Urban Homesteading, cont’d*

And now for the update on my mad gardening skillz…complete with first harvest/two easy peasy meals made from items lovingly grown by yours truly.

You be (bas)illin’

At planting time (approximately 2 months ago):     basil

Currently, 5 out of 6 4 out of 6 starter plants recommend my gardening talents (that sneaky one on the inner right side is technically an attached offshoot of the second plant in from the end!)


You say toh-may-toes


I say, “can’t wait to make a tomato sandwich!”

you say to-mah-toI say to-may-to

There are three that are starting to ripen–they’re low and inside the pot, so I am hoping the birds will not have the chance to enjoy them before me. In years’ past, by the time I looked out the kitchen window to see a red ‘mater and the 30 seconds it took me to walk outside, they always managed to swoop in and peck my ‘mater (that sounds dirty, but I assure you, it is not).

I’m a pepper, you’re a pepper…

I don’t have a before shot for the three pepper plants, but they are growing like gangbusters! It was a little rocky after I first planted them and we had a crazy storm that blew them all over and they lost a lot of dirt, but, as you can clearly see from the multitude of peppers below, I triumphed!

pepper family

wouldntcha like to be a pepper toopicka packa peppers

A Sage for the Ages, But Neither Pine, Nor Apple

No before pix of pineapple sage, but it was just an itty bitty thing when I planted it and look at it now!

pineapple sage

I have been steeping it in sun tea and am thinking of creating mojitos this weekend (it worked with the loquats that grow like crazy around us!). It’s even getting ready to flower, and they look like they will be pretty and red.

The Honeymooners Special: Lettuce Alone

lettucelettuce alone

Not quite ready for a salad, but they’re getting there…and 100% of plants planted remain alive!

Gettin’ Figgy With It

One of the fruits of my labor (see what I did there?) that I am most excited about is the figs! Again, no before pic but I assure you this guy is thriving.

gettin' figgy with it   figgy 2

Can you see the tee-tiny baby fig? So far there are three whole fruits, which should be ready to enjoy sometime next month.

Eggs-cellent plants

Speaking of thriving, most of the plants I grew from seeds sown in egg shells started strong but are mostly all failing to thrive (read: dead). Not sure if they don’t get enough sun on the front steps, or maybe using regular eggshells instead of organic ones is the culprit (I am 90% sarcastic here but 10% convince-able that this could be a thing).

The seedlings out front are still hanging in there but don’t seem to have grown hardly at all in two months, especially when compared to the eggplant seedlings growing in the back yard.

eggshell plants

You see the white of eggshell but no green, yes?

eggshell plants2

Three visible egg shells, one visible plant (possibly a tomato? It was pretty obvious when planted what was cilantro, what was sage, etc., but with most everything dead, I have no frame of reference).

failure to thrive  Tee-tiny sprouts, but better than dead!

eggplants, meh  Eggplants

And now, for the stars of first harvest:

1st garden harvest   My precious…

I halved and de-seeded the peppers, laid them over a bed of uncooked rice, covered everything with 2 cans of red enchilada sauce and popped it all in the over. After about 30 minutes of cook time at 350 degrees, I sprinkled shredded cheddar over everything and let it cook for 15 more minutes until all melted and bubbly and gooey. Added chopped tomato as garnish and we chowed down.

I bought Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything about 20 years ago and still consult it on the reg. I used his recipe for pesto, combining fresh basil leaves, garlic, toasted pine nuts, olive oil, and parmesan (I cheat and use the “green can” parmesan because I know we always have some on hand!), which I tossed with cooked rotini pasta and shredded zucchini that I briefly sauteed in olive oil. Chopped another garden fresh tomato (Brenda 2, birds 0!) for garnish and color. Both recipes were delicious!

Also, I’ve convinced myself to move all of the front porch pots to the back yard. Stay tuned to see if anything changes, I mean grows…

*this title is still entirely ironic.


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!







*This title is entirely ironic.