Tips for solo newbie's?

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Ray

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Tips for solo newbie's?
« on: February 03, 2008, 06:55:54 PM »
Hullo,

I've noticed smoe people, like myself, posting to see if there is anyone else nearby them who's GGing and it's making me wonder what we alone can do without a big group of people. I think it would be much more productive to be in a group but surely we can all help individually?

So does anyone have any tips, ideas or seeds of wisdom for solo guerrilla gardeners to get in on the action and start making the place greener?  ;)

Ta,
Ray.

Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2008, 12:54:47 AM »
Hi Ray!

  I've been going solo for years. In fact my girlfriend went with me for the first time Saturday morning. We planted a tree and picked up trash at one of my gardens.
I think the kind of plants you use depend on where you live. I live in southern California so I mainly use succulents because they hold up to the hot summers with no water. Lots of succulents form clusters that can be separated giving you more plants to be used elsewhere. Also, I use larger plants, in one gallon pots with a good root ball, not seeds. I know many use seed bombs but I can't keep seeds or seedlings watered enough. But seeds are much cheaper than plants if you have a way to get water to your area. I plant in the fall and winter so the plants can store up rain water for the summer. I use the spring and summer to propagate cuttings from my gardens for planting in the coming fall and winter. 

  I go early in the morning, usually on the weekends, because there's less people around and no city workers on the weekends. Around here there's lots of places on city and county land that's not landscaped. I like to do a planting just before or just after it rains. I think the plants do better if the ground has been or is going to be watered by rain. Also I water the plants the afternoon before to give them a boost. The plants I use don't need it but if you water the night before you might use some B1 to give them a boost.

  I scout out a location, pick the plants I'll use, and visualize the arrangement of the plants in my head. I'll load up my truck with the plants the night before so I can get an early start and I don't wake up my neighbors. I don't load up the tools until the morning because some one took all my tools one night when I left them in my truck over night. When I get to the site I set out all the plants first to get a better idea of the layout. Then I go to work planting. If I work pretty fast I can set up, plant about 40 plants, and clean up in about an hour. If I take pictures it's usually done when scouting out the site and on a return visit after a planting. I don't want to use my camera when I'm dirty and I can't watch it while I'm working.
Here's a link to some pictures of a couple of my gardens.http://community.webshots.com/album/562045026QcavTp?start=0

I rambled on here a bit! But I hope this helps!
Scott (bulbil321)

UPDATE-> Check out my web site ->http://socalguerrillagardening.org/
« Last Edit: December 19, 2008, 01:19:53 PM by bulbil321 »

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Ray

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Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2008, 03:04:54 PM »
Hi,

Wow thats all really useful stuff, thank you! A much appreciated 'ramble'.

Do you not find that it costs quite a lot to buy all the plants and equipment, as Im a very poor student so I really cant afford too much but at the same time I dont want that to hold me back from helping?

Thanks again,
Ray.

Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2008, 05:04:04 AM »
Ray, if you can, try growing from seeds. It all depends on the weather and the amount of water they get. I know some water their gardens. I'll water small plants but I try to use plants that can get by on the rain we get -- less than 4 inches last year!
I have bought a lot of plants over the years but a lot of my plants someone was going to throw away. I don't have any problem picking up a plant someone has set out for the trash. I'll bring it home and nurse it back to good heath. I also take seeds from plants. I have 100 King palm seedlings grown from seeds I picked up off the ground. I have grown dozens of silk trees from seeds I picked up. I planted a dozen of them in a garden on the side of a bike trail I ride. Unfortunately vandals killed all but one of them. BUT that one is about 15 feet tall now and it gives me shade when I take a brake on my bike ride. Link to photo -> http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/2954897800102823552QYXAoe
Where do you live Ray? As I said, I live in southern California and use succulents because they hold up in the summer and as they grow I take cuttings and "pups" to plant in another area. For example I'll plant an Aloe Vera plant and next year there will be several pups. I'll remove them and plant them next year and they'll put out pups. In a couple of years one plant can become dozens. I planted several individual Aloe noblilis plants a few years ago and now each one of those plants is a cluster of over 50 plants. I can remove some or all of them and plant them as individual plants that in time will form huge clusters again. Here's a link to a picture of a cluster of Agaves I removed on Saturday, January 2, 2008. http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/2603228260102823552DZLRdB There were over 40 good sized Agaves and over 15 littler plants. I'll pot them up and plant then next fall.

Bulbil321

Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2008, 09:21:12 AM »
Hi Scott,
How much do you know about planting in the Pacific Northwest.  Though we get a lot of rainfall, I live on Whidbey Island in the Olympic shadow, so our moisture pretty much comes from a perpetual state of fog and our summers are surprisingly dry.  But water isn't really the problem here.  Total lake of sunshine is.
Do you know of any low/no maintenance (hardy, native?) plants that thrive in the shade?
I know I live in a very green place, but I still want to do what I can and there are areas that have been taken over by weeds.  I want to bring back the beauty I envision when I think about the Pacific NW (most dripping from huge trees, dark/fresh earth, luscious ferns, wildlife) rather than the invasives that have taken over.
Any suggestions?
Disclaimer... I have a bit of a brown thumb.  I have good intentions, but I really don't understand the soil and climate here well enough to know what works.  Also, sprinklers are unheard of on the island.  People rely 100% on the rain and earth to cradle their gardens.  For some reason, I haven't been able to deliberately get anything to work.  Oddly enough though, I've grown things totally by accident and I have no idea how they are living... and thriving so well.

