Archive for the ‘Guerilla Garden Article Archives’ Category

Killer Grape Tomato Prices!

Posted: March 1, 2015 in March, Seeds, Vegetables

The Grape Tomato Seed Adventure

A criminal/immoral idea that could potentially help you with your grocery and seed buying budget!
Guerilla Gardener wanted for suspected involvement and organization of the famous Tomato Caper of 2015!

Warning-The Grape Tomato Police could be looking for Guerilla Gardeners with ties and possible involvement in the rumored Grape Tomato Capers of 2015!

I love grape tomatoes but the price at the grocery store is killing me and quite frankly paying for them is starting to cut into my seed buying budget. As for the quality of store bought grape tomatoes…..well when they’re good, they’re very good……and when they’re bad, they are simply horrible! Paying for an expensive plastic container of little, tasteless, sour, wrinkled, red rubber balls is usually not what I had in mind when buying grape tomatoes at the supermarket, so whenever possible I try to liberate one out of the container and do a taste test before buying any. Even if they pass the taste test, the lifespan of a store bought grape tomato is so short that it doesn’t take very long before they start to get all wrinkly. After paying top dollar I find this more than a little offensive so I’ve added some grape tomato seeds to my seed buying list.
Since I’m trying to adhere to a self imposed seed budget I tried surfing the internet to try to seek out some deals on grape tomato seeds. As a Guerilla Gardener I was pleasantly surprised to discover that buying seeds in packages wasn’t my only option. Apparently there are some suspected fellow guerilla gardeners out there who have had great success using seeds harvested from store bought grape tomatoes. From a taste point of view, nothing beats the taste of a homegrown tomato and I couldn’t help but think that from a financial point of view this idea could help both my seed and grocery budgets to go just a little bit further.
Now, it just so happens (and I speak from experience) that if you mention this gardening idea to a Master Gardener they will tell you a bunch of technical stuff like it’s a hybrid, it won’t grow true to seed, it won’t taste good, blah, blah, blah.
As a Guerilla Gardener trying to work within the seed budget, my opinion is that if you already bought some good tasting grape tomatoes and there are a few wrinkled ones in the bottom of your refrigerator or rolling around on your counter, what do you have to lose? This especially holds true if you have plans to plant tomatoes on property that does not belong to you.

Tomato Plant hidden between some cedars along the back fence at Strata complex

A tomato plant hidden between some cedars along the back fence at Some-Strata-Property.

The internet consensus on growing grape tomatoes from supermarket varieties is that the Santa Sweets® brand of grape tomatoes (the containers with happy little tomatoes wearing Santa hats on the label) seems to work the best. When I grocery shop and can find this brand of grape tomatoes in the supermarket I usually buy them because they are always very sweet and they always pass the taste test. Now, if you happen to live in the U.S.A you can buy these plants already started from the Santa Sweets® company website but they will cost $32 (plus shipping and handling) for 8 plants. However, even if you had the money to waste, you still could be totally out of luck trying to obtain these plants as the company does not ship live plants to Canada. As a Guerilla Gardener living in Canada, who is always open to new adventures the idea of trying to grow a grape tomato plant from my favorite brand of supermarket tomatoes seemed like a brilliant money saving plan that was going to help me to get the most out of both my grocery and seed budgets. However, there’s a bit of a hitch. Apparently the Master Gardener’s concerns are the least of my problems because it turns out that there may be some criminal/moral issues to this money saving seed plan. It seems that there is some kind of copyright/trademark/patent tomato-rule-thing going on with this particular brand of tomatoes. The Santa Sweets company grows only proprietary varieties of tomatoes such as the Santa Sweets® grape tomatoes. The company boasts that this is an exclusive “100% Pure Santa Variety (F1)®. This simply means that by law they are the only ones allowed to grow them and it has been highly recommended that I find out what kind of fine/legal costs/jail sentences might be incurred before trying to use the seeds from some Santa Sweets® grape tomatoes. After checking all the trademark/copyright/patent information out thoroughly I cannot in good conscience condone or recommend using any store bought tomatoes for seed harvesting, no matter how good an idea I think it may be. As a matter of fact, I am not willing to assume any responsibility or liability for anyone who decides to embark on their own Guerilla Garden Tomato Adventure. Just saying…if you get caught doing this you are on your own.
However….. if you are willing to take the risk of the Grape Tomato Police possibly breaking down your door and are willing to assume all liability, responsibility or legal/financial implications for your own guerilla gardening actions then according to what I’ve read here’s how you would go about embarking upon your own…..

