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It works!

After a few weeks of careful tending, Grassroots Garden has shown itself to be a bountiful wonder. First, there were the gargantuan zucchini I’m talking mega-pounders. I made stuffed zucchini, spaghetti sauce, grilled zucchini skewers and more from one huge ol’ piece.

Then there were the never-ending eggplants. I devoured any recipe I could find regarding eggplants, roasting, grilling and sauteing them every which way. My husband has yet to grow to like the vegetable, but oh well. We have plenty of it, so he better learn to adjust!

Now the peppers and cherry tomatoes have come to bloom. I picked a few this afternoon to top my lunch. Fabulous and fresh! I’m thinking dinner may be accompanied by a tomatoes and pepper mixers, maybe a salsa or roasted variety. Oh, the ideas…

All this fresh, homegrown food has not only given me an easily outlet for quick grocery shopping, it has also saved me some really money at the check-out counter. Fresh and free is hard to beat! And who knew? Food doesn’t come from store shelves. It can actually come from the ground!

Take that, Beryl!

After the weekend of crazy storms, high winds and the strangely-named Tropical Storm Beryl, I have to admit I was slightly worried about our little GrassRoots Garden. Would the newly planted crops fall as victim to the storm lords? Would our thin rows of tomatoes make it through the Beryl wrath? Could that newly-blossoming squash hang tight as rip-current winds smashed against its frail new skins?

Sitting in my living room, on the other side of the Downing Musgrove Causeway, miles from my Jekyll garden, I had my doubts. The non-stop rains and gale-force winds did little to ease my mind. When the power clicked off at my house, I knew the storm was surging. When the power came back on and I saw The Weather Channel on a nearby beach, my fears only grew stronger. The garden. The garden would not survive. If nothing else, it would succumb to the water and simply wash away.

Yet I worried for nothing. Tending to the plot Wednesday, I saw not only one huge squash, but three of them. A bright purple eggplant huge sturdily from its vine. I saw not one green pepper, but a bushel full. The tomatoes hung on for dear life, and the vines, though a bit shaky, were holding their own.

The garden is as lush and green as ever, promising that these GrassRoots are dug in deep and strong. The entire community garden, in fact, had held up rightly and nicely through the heavy storm. Aside from a few fallen, plumb and now-destroyed tomatoes, there was no real visible damage done. No massive wipe outs or highly-perturbed plant structures.

So take that, Beryl! GrassRoots Gardens not only survived your hefty blow, it is now flourishing from the onset of your rains.


It has been a whirlwind of activity on Jekyll Island these last few weeks, what with the new Jekyll Island Convention opening this weekend. THIS weekend! I can’t believe the day is already so close. All the excitement, though, has pushed the garden more or less out of my immediate thoughts. Thanks to my wonderful gardening parents, though, the produce outlet has remained healthy and thriving.

It had been a week or so before I’d been over to our plot. I went over the weeknd, and wow- look at the difference a week and some rain made. Grassroots Garden is spurring new growth and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of these peppers! The garden is coming up roses– well, it’s coming up tomatoes, squash, peppers and beens, to be more concise. We’ll have a salad bar of goodies before you know it! ImageImage




Look how quickly our garden has grown! Most be Jekyll Island luck… or not really my garden. OK, it’s a neighboring garden. But what an inspiration! Plan on getting more plants this week and really sprucing this place up. Stay tuned!

The plot expands!

Well, it turns out we were only using half of our space. Grassroots Garden expanded this weekend! The land beside our original plot was overgrown and I just figured it was a ‘trash spot.’ Then one of the other lovely Jekyll gardeners asked why we weren’t using all our space.

“We’re not?” I asked.

Nope. He pointed next door.

“That’s yours too,” he shrugged. “Just gotta clear it off.”

promptly, my husband and I set to work, clearing off the extra lot while roasting in the Saturday sun. But, a few hours of pulling and digging later, and the plot was cleared. Now, we just need one more thing: more plants. We have nothing to plant yet– but the possibilities are endless. I’m thinking of just making a giant salad bar-style garden. Veggies galore!


How the Garden Grows

Anna Hall, communications specialist with the Jekyll Island Authority, recently procured a plot at the community garden on the Island. She, along with her husband, mother and father, will tend to the land, trying to grow the goods of the earth, reconnect with nature– and each other. The Grassroots Gardening blog treks their progress.

Grassroots Garden is taking off! It seems that Dad is very excited about having a garden ploy and he, with help from Mom, have actively been planting all kinds of veggies and flowers. I have had a hand in one key role: pulling weeds. With the plot only a few seconds from my office, my daily routine has turned into pulling weeds after work. Not as glamorous as planting, but needed nonetheless. Look how our garden has grown!

Grassroots Garden: Roots and Latches


Grassroots Garden, the first day.

Anna Hall, communication specialist with the Jekyll Island Authority, recently procured a plot at the Jekyll Island Community Garden. She, along with her husband and parents, will tend the land, trying to reconnect with  nature- and each other. The Grassroots Garden blog with track their progress. Read along with their dirt-filled adventure.

