Posts filed under ‘guerilla gardening’

Extending the Season

By Alison Thompson

Nothing can revolutionize your vegetable self sufficiency quite as much as a polytunnel.  While the growth and survival of outdoor crops has a strict correlation with the weather, plants grown in a polytunnel or row cover have crucial protection from the elements, and can really help to extend the growing season by several weeks at each end.

A top quality commercially produced polytunnel can cost several hundred dollars, but it doesn’t have to be a budget blowing investment. You can make one on the cheap by building a structure using agribon, timber and sturdy PVC or copper pipe hoops.

Here’s a plan for a simple row cover that can be built in less than an hour, from Willi Galloway of  Digginfood.

Gardening with a polytunnel makes it easy to grow crops that don’t traditionally do well when grown outside in a temperate climate. In the height of the season, they are ideal for many tender plants, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, salad, eggplant and peppers.  Whereas traditional greenhouses tend to be quite small, a polytunnel or row cover is much more spacious (extra hoops mean extra length), so the easiest way to cultivate is to build raised beds and then rotate crops as you would outdoors, helping to keep pests and disease at bay.

Make sure to close your row cover up tight or iris the cat may jump in!

To take advantage of the spring extension, plant an early variety of new potatoes and some root crops such as carrots and spring onion seeds, which can all be sown in three months before last frost—they’ll be ready to harvest three months later. Similarly, beets can be germinated in a propagator and then the seedlings transplanted into the tunnel in two months before your last frost date, for an extra early crop.

With your polytunnel, salad crops can be grown for both early and late cropping.  Sow seeds for a winter hardy salad in early October, (just in time to let them germinate and gain a little growth for overwintering) and by February and March you will be picking young salad leaves.  Then, later in the summer, plant lettuce, herbs and mustard greens to have great winter salad after frost hits. The four degrees of frost protection you’ll get with the polytunnel goes a long way, and with some careful planning, you’ll be in the green well into winter.


March 12, 2010 at 3:28 am Leave a comment

Gardens Without Borders: Seed Ball Workshop this Saturday in Brooklyn

sprouting seed balls spreading the love

I received an email from Rebecca, my fellow partner in crime at DineIndie, about a very cool guerilla gardening workshop this Saturday, March 21, in Brooklyn where you can learn to make seed balls. Yes, seed balls, which will then be tossed, thrown, and cast, ninja style, into abandoned lots and neglected patches of land all over North Brooklyn. The event is organized by the Neighbors Allied for Good Growth, who received a large donation of seeds from Crest Hardware in Williamsburg, and ClaySpace 1205 in Greenpoint, which will then be used to spread wildflowers and vegetables around the city.

The seed ball movement (also referred to as seed bombs or grenades) was first started New York City in 1973 by the Green Guerillas, who threw wildflowers all over Bowery, starting the city’s first community garden.herbs lettucs and amaranth seed ball garden

herbs lettuce and amaranth seed ball garden

The seeds are encased in a mixture of clay and compost, creating a microenvironment that prevents them from drying out in the sun, getting eaten by birds, or blowing away. Rainfall starts the process, and the seeds sprout and grow from the soil inside the ball. So, just toss, and sprout!

“Take Back North Brooklyn!” Seed Ball Workshop Details:

What: Neighbors Allied for Good Growth will be constructing seed balls on Saturday, March 21st, and distributing them on Saturday, March 28th to be cast into abandoned lots and neglected patches of land all over North Brooklyn

Where: 101 Kent St. at North 8th, Brooklyn, NY

When: March 21, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.


Contact: Emily for more info

Can’t make it this saturday? This guy shows you how to make them seed balls at home (doubleclick thru to Youtube to watch):

March 19, 2009 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment

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