Guerilla Garden Grape Tomato Adventure!

Step 1
Look around in your refrigerator or your counter for a spare grape tomato. If you bought a bunch and there’s a wrinkled one be sure to choose it-apparently, they seem to sprout better for some reason.

Step 2
Fill a 10-12” pot with indoor potting soil.

Step 3
Squish the grape tomato with your fingers and try to separate the seeds from the pulp.
Note-Kid’s love this job! Discard the pulp and spread the seeds evenly around on top of the soil and then cover with about 1 inch of dirt.

Step 4
Check your tomatoes everyday for water.
Keep the soil moist (do not let it dry out!) and in a week or two you will see a bunch of seedlings pop up. When they are big enough to grab, separate them and then transplant them into different containers. Note: The Brooklyn Seed Company has a really good tutorial on making self watering containers out of old pop bottles. These work great for those people who are not known to adhere to a strict watering schedule and would rather use their garden budget to buy more plants and seeds than spend it on containers.

Step 5
Harden the plants off and then plant them outside in the garden. Before transplanting to the garden be sure to fill the hole with rotted manure or compost. Tomatoes love this type of crap!

Step 6
Pick and enjoy the taste of your homegrown grape tomatoes. Note-if you used a Santa Sweets® grape tomato you also might want to keep your eyes out for the Grape Tomato Police…..just saying!

Additional Tomato Growing Facts and Tips for Success:
– Start tomato seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last anticipated frost in your growing area. In other words if you live in the Pacific North West and you don’t have some tomatoes started you should be starting them now!
(March 15th is ideal)March Guerilla Gardener-You can also plant tomato seeds directly outdoors in May but your yield will be limited.
-Any tomatoes (not just grape tomatoes) will work using this growing method but organic and heirloom supermarket tomatoes are more likely to grow true to seed. FYI-be aware that some tomato varieties might also have a copyright/trademark/patent tomato-rule-thing, so try this at your own risk.
-Choose the best tasting tomatoes but for a variety of reasons don’t be surprised if the tomatoes that you produce do not look like the ones you bought. Just remember, you’re most likely using tomatoes that you were going to throw out anyways, and as a guerilla gardener you should never look a gift tomato in the mouth.
-Some (but not all) supermarket type tomatoes are indeterminate –in guerilla garden simple speak they don’t usually do well in pots as they can grow quite large so they do best when transplanted directly into the garden. Also be aware that they may need a heavy duty trellis or a fence as a regular tomato cage usually doesn’t stand a chance of holding up most indeterminate tomatoes. Here’s the catch, you will most likely have no way of knowing if they are actually indeterminate. If space is an issue, just remember it’s only a old wrinkled tomato anyways so it’s worth trying to grow it in a large pot.
-When transplanting tomatoes outside (approximately the end of May/early June) place them where they will receive 6 or more hours of sun.
-When watering tomato plants apply water directly to the roots and try to keep water off the leaves. If possible plant under the eves on the southern side of the house to keep the rain off the leaves as well. This lessens your chance of blight.
– Keep your tomato plants well watered. Tomatoes are approximately ninety percent water and if they are not watered enough the tomatoes will end up being shriveled and sour.
-If you don’t see any bees or butterflies around the little yellow tomato flowers then pollination might be an issue. This means that you won’t get very many tomatoes. You can solve this by taking a Q-tip or a small (unused) paint brush and start poking it in all the flowers. This kind of works like artificial insemination for plants. Or if you are like me you can just go all guerilla gardener and grab your tomato plant occasionally and give it a shake to distribute the pollen and then give it a good talking to. Either way pollination will take effect and you will be rewarded with more tomatoes.

My only dilemma now is just what type or brand of tomatoes am I going to buy from the supermarket for my Guerilla Garden Grape Tomato Adventure.

PS-I know what you’re thinking;
When it comes to tomatoes
Does she, or doesn’t she?
Well, only my accomplices will know for sure!