Roots and latches.

After work the next day- I’m one of those lucky ones; I work on Jekyll Island, as communication specialist with the Authority- I made my way back to the garden plot, excited to get started clearing away all the weeds. And secretly hoping there might be more cabbage just waiting for me.

There wasn’t. But there was plenty of work, as well as my dad, waiting there for me. Dad had been pulling and tugging at the overgrowth for a few hours, and was seriously sweaty from the hot, late afternoon sun.

“You won’t think it’d be so hot at 4 o’clock in mid-April, would ya?” he asked, as if he hadn’t lived in the South pretty much all his life.

I shrugged. “It’s south Georgia.” (Later, I felt his pain, and had severe sympathy for him, as he was out when the sun was even hotter.)

Dad took me around the garden, showing me where the compost pile was, where supplies where, how to turn on water. Then, he handed me the rake and gloves, and said good luck. It was my turn to start pulling up those weeds.

As he walked back to his car, Dad yelled over his shoulder: “Hey Anna, don’t forget the roots,” he shouted. “And latch the gate when you leave.”

Good tips.

At first, I used the rake. But shortly realized I’m not as strong as I thought and actually getting into the dirt might be a better way to go. For the next hour, I crawled around that sandy dirt plot, yanking up weeds. The sun beat down, I started sweating, started feeling the sand jab my knees and felt my back slowly start to ache from bending for so long. How did farmers do this day in and day out? This was, indeed, real work.

Not that I minded. In fact, it was refreshing, getting all dirty, being alone out in the middle of this great Island, pulling up roots and weeds and reflecting on the day.

As the time ticked away, I started to get deeper into the game and even deeper into my own thoughts. Grabbing a massive root and jerking it from the earth, I was struck with my father’s earlier words. Don’t forget the roots.

This whole venture I was entering into with my family- my parents and husband, who would all share in these gardening duties and have a stake in its success- it was more than an opportunity to grow my own vegetables and save money at the grocery store. It was more than an activity to simply fill time and give me a new hobby. This journey of gardening was about remembering my roots, appreciating the family I have been born into, the family I have married into, and the life I am creating for myself. It’s easy to ignore roots, but eventually, they sprout. The roots, they matter. They build the foundation for more.

Don’t forget your roots.

Or to latch the gate when you leave.

Grassroots Gardening: A Gift from the Garden

Anna Hall, communications specialist with the Jekyll Island Authority, recently procured a plot at the community garden on the Island. She, along with her husband, mother and father, will tend to the land, trying to grow the goods of the earth, reconnect with nature– and each other. The Grassroots Gardening blog treks their progress.

Gifts from the Garden

Kevin Udell looked at me across the table, head tilted, as if I had just said the moon is made of cotton candy.

“We have a community garden on Jekyll?” he asked.

Having worked with the Jekyll Island Authority for several years, I figured Kevin already knew about this wondrous community plot of land just a short walk across the street from his office. Kevin, in fact, works a director of sales and marketing. His job is to know all about, and then sell, the Island. If he didn’t know about the garden, who else didn’t know?

A lot of folks, it turns out. During that marketing and communications meeting Monday, nearly the entire department shared Kevin’s ubiquitous astonishment that such a natural treasure was so hidden. Here I was thinking it was just me, the new kid in town. I felt much better knowing that I had been the barer of great news.

“Yeah, apparently it’s been here for 30 years,” I told the group, a fact I learned the day before from David Egan, a Jekyll resident and avid member of the community garden group, who welcomed me to the dirt-digging club over the weekend.

Turns out, while attending the Jekyll Island Plant sale Saturday, my parents had received a tip about the less-than-well-known community garden plots. Instantly, they grabbed hold of the news and asked to get one. Just so happens, fate stepped in, and one plot had recently become available. They snatched it up then and there. And that’s when I got the phone call.

“Anna, we have a community garden plot and we’re sharing it with you,” my mother said when I answered the phone. No hello, no how are you. Just this bit of golden garden news.

“What? Where?”

She said on Jekyll, and I, like Kevin and the rest of those aforementioned meeting attendees, tilted my head in confusion. She filled me in on the day’s events and the location of the garden, and we set up a time to meet the next day to see this new venture we as a family would undertake.

The next day, my husband Michael and I met my parents at the garden, driving down a few winding dirt roads, walking through some brush, and then finding this Mecca, this wonderland of color and flowers, vegetables and butterflies. It felt like a scene from a Disney movie. I always knew Jekyll Island was special. But this was just over-the-top fabulous.

And then I saw our plot. Overgrown only begins to describe the radically messy pile of weeds and sandy dirt that was our plot. My hopes dropped a bit, but then I realized this was what gardening was. You have to start somewhere.

While pulling up a few weeds to get a taste of what was to come, though, I was blessed with a gift from the new garden. A head of cabbage awaited me. I love cabbage. Coleslaw for everyone! As I walked away from the garden, I thanked it for the greens, and felt my hopes soar. There would be more where that came from. One day

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