areas used by dog's possessors as canine toilet: it is non-cultivable ground due to the presence of nitrogenous wastes (what elegant circumlocution, isn't it?).
Consider that if it's the only "green" area available for a four-legged, is almost unlikely that citizens will stop to bring there their friends. There's nothing more effective than a pee well dealt to kill the newly sprouted seedlings.
Moreover, don't expect that a cute dog would restrain itself from the urge to scratch the ground where it has laid its poo.

Similarly, consider the tree-pits.
They represent a host of opportunities but they have some pitfalls.
It's quite common to find dog excrements around the tree.
Moreover, some tree-pits are built on the same level of the street and often they're trampled by cars. Even if you managed to scratch the ground, vehicles are too hungry animals of every possible parking space, to leave your petunias untouched.

Pay close attention to areas where events (matches, fairs, meetings) may endanger the plants.
It's useless to regenerate an overgrown garden if, on Saturday night, it's the haunt of the gang of the neighborhood: your few petunias won't stop them from reducing the area a landfill of empty bottles.

Finally, do not ignore the presence of a City Gardens Service. Do not assume that, in a flowerbed normally "kept" with an extensive use of mowers, municipal workers would feel pity for your little kalanchoes. They'll find easier, due to lack of time,  (and sometimes to indifference ) going straight without stopping.

As you can see, pitfalls are many (that's why many call it "guerrilla gardening", even if  someone turns up his nose for this pseudo-military terms) but do not let that put you off: many of these dangers can be avoided with some tricks(which we'll discuss in the chapter "the defense").

1) choose an area or a pot in your area, so you'll be able to take care of it constantly.
2) Consider your strengths to avoid to bite off more than you can chew.

In any case, do not give up action: put in mind that you'll need some failure to gain experience.
You will surely get more encouraging results the next time .

Remember, the only real defeat is giving up before getting started.

PS: do not underestimate the physical effort that the action will require.
Unless you are professional gardeners, you'll probably move dormant muscles and joints, which means that you will be sore all over.
If the very next day, you are going to have any activities that requires movement (a relocate, a long walk or a tennis match....), ask yourself if it would be better to postpone the attack.
Or, at least, keep on hand a painkiller to be taken on a full stomach and only if you are sure you have no allergies.

Nessun commento:

Posta un commento