GG_water-cart_Grey

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February Guerilla Gardener

February is the month known for love.
While most people are hoping for a Valentine card or some flowers, there are some gardeners out there that are still old school, eagerly standing by the mail box waiting for the seed catalogs to arrive. Then there are the Internet savvy gardeners who simply cannot wait and will be found impatiently surfing the internet looking for seeds, information or gardening ideas online. Either way everybody wants a love garden (or loves a garden) and if you are a guerilla gardener your always looking for new ideas. How do you know you’re if a guerilla gardener for sure?

You Might be a Guerilla Gardener If:

-You plant anything you want, where ever you want, and think that “totally out of control” should be considered as an acceptable type of gardening style.

-You have been known to pocket seeds from various public parks and gardens and have a couple of Ziploc bags on hand for just such an occasion.

-You have been known to commit random acts of gardening on properties that don’t belong to you!

-You know 101 ways to kill a slug – and take great delight on days when there is an exceptionally large body count.

-You know how many bags of fertilizer your car can hold and you are now thinking that this type of crap could make a nice Valentine’s Day present.

-You can amuse yourself for more than an hour with a hose in one hand and a cocktail in the other.

-You think there are only two rules for composting-stop throwing that stuff away and pile it up somewhere.

-You believe that a weed is just an unloved flower-it’s your story and you stick to it. Especially when they run out of roses on Valentine ’s Day at your local flower shop.

You also might be a guerilla gardener if you love gardening so much that every spring you and your friends (a.k.a. accomplices) drive 45 minutes to a large commercial greenhouse (possibly firing seed bombs out the window on the way), fill an 8 ft pick-up truck full, including the front of the cab so that you can barely see out the front window and then head to another greenhouse, just in case they have something that you REALLY want.

And finally

As a Guerilla Gardener you believe that if a plant turns out to be unreliable, refuses to behave as advertised, or starts falling down all over the place, you rip it out, fling it onto the compost heap and let it die a slow lingering death while rushing off to find a replacement. After all there is no room in the “love garden” for plants with ugly dispositions. Note-some accomplices have even said that the same thing holds true for ex-husbands but in all honesty I cannot comment on that as there may be implications.
So this Valentine’s Day I suggest you plan and plant your own love garden to decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone else to bring you flowers. Or better yet, go all guerilla gardener and show some love combined with your own brand of Horticultural Therapy by unexpectedly planting some seeds in someone’s garden when they are not looking!

Brenda Dyck
Brenda Dyck
A Guerilla Gardener on an Adventure!

Brenda Dyck – The Past Year’s Thoughts on Gardening!
As a Guerilla Gardener I've never qualified for yard of the year but I have won weed of the week

A Guerilla Garden Award


January is the month where most people (including myself) tend to reflect on the past year’s experiences and give themselves a reality check in order to help promote a sense of well being and acceptance for the stuff that has happened in their lives. As a Guerrilla Gardener I’ve come to accept that:

-No plant ever looks like it does on the plant tag, seed packet or in the catalog – sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised, but sometimes it’s off to the compost heap!

-To make compost you simply stop throwing organic kitchen waste away and pile it up somewhere – this also goes for any misbehaving/ugly plants. Some call it a compost heap but I prefer to think of it as the place where plants are sentenced to die. As a Guerilla Gardener I take no prisoners!

-The only way to truly accomplish a no maintenance garden is to just plant weeds. To keep this in perspective you have to realize that all flowers are weeds, they are just weeds from another country.

-If your goal is to have a garden that has color all year round, then you might just have to place a pink flamingo or a colorful garden gnome in your garden in order to accomplish this.

-If you want it to rain, just thoroughly water your garden, wash your car or plan a wedding or a vacation for the time frame that you would like it to rain.