Also...I've heard that the best (fastest) way to deal with a weed ridden area is to cover it with newspaper to kill the weeds and then pour just enough potting soil over the top to hold down the paper.  Plants can then be planted through the paper and the paper decomposes over time.  That way, time is saved pulling weeds and the planting process can begin immediately.  Any thoughts on that?  Does it work?  The last thing I want to do is create litter in an area that I'm trying to beautify.

Nikki

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Ray

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Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2008, 01:51:20 PM »
Sorry for the late reply Bulbil, just to say many thanks for your info - its much appreciated and very useful!

Ray.
 :)

Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2008, 02:26:47 PM »
Scott, what you're doing is totally awesome.


Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2008, 07:30:34 PM »
Find a weedy spot. Remove the weeds and litter. Plant something hardy.

Lather, rinse, repeat. ;-)

Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2008, 08:44:29 AM »
Hey, all.  Interesting discussion!  I've got a 3/4 acre mainly weed-covered space (in the Asheville, NC area) with one very large and as-yet-unidentified tree, some berry bushes, and a few assorted wildflowers.  As a solo guerrilla, my idea is to work one area at a time by helping the good plants already there to propagate and "deleting" the grass/etc, and bring in other local flora as possible.  Any suggestions?  I'm concerned about taking out plants that would be cool to keep, as I'm not adept at plant identification.  If you'd like to see some pics of the site, I've uploaded them to:

http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/album/563592483xcqTXe?vhost=home-and-garden

If you want to help out, our Yahoo Group is wnc_guerrilla_gardeners

Thanks!

B.C.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2008, 03:51:55 AM by BugCatcher »
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Margaret Mead

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cannonsblazing

Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2008, 12:44:44 PM »
Bug!

Seeing just the leaf picture, I'd say the tree is some sort of beech but I'm not sure. The pictures of the entire tree makes e uncertain, but thera are many varieties of beech trees :)


Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2008, 03:59:57 AM »
We have ourselves an AMERICAN BEECH tree!  Check out the truck pic I posted!  Thanks for the help, cannonsblazing!
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Margaret Mead

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cannonsblazing

Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2008, 08:28:38 AM »
I rock!  ;) Haha

Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2008, 05:39:49 AM »
Hey y'all,
The garden people at Home Depot and/or Lowe's or even the local nursery are quite helpful on the local plant scene.  They can recommend lots of plants that suit our needs (drought tolerant and such).  They might also be sympathetic to our cause (aka discounts/markdowns), not sure on that just yet tho plants that are on their last leg do get marked down and can be nursed back to health.  Some plants self-propagate and provide you with what you need, Scott does a lot of this and I bet you can get more info out of him.

I just got an email from someone here in Phoenix so I hope we'll have something to report soon, maybe even a couple pics!!

Matt

Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2008, 11:15:48 AM »
I don't have any problem picking up a plant someone has set out for the trash. I'll bring it home and nurse it back to good heath. I also take seeds from plants.

I'm a great stealer of cuttings, too. I go for suburban walks a lot, and if
I find something I like, chances are I'll come back an hour or two later with a pair of secateurs wrapped up in a plastic bag. A quick glance around to make sure that no one's watching, then snip snip, a couple of good-sized lengths with a number of growth-buds on them. This is not theft - it's judicious pruning that hte owner of the plant should have done! then when I get them home, trim away most of the leaves, cut into segments with only two growth-buds (one to form leaves and one to form roots), dip the future root-bud in honey, and push them into el-cheapo potting mix in a recycled pot or greengrocer's foam box. A week later you'll have new leaves starting to show, especially with the honey treatment, and I have very few casualties. In fact, I was very vexed recently when a single stolen length of twig from an elderberry tree yielded three perfectly good cuttings, but only two of them took. I intend, as they get larger, to keep one for myself, and plant out a second on a road island nearby that already has a few trees and a lot of sunny space between them.

Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2008, 02:17:50 PM »
If you feel too conspicuous stealing cuttings, than "steal" the pods and dead heads of flowers for their seeds. People will think you are tidying the plants rather than steeling. This is a great time of year (in my area) for collecting seeds from Echinacea, Black-eyed Susans, Queen Anne's Lace, Poppies and many others.

The Seed Savers Exchange has a nice set of instructions for saving seeds from different types of plants. The list is divided into vegetables (at the top) and flowers further down.
http://www.seedsavers.org/instructions.html
GenkiTango 375

Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2008, 09:02:19 PM »
<amused> Oh, I don't mind the conspicuous thing. I wouldn't be overweight and constantly wearing a glaringly bright rainbow hat if I minded conspicuous.

Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2008, 02:01:54 AM »
*chuckle* That's a great image!
GenkiTango 375

Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2008, 03:30:58 AM »
Unknown plant #4 canna lily?  not sure

#5 can't tell what size it is just from this picture is it Monkey grass?

# 6 Iris!  Pretty sure. 

# 8 looks like a weed

# 9 I'd get rid of it.  unless it smells like it is an herb.  don't think so though.

# 10 could be buddliea can't tell


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llj71

Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2008, 10:54:11 PM »
My advice to you is to not invest a large amount of money on expensive plants.
I spent almost $150 on drought resistant plants, succulents (I live in Southern California) and soil just to have to pull them up and transplant them at my office. One good Samaritan started watering the plants from a second story balcony using a high pressure nozzle and after 3 weeks of that abuse the plants nearly died. People and their dogs also broke and trampled several of the plants.
It was kind of a heartbreaking experience for me.
I haven't given up on planting though. My main focus is on seed bombing and I can't wait to see what happens in the spring!

Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2008, 01:17:17 PM »
Hi lj!
Sorry to hear about you're gardening trouble. Don't give up. Over the years I had hundreds of plants trampled, vandalized, and stolen. So many I can't remember most of them. I had a garden with over 300 succulents completely removed by a developer putting in houses. Don't let this get you down about GGing. Move forward and soon you'll have more success's then problems. You did it right- If something bad happens at a site you work you can always move it to a new location.

lj, didn't we exchange emails about working together in Long Beach?  I'm getting plants ready and I have a couple of new locations in Long Beach and should be posting an event in the LBC in the next month or so. I'm also working my garden on Loynes ave. There's lots of work there. Weeding, gleaning, and planting some new plants. If you give me a hand you might go home with some cuttings!
Scott
AKA bulbil321
 http://socalguerrillagardening.org/

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llj71

Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2008, 10:51:08 PM »
Hi Scott, I'll send you an email and update you on my on again off again gimpy self. First a broken foot than as soon as that I healed I sprained my ankle....doh!

Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2008, 12:18:03 PM »
As a newbie, I'd like to do a few minutes here and there as it'll be difficult to coordinate with other people due to family commitments etc.
The issue that worries me is the safety aspect of going solo. The areas most in need are likely to be the most dangerous to be out on you own at night.

Would people recommend doing it in the day instead?
I think if you give the impression that you're entitled to be there people will just assume you've got permission.

Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2008, 01:39:40 PM »
Hi JamesA,
Where do you live?? I would suggest going in the early morning. Saturdays are good but I think Sundays best. People aren't going to work and where I live the tagger's and gangsters are hopefully burnt out from partying Friday and Saturday. I worked solo for over 20 years all around southern California (in good areas and bad) and I've run into lots of different people but I've been lucky and I've never had any trouble. Garden tools can be used to defend yourself so don't spread them around for someone to use against you. I ALLWAYS know where my tools are and which one I'd use to fend someone off. I try to look around a lot to see if someone is coming towards me. Read my post below for more solo (gardenig) tips. Have fun but be safe!
bulbil321
http://socalguerrillagardening.org/
« Last Edit: December 19, 2008, 01:44:58 PM by bulbil321 »

Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2008, 05:44:57 PM »
Another newbie here. Any recommendations for resources on native plants? I live in Charlotte, NC.

Re: Tips for solo newbie's?
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2011, 12:51:38 AM »
Ray, if you can, try growing from seeds. It all depends on the weather and the amount of water they get. I know some water their gardens. I'll water small plants but I try to use plants that can get by on the rain we get -- less than 4 inches last year!
I have bought a lot of plants over the years but a lot of my plants someone was going to throw away. I don't have any problem picking up a plant someone has set out for the trash. I'll bring it home and nurse it back to good heath. I also take seeds from plants. I have 100 King palm seedlings grown from seeds I picked up off the ground. I have grown dozens of silk trees from seeds I picked up. I planted a dozen of them in a garden on the side of a bike trail I ride. Unfortunately vandals killed all but one of them. BUT that one is about 15 feet tall now and it gives me shade when I take a brake on my bike ride. Link to photo -> http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/2954897800102823552QYXAoePassages Malibu Helpmale enhancement productWhere do you live Ray? As I said, I live in southern California and use succulents because they hold up in the summer and as they grow I take cuttings and "pups" to plant in another area. For example I'll plant an Aloe Vera plant and next year there will be several pups. I'll remove them and plant them next year and they'll put out pups. In a couple of years one plant can become dozens. I planted several individual Aloe noblilis plants a few years ago and now each one of those plants is a cluster of over 50 plants. I can remove some or all of them and plant them as individual plants that in time will form huge clusters again. Here's a link to a picture of a cluster of Agaves I removed on Saturday, January 2, 2008. http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/2603228260102823552DZLRdB There were over 40 good sized Agaves and over 15 littler plants. I'll pot them up and plant then next fall.

Bulbil321





Find a weedy spot. Remove the weeds and litter. Plant something hardy.

Lather, rinse, repeat. ;-)