The Scoop: Guerrilla Gardening in Brooklyn

Kimberly Sevilla, Owner of Rose Red & Lavender in Brooklyn, NY, has decided to try her hand at guerrilla gardening, which is the practice of gardening on land owned (and usually neglected) by another person or entity.

Rose Red & Lavender is a full-service flower shop and organic garden center located in the East Williamsburg neighborhood. They specialize in organic gardening with heirloom variety plants and grow many of the vegetable starts in a greenhouse behind the store.

Kimberly Sevilla got the idea to plant guerrilla vegetable gardens from a neighbor of hers. Last year, they had a demonstration garden planted in an EarthBox, which is a self-watering garden container. A homeless person walking by took one of the ripe tomatoes from the tomato plants growing in the container. When a neighbor commented that homeless people were stealing her tomatoes, she said, “He probably was hungry. I don’t mind at all.”

This past spring, the same neighbor reminded Ms. Sevilla of the story and how nice it was that she did that for the people who need help the most. After that conversation, Ms. Sevilla decided to plant extra seeds in the hopes of creating some guerrilla gardens.

These gardens are now mature and are starting to yield some edible food.

The largest garden can be seen in a vacant lot at 651 Metropolitan Avenue. It replaced a dilapidated fence from stalled construction and has already yielded a few eggplants and tomatoes, which mysteriously disappear as soon as they are ripe. Other vegetable gardens containing zucchini, peppers, eggplants and tomatoes can be seen scattered around the neighborhood in public tree pits.

By waiting until later in the season and using mature plants, Ms. Sevilla was able to give her plants a head start in life and avoid problems with weeds. She uses composted manure from the Federation of Black Cowboys in Brooklyn to feed the vegetable plants and Cocoa Hulls from the Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory in her neighborhood to mulch the soil. Plants were grown from seed from The Hudson Valley Seed Library.

Ms. Sevilla has over 20 years of gardening experience and takes pride in creating low to minimal maintenance plantings using organic gardening techniques.

Ms. Sevilla is hoping that others will join her in creating guerrilla vegetable gardens in unused bits of soil. She is happy to teach others the ins and outs of guerrilla gardening and to help feed those in need.

Vist Rose Red & Lavender

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One thought on “The Scoop: Guerrilla Gardening in Brooklyn

  1. An English friend just told me about an experiment in her Cheshire village – food plants have been scattered among the other plantings in flower beds and containers. The public was told to help itself, and the ripe veg are being taken as they mature.

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