-It’s a fact, the scum of the earth actually comes in many different colors so just deal with it. Instead of trying to change your soil (clay, sandy loam, etc) use Google to search for plants that will thrive in the type of soil you have and the location of where you want to plant them. A little investigating on the internet can save a lot of time and back breaking work, and this is especially important if you are planting stuff on property that does not belong to you. If you are a Guerilla Gardener you might also be looking for plants that are low maintenance, so try adding it to the Google search critera as well. For example as a Guerilla Gardener on an Adventure living in Chilliwack I might type in the Google search bar “low maintenance plants that do well in clay soil in the Pacific Northwest

-I have observed that any vegetable planted in my garden will be at it’s peak when it can be found plentiful and cheap in the grocery store. Here in Chilliwack, even non-spray and organic seasonal vegetables are extremely affordable and available at local greenhouses, road side stands and farmer”s markets everywhere. However, I always manage to convince my self that my homegrown vegetables taste better. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

-It seems that the weeds always somehow manage to multiply in direct proportion to my effort to eliminate them. I swear they prolifically pop up out of nowhere, overnight, just to spite me!

-Rumor has it that if it weren’t for rainy days, no gardener would ever get their housework done. Well if that is true, then I’m thinking that those gardener’s obviously don’t have internet access and a Facebook account or they haven’t discovered Pinterest yet. And that’s all I have to say about that!

The final conclusion to the past year’s reflections, observations and garden thoughts bring to mind a quote from David Hobson, (AKA The Mad Gardener)
“Yup, gardening and laughing are two of the best things in life you can do to promote good health and a sense of well being.”
And as a Guerilla Gardener on an Adventure, I couldn’t agree more.

Here’s to gardening and laughing with my Guerilla Garden accomplices in 2015.

Brenda Dyck
Brenda Dyck
A Guerilla Gardener on an Adventure!

When it comes to decorating my house at Christmas there are always some decorations that are associated with some great memories. The pinecones collected while on camping trips with various friends, the miniature birdhouse tree ornaments made by a friend who has since passed away, the handmade wire and glass decorations that spell out the word joy made by yet another close friend all have special memory associations as I decorate my tree. There are even miniature watering can tree decorations that were a gift from a favorite ex-boss of whom I have very fond memories. One of my favorite kitchen ornaments consists of animated cooking snowmen given to me by an ex-coworker turned friend. Even the BB King licence plate that was a souvenir of a concert I attended with my husband sits on a burlap runner on the mantle surrounded by minature trees and a string of lights. As I decorate my house I feel blessed to have these people in my life and for the memories they have given me.

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Fairy Garden Halloween

Not really sure if this is actually another fairy garden occupant or just a visitor to the Willow Lane Fairy Garden Cemetary. Someone (NO NAMES MENTIONED) suggested that it might just be the ghost of one of the cemetery’s occupants, but I’m thinking that slugs and snails having no skeletons of their own would look differently…..if you know what I mean.

The Poison Garden

Halloween is just around the corner and there are all sorts of local pumpkin tours, corn mazes and haunted houses to visit. However, if someone has enough money (or a credit card with a substantial credit balance) and they want to experience the darker side of gardening nothing could be creepier than visiting a poison garden in Northern England!
Alnwick Castle (filmed as Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter films) provides the perfect Halloween backdrop to this educational garden full of mystery and intrigue. The guided tour of The Poison Garden at Alnwick Gardens is a place where trained guides share fascinating myths, legends and truths of how plants have killed and cured throughout the ages.
Jane, the Duchess of Northumberland is responsible for creating the poison garden and she has had to overcome a lot of criticism and red tape to make her vision a reality. She even received (after much red tape and bureaucracy) special Home Office approval and licensing to grow drugs in the garden. This includes marijuana (the first of which was apparently stolen by a local enthusiast), opium plants and magic mushrooms. These plants now reside in cages to discourage people from trying to obtain free samples. The Poison Garden also includes some of the world’s most venomous and hallucinogenic plants, some so potentially dangerous that they are incarcerated in wrought iron cages as well. Additionally, there is around the clock surveillance to guard the safety of the public against potential terrorists, poisoners and would be drug enthusiasts.
I know your thinking to yourself…..how was she able to get a license to grow drugs!
Well…..arrangements were made for The Poison Garden to work with the Education Department’s Drug Awareness Team so they could develop programs using the plants to deliver a unique drug awareness message. For instance there is a humorous sign in the caged marijuana that says Keep off the Grass! What can I say, England seems to have a sense of humor when it comes to running a Drug Awareness Program that some countries (not mentioning any names but you know who you are) are lacking. Other drug awareness programs should take note: NO ONE LIKES TO READ YOUR BORING DRUG AWARENESS PAMPHLETS! People only read them when they are stuck waiting at a hospital or doctor’s office with no internet access and nothing else to read. And let’s face it how often does that happen.
However, it seems that people will actually pay to take an educational guided tour of a garden that contains both drugs and poisonous plants. The Poison Garden’s appeal of danger and illicit drugs is exactly what lures people to engage in a fascinating educational experience about the darker side of gardening.
The tour begins with a trained guide in front of a large set of locked spider and poison ivy covered wrought iron gates. Garden guides unlock the gates and issue a stern warning at the outset of tours: “Do not touch any of the plants. There are plants here that can kill you.” Once the giant gates have been locked behind you there are cobblestone paths through the ivy-covered tunnels that open up into a courtyard filled with flame-shaped beds containing poisonous plants. Ironically, poisonous plants are usually the most beautiful ones in the garden and like weeds, tend to grow prolifically.
Some of the deadly plants you may come across in The Poison Garden are:

