Urban Homesteading*

After the last several years of “Tyler’s garden,” i.e., a huge portion of our yard dug up and planted with over a dozen rows of “crops” including everything from okra and squash to sunflowers and green beans, and involving renting a tiller from Home Depot, backbreaking additional digging, raking, and weeding (usually with Jack occupying the one “good” shovel to see if he could “dig to China”), combatting an assortment of man-eating mosquitos, fire ants, and gnats, and Tyler’s ultimatum that he would no longer be planting a garden for which Jack and I don’t help, this year I decided to scale back and try my hand at container gardening.

Working in a warehouse, I have access to free wooden pallets, so I began (of course) by plotting (pun intended!) my garden ideas on Pinterest. Jack and Ty got equally excited by free pallets and began making plans to make a tree house, albeit a grounded one as we have no trees big enough to support an actual tree house in our yard. I folded down my seats, laid down a tarp, and loaded in the max number I could fit in one trip, five pallets, in the first week of February (plenty of time to continue building my collection before planting time!).

As luck would have it, Tyler’s brother and sister-in-law came to Tybee for the weekend. The men were adventuring out to harvest oysters, necessitating that I unload the pallets so Jack and us girls could spend the day out and about and pick up libations and snacks to complement the (potential) oyster roast at day’s end. Long story short, we got home after the boys, and my pallets had all been broken down and used for firewood to fuel the outdoor fire pit oyster roast!

Fast forward to actual planting time. We stopped by Savannah Victory Gardens‘ seedling sale and checked out their offerings. Although our zucchini in previous years was always gangbusters (zucchini overabundance cliches exist for a reason!), we never had much luck with melons, so anything on a vine that spreads was out for my container plan. We selected several small 6 flats: lettuce, various peppers, eggplant, and basil; along with 2 heirloom tomato varieties. When I saw the sale mentioned in a friend’s FB post, I was excited b/c it was in an area none of us had ever been to, what  I suspected used to be the old Roberds Dairy Farm that I have heard reference to now and then. The idea that there is farm acreage so close to the Bonaventure Cemetery and waterways of Thunderbolt was difficult for me to wrap my brain around, but beautiful to finally tour. From there, we hopped over to Home Depot for some pots and a few more impulse-buy plants: a fig tree, pineapple sage, and 3 more kinds of peppers, along with a big bag of potting soil.

Somewhere along the line of my Pinterest-inspired garden, I pinned an idea to germinate seeds in used egg shells, so I had been saving the shells as I cooked with eggs, and purchased 4 packs of seeds for $1 at the dollar store: sage, tomato, cilantro, and spinach.

Here are pix of the first stage. Remember the Crystal Gayle 70s tune Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue? I am hoping to cheerfully be singing “Don’t It Make My Brown Thumb Green” if I am able to sustain and harvest anything from our garden this summer! Stay tuned!

Tomatoes

tomato

Lettuce

lettuce

Basil

basil

*This title is entirely ironic.

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