What if Guerilla Survival Gardening Could Save Your Life?

Have you given any thought to the intriguing possibilities of guerilla gardening? I read a while back about some people doing it in California. They’re growing flowers, vegetables, and herbs in traffic medians and other public places, right out in the open. If you tried planting in the front lawn of your local insurance agent’s building, he might not like it. Nonetheless, I admire the resourcefulness and creativity of those who are growing in places that are out of the ordinary.

No doubt you’ve heard of marijuana being grown in some of our national forests. That isn’t the kind of guerilla gardening I’m talking about. But what about growing some vegetables in the wilderness? Perhaps you could try this on your own piece of land, if you have such a place, or you could get permission from a neighbor to grow on his land. If you live in the city, do you have friends in the country who would let you try this?

Why guerilla gardening in the wilderness? It could provide a food supply no one else knows about. Thieves are stealing vegetables from gardens in England. In the event foragers get that idea where you live, you’ll want to have a little insurance. What if you have to evacuate your home? You could take advantage of your wilderness garden down by the river or some other out of the way spot. Remember, think what you would do for survival in extreme situations.

Yes, you can forage for what the wilderness already has to offer, such as: dandelions, wild onions, wild parsnip, lambs quarters, mushrooms, purslane, chickweed, and cattails. The idea here is to grow something you’re already familiar with, something you and your family could readily eat. Here are some possibilities. Try the hardy Egyptian onions, also called walking or top setting onions. I know of someone who has grown garlic, potatoes and broad or fava beans without the stress of everything else wanting to eat them.

Try some pole beans which will climb up trees. Let them go to maturity so you’ll have a supply of dry beans for baking. If you are able to visit your wilderness garden with some regularity, you may want to try an easily grown salad green or herb of your choosing.

Be aware that animals are going to plunder your guerilla gardening paradise. That’s something you’ll have to live with, so plant more than you think you’ll need. Guerilla gardening in the wild is sustainable, organic and has very little impact. You’ll want to be very observant of your surroundings and gain some familiarity with your chosen piece of paradise. Visit the spot occasionally to see how much sun or water it receives. What about microclimates that may affect plants?

Everything has a purpose or use. For example, forest floor detritus and animal droppings provide fertilizer. As for those weeds or wildflowers, you may pull them out or cultivate them. You could leave them alone and let them flower to attract bees. As for grass or weeds turn them over and leave them in place, since they will decompose and become food for your plants.

As mentioned above, you can eat what already grows in the wild. Since most of us are unfamiliar with wild edible plants, it’s necessary to have a reference book or two on the subject. Get a copy of Edible Wild Plants and Herbs: A Pocket Guide, by Alan M. Cvancara. It’s designed for quick reference and will fit easily into a backpack, pocket, or dry bag. It’s attractively packaged in water-resistant and tear-resistant covers. This book provides concise, easy-to-understand details on the identification and edibility of 50 of the most common plants in the U.S. and Canada, including what you need to know to avoid poisonous plants.

Click on the title, Edible Wild Plants and Herbs: A Pocket Guide, wherever you see it linked in this post. You’ll be taken to the page where you can order your copy. Eating nature’s offerings and practicing guerilla gardening are both important because survival means adapting and knowing your options.