Deadly Nightshade-it is one of the most toxic plants found in the Western hemisphere. Just three of the sweet-tasting berries (known as Satan’s cherries) are enough to kill.
Bearded Darnel-a poisonous grass that increases it’s danger by attracting the toxic fungus Ergot.
Castor Bean Plants-considered the most deadly of all natural poisons, ricin was extracted from castor beans for chemical warfare in World War I. It’s potency proved it too risky for both sides and it is rarely used now except by terrorists.
Hemlock-used for ancient Greece’s compulsory suicides, most famously by Socrates. Rapid physical deterioration is accompanied by the mind remaining clear to the end.
Strychnine-also known as Quaker’s Button, is the source of the poison curare. The most dramatic symptom of being poisoned by strychnine is a posthumous fixed grin.
Henbane-in the right dosage it will take someone to the doors of death, but not through them. The victim will look convincingly dead, but will most likely recover.

You will also learn that some of the most common gardening plants such as Foxglove, Datura, Hydrangeas and Lily of the Valley are extremely poisonous and could endanger children or pets. So you may actually have your own Poison Garden growing and not even know it! If this is an issue for you (due to kids and animals who never listen) then check Google for poisonous plant lists (or go all old school to the library) to help you identify what poisonous plants are growing in your yard.
Then the choice is yours- you can  either remove all the poisonous plants or start putting cages around them and charging admission. Just an idea for your closed garden Mr. Brian Minter!
Note-I would recommend obtaining government approval and a license (or at least have bail money on hand) before trying to grow drugs for “educational” purposes!

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween!

Brenda DyckA Guerilla Gardener on an Adventure!

 

 

September Guerilla Gardener
How to Save Tomato Seeds

Most plant seeds can be saved simply by collecting the seed pods as they dry, but saving tomato seeds is a little trickier. The tomato seeds are enclosed in a gelatin like covering that has growth inhibitors to prevent the seeds from sprouting inside the tomato. Mother Nature being the genius that she is, also uses the gel to glue the seed to the soil until it has a chance to grow roots. In nature this gel covering is removed when the fruit falls off the plant and it starts to rot. As a Guerilla Gardener who is always looking for free seeds (potential seed bomb material) and who is currently the proud owner of 3 delicious heirloom Hawaiian Current tomato plants I feel the need to embark on a Tomato Seed Saving Adventure!
The itinerary is as follows:

Step 1: Choose your Tomatoes

• It is recommended that you save seeds from open-pollinated tomato varieties as they will grow up to be exactly like the parent plant. Hint-the original plant tag or seed packet will usually have “heirloom” written somewhere on it. Hybrid tomatoes are the offspring of 2 different tomato varieties and as it turns out are not the best choice for saving seeds. The hybrid seeds may not germinate and if they do manage to sprout its a crap shoot on what your going to get. The plant could exhibit traits of one or both parent plants or be something totally different.
• Remember to choose only the best! When selecting tomatoes to save seeds from, you want to only select the ones that are of the very best quality. They should be fully ripe, but not over-ripe, no cracks, no bugs, no disease and no mutant shapes..

