Sunday, July 6

My Own Guerrilla Garden Project-Portland, OR

So this summer I have been working on a big project right behind my house.  My duplex backs up to acres of  wild Himalayan Blackberries that serve as a buffer to the railroad and free way. As a side note, the Blackberries sound like a lovely asset, but in the Pacific NW they are one of the top 10 most unwanted plants. Just one yard of infected land can have 500 canes.

It is the same land that is behind my community garden down the street. Luckily you can't see this eye sore from my house. It is behind a wall of fifteen,  8 ft cedar firs. I have enclosed some photos of how the land looks right now after working on it for a few weeks. I plan over the summer to do more posts on the progress of turning this wild land into a workable garden.

This gives you an idea of what I am dealing with. Behind the wall of weeds
is a 20-30 foot immediate drop
Here are the nasty Blackberries. There are acres of them.
 Here is a definition of the term Guerrilla Gardening in case you have never heard of it:

  1. Guerrilla gardening is the act of gardening on land that the gardeners do not have the legal rights to utilize, such as an abandoned site, an area that is not being cared for, or private property.

This land behind my house had been used by my neighbors nine Mountain Goats, who are the only ones that seem to love eating the Blackberries. So with the help of my neighbor Dan and his goats, I have taken over as much of the land I can to garden. My, what a project this is turning out to be. It certainly keeps me busy. I think it will take several years to get it in decent shape. For now I am able to do some gardening with a couple of small raised beds. Along with the weeds, another problem I have is that the sun is very strong all day. It sounds crazy, but it is almost too hot.

I put in two raised beds.
This weekend I found some drawers on the street while on my walk with my dog RC. I made several trips to take them back to the back garden to use them as mini raised beds.  This is something I have seen many Portland Gardeners do. My next project is to fill them with soil and plant herbs in them. Any ideas on what herbs have shallow roots?

Future mini herb beds.
Right now other vegetables I have planted are Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers, Winter Squash, Beans and Cucumber. I threw down a few flower seeds such as Cosmos, Zinnia and Sunflowers just to cover any areas that I pulled weeds. Right now I just feel like I pull weeds and they grow back in a few weeks. My worst weeds are the Blackberries and Horseradish.

Beans along the fence

So far I have a system with the weeds where I pull them out and immediately take them over to the goats. They now make a ton of noise when I am working back there because they know they are going to get fed.

Okay, so that is it for now. I hope I can show you more progress next week. Has anyone done any Guerrilla Gardening before? I know it is common here and well received. I would not suggest you do this in all areas of the country.
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