Late Night Digging

Last night when I cut up tomato-plants and put them their final destination, I realized had too many leftover. I gave some away to friends and gifted away the rest to people that didn’t really know they had a present on the way. A little late night digging…

Tools of the trade.

Some time ago I reviewed a book on guerrilla gardening (you can read about that here if that tickles your imagination) and I wrote in that review that I wanted to try my hands on planting stuff in places you are not supposed to plant. I have three different kinds of flowers growing on the kitchen counter right now that I’m patiently waiting for to grow up slightly so that I can set them free out there in the big, wide world.

But, as the intro spoils, I had plenty of tomato plants (cherry and regular ones!) from my replanting here at home so I decided to stuff my backpack with the leftovers and a tray of sunflowers and head out with my girlfriend to see if we could find suitable homes for them. We didn’t have a plan. Just a few plants and a lovely night outside.

Both of us giggled as we put down the first sunflowers outside a preschool in our neighborhood and both looked over our shoulders as we were digging up the dirt to place down the first plants. We distracted a guy walking his dog and he paused for a brief moment and watched us carefully split open the soil. I can only imagine what was going through his head. As he continued on his stroll, we finished up the tray of sunflowers next to the chain link fence.

Left: Planting some sunflowers next to a chain link fence by a preschool.
Right: Freshly planted tomato plant in a flower bed inside a school yard

“Do you think they will make it?”

With so many natural enemies around (kids, dogs, nosy preschool teachers, anyone walking by and pushing someone else into the path of the poor sunflowers) it was hard to not feel a bit anxious about the poor sunflowers. Would they survive this hostile environment we gave them? Lets have a little faith. The spot we picked out for them is on our way to a local supermarket so we can keep an eye on them from time to time.

A little bit further up the street there is a school for kids ranging from 1st to 6th class where they had a long stretch of flowerbeds outside the school buildings. This would be the spot for our tomato plants. Sneaking around on a school yard at ten in the evening felt a bit strange, but we were doing it for a good cause.

We were discussing tactical positioning so they wouldn’t stick out too much from the rest of the bushes, flowers and grass in the flowerbeds – Giving them a chance to have a long, natural life.

I’m growing tomatoes by slicing up tomatoes and putting them directly in small containers and cover them with soil so the saplings come in large clusters, almost sticking together and with entwined root systems. At home I separate them to give them a bit more space to grow more fruits before I put them into big pots. Here, in the school yard flower bed, we decided to allow them to grow closely together in their little clusters. I have no idea if this is a good idea or not, but we will find out. Hopefully there will be little to no casualties.

I’ll come back with updates on the wild-grown tomatoes and sunflowers. I hope I can put the flowers into the ground soon. This was fun. Outside. Doing something you’re not supposed to. I hope they survive out there.

4 comments

  1. Last year, I had chamomile in pots on my stoop. Well, the wind must have spread the seeds because this year, the immediate area surrounding the stoop sprouted a bunch of chamomile. Unfortunately, the landscapers got them with their weedwackers. I hope your tomatoes and sunflowers have a better fate in store!

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  2. […] I promised to give an update on how the sunflowers and tomato plants I guerrilla gardened at a school some time ago and I have some bad news on that one: The plants didn’t survive the humans. I took a detour on my way home to check up on them, a few days before my girlfriend had taken a bike ride in the area and told me the plants was growing well. But when I arrived at the site they were gone. They had been removed and the removers didn’t even replace them with something, they just dug up the plants and left those parts of the flower beds barren. Nothing growing on that patch as far as I could tell, just some sad looking bushes. At least the experience taught me a lesson in being a better guerrilla gardener, so there is that. Perhaps it was a bit too ambitious? Perhaps I could have done the planting better to deter any vandals from doing their deed? Oh, well. […]

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