Step 2: Extract the Seeds

• Wash the tomatoes.
•Slice large tomatoes in half and using your finger scoop out the seeds into a bowl, cup or jar. If you are using cherry or current tomatoes just squish the seeds out of them directly into container. Note-most children are only too happy to help with this!
• Cover the seed gunk with two to three inches of water.
• And most importantly if you are saving seeds from more than 1 variety be sure to label your containers! Trust me on this- you will never remember which variety of seed is which and even if you do SOMEONE (no names mentioned) will have most likely moved the containers around.

Step 3: Ferment the Seeds

• Allow mixture of tomato gel and water to sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours. This will help breakdown the gelatin like coating on the seeds.

Note: Old school gardeners have been known to use the fermentation process in which tomato seeds are allowed to ferment in a glass of water until a smelly/moldy scum forms on the surface, then the seeds are rinsed and dried. However, several recent studies  have shown that tomato seed germination works best when seeds are soaked for only one to two days before they are rinsed and dried. It turns out that if you ferment tomato seeds longer than three days it has a negative effect on germination.
This is great news for someone like me who doesn’t want a glass of smelly/moldy seeds sitting around.
So here’s kicking it to new school garden rules that are backed by science!

Step 4: Rinse the Seeds

• Add a little water to the container, stir the mixture several times and then wait about 10 seconds. Tomato seeds that float are bad seeds and are not viable. The tomato seeds you want to save are the seeds sitting at the bottom. When it comes to seeds the bottom feeders rule!
• Pour off the liquid and scoop out the floaters (bad seeds).
• Repeat the rinsing process as needed until all the gunk is rinsed from the seeds, the water is clear, and no seeds float to the top of the cup.
• When seeds are thoroughly rinsed pour them into a fine wire mesh sieve to strain out the remaining water.

Step 5: Dry the Seeds

• Spread the rinsed seeds in a single layer on a paper plate, a coffee filter or a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and protect the seeds from direct sunlight by placing a paper towel loosely on top.
• I can not stress this enough…if you have saved seeds from more than one tomato variety be sure to label them!
• Shake the plate or stir seeds daily to prevent clumping and then spread seeds back into a single layer after stirring. This will assist in even drying.
• Allow seeds to dry for 1-3 weeks until they feel dry and papery and crack when broken in half or crushed. Don’t feel bad about this…when guerilla gardening there are always a few casualties! Adequately dried seeds will make a faint snapping noise when broken in half or crushed. Seeds that bend or still seem flexible rather than snap will need to be dried longer.

Step 6: Store the Seeds

• Store dry seeds in either paper envelopes or zipped plastic bags. Glass jars and pill bottles are also good storage options.
• Make sure seeds are 100% dry before storing them, especially if using plastic bags. Otherwise, you will just end up with a bag of mildew and rot that will ruin your seed collection.
• Label seeds with variety and date. This is important! When cleaning out your junk drawer several years later you will want to know what kind of tomato seeds they are and how long they have been in there for.
• Store seeds in a cool, dry place. Many gardeners store tomato seeds in the refrigerator or freezer. Note-you can also add silica gel packets to saved seed bags as an additional moisture deterrent and to increase shelf life but it is not necessary.

Conclusion:

When tomato seeds are handled this way and are given cool, dry storage conditions, they can stay viable for 4 to 6 years, and sometimes longer. If it seems like too much work to do or if you happen to be saving a large volume of seeds and are short on time you can skip steps 3 and 4. The shelf life of tomato seeds that are dried without fermentation and rinsing may only be viable for 1-2 years, but that is usually plenty of time for any guerilla gardeners who might be thinking of some targets for Hawaiian Current Tomato Seed Bombs.

Veggie Bombs Away!

Brenda Dyck

A Guerilla Gardener on an Adventure!

August Guerilla Gardener

Things to do with Kids

School will be starting soon, and the way this economy is going you’re going to need to start stocking money away for school supplies. This is not only going to cut into your gardening budget but also the entertainment budget for the children. Let’s face it, if they’re not entertained they’re going to be bugging you that they’re bored. I don’t have children, but as a guerilla gardener (who has had previous nanny experience) I know that it is no way to enjoy the last of the summer! So here are a few inexpensive guerilla garden ideas I found on the internet to keep them entertained and your budget intact.

