Guerilla Gardening

(originally posted on on 6/1/11)

Seems my love of finding new uses for old items has extended to the garden.  Or at least my love of all things free.

Recently Adam and I were watching the Today show, and chef Rick Bayless was a guest.  He was talking about the Sowing Millions Project that he’s involved in with the company Seeds of Change.  They committed to giving away 100 million seeds (you just pay the shipping).  Give away?  Free, you say?  Well, gee, I’ll try anything if it’s free.  So I went to the website, signed up for my free seeds, and promptly forgot all about it.  About six weeks later, after we moved into our new place, a big, unmarked manila envelope addressed to me showed up on my doorstep.  I love getting packages in the mail, and the best part is when I don’t expect them, so the giddy anticipation of finding out what was inside was delicious.  I carefully opened the package to find…dozens of packets of seeds, of course!


There were sunflowers and corn (LOTS of corn) and eggplant and different kinds of radishes and lots of different kinds of lettuce and beets and on and on and on.  I have little (okay, no) experience with vegetable gardening, and my backyard is mostly cement, but I’m proud to say I’ve done quite a bit of container gardening in the last few days and I also dug up the soil next to our fence and planted two rows of corn and two rows of sunflowers.  The daily excitement of watering them and seeing how much they’ve grown since the day before makes me feel like a little kid.  I can’t wait til they’re all growed up!  Pictures to come when there’s something a little more exciting to show you than just soil.

Speaking of gardening and free stuff, I’ve become addicted to trolling the free section on CraigsList looking for plants and pots and just about anything for the garden.  Having lived in an apartment for over a decade, I have no outdoor accoutrements.  But one man’s trash is often my treasure, especially if it’s going to live outside.  A little scrub, a little paint, and a little love is usually all it takes to make something usable and nice again.  And I can’t believe the stuff people give away for free.  A couple of nights ago I happened to see a posting for some free palm trees and aloe vera plants that someone had dug out of their yard and were sitting by the curb.  My conversation with Adam went something along the lines of:

Me:  You wanna get some free palm trees and free aloe vera plants?

Adam:  Sure.


Adam:  Oh, you mean now?

Me:  Duh.

So at 10pm we hopped in the car, basically in our pajamas (amateurs!) and drove to this house which wasn’t too far from ours.  However, the street had no lights, and my flashlight didn’t work, nor did we bring gloves or wear appropriae shoes (I had on flip flops – amateur!).  So hoisting a 5 foot tall, 100 pound palm tree covered in sharp spikes into the trunk of my car was amusing to say the least.  We made so much noise the owners came outside, although they were cool and informed us that one of the palm trees in their yard was in the movie The Ten Commandments.  Even trees in Hollywood get their 15 minutes, I guess.  They watched as we struggled with the palm.  Okay, we watched as Adam struggled with the palm, and I nonchalantly picked which of the 30 or so aloe cuttings I wanted.  Adam finallygot the palm in the trunk – incidentally, most of it sticking out the back end, and we gingerly and laughingly made our way home.  Okay, maybe I was the only one laughing.

Our plan is to plant the palm in a big pot, so we can take it with us wen we eventually leave, but Adam thought we needed to plant it somewhere right away so it didn’t die.  So at 11pm we were in our front yard digging a big hole to put the body, I mean plam tree, in.  It’ll be a little embarrassing when the gardener comes by (again, amateurs!), but so far it’s hanging in there.


Some of the aloe have made it into planters, but many are hanging out in a pot full of water at the moment.


Of course, the pots either came from garage sales ($2) or from the neighbor’s trash (free!).

Did I mention I love free stuff?