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You can’t escape your redneck past, and I’ve given up trying.

I can only hope to contain it. With a tomato plant.

And that’s what precisely what I’m doing. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that our array of 5-gallon, recycled, food-grade white buckets housing tomato and ‘Kentucky Wonder’ green bean plants creates a visual effect that shall we say, might not call to mind the manicured grounds surrounding a typical brownstone on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. 

Indeed, were someone to happen upon it and subsequently learn that I was born in Alabama, they might not be stunned.

Nothing Like An Urban Farmer

Not that I’m the only guy in town just two generations removed from a farmer’s life somewhere else. A surprising number of devoted urban farmers around here. And if I had my way, we’d be planting crops in the ground.

Problem is our yard is mostly intended for sitting outside. DC is brutally hot and humid in the summer, but we enjoy the shade of a massive magnolia tree and a smaller dogwood. Great for grilling and growing ferns, not so much for vegetables.

Compounding the problem is my wife’s insistence that I not trim either tree. I took a single limb off the dogwood and I thought she was going to hold a memorial for it.

A Mobile Garden

The sunshine hits our yard on opposite ends morning and afternoon, making gardening quite difficult. But we’ve got a 6-year-old boy who seems interested in everything, especially plants and animals, so you can bet Dad was going to devise a way we could grow our own veggies. Kids find it amazing to see seeds germinate, because it is. Knowing how to grow food is a skill.

However … given the conditions, clearly beyond my control, we went mostly with containers we could move easily during the day to get enough sun or place on concrete that does get sun. As it turns out, 5-gallon buckets with holes drilled in the bottom are perfect for tomatoes, beans, broccoli, etc. All you need are 3-gallon buckets for kale and carrots. 

They’re highly portable. I didn’t say they’re pretty. Out back it’s starting to look like the home version of a vegetarian strip mall.

As usual with gardening, unexpected things already have happened. The green beans overwhelmed our rudimentary attempt at a trellis, and I bet you can guess what it looks like now. Some things you learn on YouTube, some things you just know. Full redneck response: Ya got your mesh netting, string trellis and a staple gun – all connected to the back porch from a white bucket.

It’s a stunner. I’m including a photo with this article because I’m pretty sure it’s not making Better Homes & Gardens. You want this kind of practical beauty, you come to Manopause.com. And check out those Kentucky Wonders.

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About The Author
David Meeks
David Meeks
David Meeks has never hesitated to speak truth to power. He’s uncovered shady coal mine operators in Alabama, corrupt politicians in Louisiana and supported single fathers in Florida. When New Orleans flooded after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Meeks, then Sports Editor of The Times-Picayune, refused an evacuation order. He commandeered a newspaper truck, assembled a team of journalists and won two Pulitzer Prizes. He has worked for the Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and was the Managing Editor of USA Today Sports. He is Alabama-born and Michigan-raised, and today lives with his family in Washington, D.C.
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