Soda Bottle Terrarium
A great recycling project that can even be done on rainy days. If you want to keep it really simple you can always go with the “instant” pop bottle terrarium. Either way, make sure to search the dollar store for some inhabitants.

Coffee Ground “Fossils”
This is a great idea for using up old coffee grounds and justification for yet another coffee break while the children are busy. If you don’t drink coffee you can apparently go to Starbucks and they will give you some coffee grounds for free. Remember as a guerilla garden you’re not cheap, (especially if your seen at Starbucks), you’re environmentally conscious.
Stick Vase
This is a brilliant idea for getting the sticks picked up around your yard. Just tell the children when they have enough sticks they will be able to make a vase to keep or give away as a gift.

Garden Treasure Hunt
This makes a great play date/birthday adventure. It takes a little time to set up, but the map is reusable and the “treasure” can be almost anything. Be sure to occasionally include having to “do” a gardening task (deadheading, watering, pick beans, etc,) before finding the next treasure. It’s not slave labor Mr. Social Worker, it’s creative fun!

Sea Shell Critters and Pet Rocks
So your kid’s have collected some seashells at the beach or some rocks when they were camping and they’re always bugging you that they want a pet. Get some googly eyes, paint and permanent markers at the dollar store and let them make their own seashell critters and pet rocks to live in the garden.

The best case scenario of using this guerilla gardening tactic is that not only will your budget be intact, but you will involve your children in gardening by sparking their imaginations and creativity and create memories.
Worst case scenario is that they think your gardening ideas are lame, but if you force them to participate every time they tell you how bored they are, they will be sure not to say it again while in your presence.

It’s another guerilla garden win/win situation!
Brenda Dyck AKA a Guerrilla Gardener

June_2014_GuerillaGardenFairy
Fairy Garden Mania!

2014 is definitely the year of the fairy garden! Look around in any garden center and you will find tons of fairy garden items and accessories everywhere you go. Children, Irish people and even some adults all seem to be fascinated with the idea that fairies live among us.
However, evidence of fairies is slim and you can’t even begin to entice fairies into your garden without giving them a place to live. This year everybody seems to be on the fairy garden bandwagon and the fairies will have lots of choices for taking up residency. The competition will be stiff so you had better make your fairy garden stand out from the rest!
Here are a few tips to make sure your fairy garden the most enticing.

Step 1- Choose a Location:
A shady woodland fairy garden
If you want to attract woodland fairies then build your fairy garden in a shady part of the garden under a tree or stump and incorporate a fairy door at the base. This will create a fairy portal for the fairies to come through into your garden. Be sure to plant assorted ferns, hostas, bleeding hearts and other woodland plants. The drooping fronds of the ferns will give woodland fairies a secret place to hide and the hosta leaves make a nice canopy from the rain!
Note: You might also want to add some different kinds of moss as forest fairies love the soft, cool spongy feel of it on their feet.
A sunny flower fairy garden
Fairies love the same flowers as hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. Foxglove, forget-me-nots, heather, hollyhocks, herbs (especially thyme), marigolds, lavender, sweet peas and roses are some good choices. Make sure your flower fairy garden receives at least 6 hours of sun a day.
A container fairy garden
For those of you that live in a townhouse or an apartment a container fairy garden might just be the ticket to attract urban fairies. Use your imagination- a bird bath, a wooden crate, even a large wicker basket can be viewed as a potential fairy garden. For larger yards an old wagon or a wheelbarrow converted into a mobile fairy garden can be most appealing. Fairies like the added option of being able to relocate to a different part of the yard if they decide they don’t like the neighborhood.
A Guerilla Garden Fairy Garden
If you have decided to make A Guerilla Garden Fairy Garden on someone else’s property or on a public lot then you may not want to spend a lot of money. Thrift stores, flea markets and dollar stores are all great sources for inexpensive ready made miniature garden tools, furniture, tea sets, or other potential fairy garden items. However, if your feeling the least bit creative then Pinterest has lots of links and ideas on how to create inexpensive fairy houses, swing sets, fences, ladders, fairy furniture and accessories. When  guerilla gardening there is always a chance of garden theft. If your fairy garden stuff doesn’t cost a lot of money and any of it goes missing then you can just think of it as a personal donation to the Fairy Garden Emergency Fund!

