By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
Gorilla gardening has always fascinated me.
What a wonderful idea to sneak into an area during the night and plant a garden for everyone to enjoy.
Whoever thought of this idea should get the Nobel Peace Prize.
But I have often wondered why only flowers are planted and how are these plants watered.
The other day I found the solution that was like Eureka why did I not think of that. The solution to the watering problem is ooze tubes.
These wonderful tubes have been used for years to water trees but now are gracing gardens as a means of watering plants when you are away. So now the technology has got up with the idea of gorilla gardening but has now raised the bar to reach into the food desert that every city seems to be experiencing.
These ooze tubes they say hold water for up to 2 weeks and can be reused up to 4 seasons. Also making this water available to the plant at a constant rate increases yields by 4 times more compared to traditional ways of gardening. The ooze tubes seem to be the answer to every Gorilla gardener’s question, that is how do we water? But is it possible and would it be successful to Gorilla vegetable garden in the food desert even with this technology, that is a question I ask all tomato gardeners.
How wonderful it would be to see, instead of pretty invasive flowers planted along sidewalks and abandoned land, vegetable gardens with beautiful and useful produce instead of waste. This project would be simple and easy to do if we all just work together. And as the old African proverb says, it takes a village to raise a child; it also takes a city to feed its people.
So pull on the garden boots or clogs, grab the gloves, and shovel, ooze tube, tomato plants and a plan to change the food desert into a food oasis. To start, locate an area that is about 9 feet long and has good soil. Make sure you check with zoning in the city that you can garden in this area. Nothing beats having your hard work torn down due to city zoning. Next, plant the tomatoes as you would in any garden and stake them. Lie out the ooze tube and insert the drip line into the soil. Fill ooze tube with water and let the magic begin. These tubes will only have to be refilled every two weeks, so maintenance will be minimal.
I have a theory of how this will all work out for the gorilla vegetable gardener and the inhabitants of the food desert. At first the change will be from curiosity of the residences. But then once they recognize these plants as tomato plants the fruits of the gorilla gardener will begin to disappear by the cloak of darkness just like it appeared. Then people will start to migrate to the area to help take care of the gifts from the garden fairies that so often bring the home gardener surprises.
Come next year the inhabitants of the food desert will be looking forward to the garden surprise and the process will happen again. And while this affects a micro-area of the food desert it only takes one blooming plant to bring hope to the desert. If this movement continued before you knew it the once food desert would become a food oasis that helped all and not just a few.
I would like to challenge all tomato gardeners to think about gorilla gardening to help our neighbors, our community, and our nation. All it takes is the simple gesture of dropping off a container of planted tomato plants outside someone’s door to bring a change into their life. So until we blog again, remember that fingerprints do not fade from those we touch and touch can mean many different things.