Step 2- Give it Curb Appeal!
Remember, when creating a fairy garden the main key element is to keep it miniature and pay attention to the details.
Fairy paths and pathways
Create a path out of tiny pebbles/aquarium gravel or place small flat rocks as stepping stones to entice fairies to roam throughout the garden. A miniature patio or deck and fencing will also add to the curb appeal.
Fairy hideouts/lookouts
Be sure to include some gnarled drift wood and rock outcroppings. Fairies like to have lookout points to stand on and adding a small ladder made out of twigs to reach a lookout is a much sought after feature. Also, fairies being ever elusive tend to make their homes in gardens that provide lots of nooks and crannies for them to hide in.
Fairy water features
Fairies love to splash and play in water fountains and ponds but any water feature will suffice. It can be as simple as using a water proof container filled with water or a small tabletop fountain.
If you are concerned that your water feature may become a potential mosquito hatchery you can always use a small mirror to create a reflection pond or use glass marbles to create a stream.
NOTE: If possible add a miniature boat to your water feature -fairies find boat rides irresistible!
Fairy rings
Celtic folklore depicts fairy rings as gateways into fairy kingdoms where fairies gather and dance.
The best fairy rings consist of a ring of mushrooms that grow in a perfect circle. However other “Fairy Garden “Experts” have had success attracting fairies using resin mushrooms or placing stones, flowers or other plants in a circle to create a fairy ring.
Warning: Fairy folklore always warns humans not to stand in fairy rings. It is said that if you disrupt them or join the dance, you will be punished. I’m guessing that’s where the phrase “Don’t Piss off the Fairies” came from.

Step 3- Add Dwelling(s):
Fairy Houses:

Legend says that fairies will come and live in a house they like-so choose carefully. For instance, woodland fairies prefer to live in homes made out of twigs, rocks, and other natural materials where as urban type fairies are only too happy to live in a home made from recycled materials. Also, some fairies are very social and will only move into fairy villages or fairy condominium complexes.
Ready-made fairy houses can easily be bought by the Creatively Impaired  but if you have access to a computer and are feeling all crafty just Google “how to make a fairy house” for inspiration and instructions. Keep in mind that no matter what fairy house option you decide on it should be able to withstand the elements if it’s going to be a permanent structure.
Children should also note that sometimes fairies like to choose an empty fairy garden lot and then custom build their house.

Step 4-Inhabitant(s):
Statues and Figurines
:
As real fairies are somewhat hard to get hold of you may want to populate your fairy garden with store bought inhabitants. It is rumored that because the fairy garden is a magical place statues and figurines come to life but if humans are around they become statues again.
Also it has been said that with the assistance of a boy child sometimes gnomes and elves have been known to build a Gnome Home and take up residence in a fairy garden. This is acceptable but do not under any circumstances let any of the Transformers move in as it can lower the Fairy Garden Property Values in your neighborhood! I’m sorry to say but this also applies to Barbie and her friends too.

Before embarking on your own fairy garden adventure remember that creating a fairy garden is a fun way to get small children involved in gardening. With a declining/aging gardening population this is more important than you think! Be sure to move or add accessories to the fairy garden as “evidence” that fairies actually inhabit your garden. Not only will the children “Believe” in fairies but the memories they will have of gardening with you will last a lifetime.

Let the Fairy Garden Adventure begin!

Guerilla Garden Seedbomb

Brenda Dyck
A Guerilla Gardener on an Adventure!

Guerilla Gardener Internet Funnies
World Naked Gardening Day

From Wikipedia:
World Naked Gardening Day (WNGD) is an annual international event celebrated on the first Saturday of May by gardeners and non-gardeners alike. According to NBC’s Today News, WNGD “has become an annual tradition that celebrates weeding, planting flowers and trimming hedges in the buff.

Note: the World Naked Gardening Day (WNGD) organization does actually have a website but I’m not providing a link because some things just can NOT be unseen.

I can guarantee that this is one Garden Holiday
that I will not be participating in!

Guerilla Garden Seedbomb

Brenda Dyck
A Guerilla Gardener on an Adventure