Urban Homesteading

By / Photography By Brooke Allen | September 15, 2016
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Debbie Pleu, Pleu Gardens

Debbie Pleu, Pleu Gardens

Meet Debbie Pleu, owner of Pleu Gardens and one of the original vendors at the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market.

Debbie specializes in the indoor cultivation of microgreens and sunflower shoots. Her microgreen seed mix has been meticulously curated for her specific conditions and yields a healthy variety including arugula, kale, radish, waido (mizuna) and red mustard, just to name a few. Debbie’s weekly harvest sells out every Saturday morning at the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market, so those in the know get there early to secure their clamshell of microgreens or sunflower shoots.

She also sells beautiful bouquets of hardy native flowers, cat grass, naturally dried luffas (yes, those luffas for all your exfoliation needs in the bath or shower) and a variety of salad mixes in the spring.

Debbie hasn’t always been queen of greens at the market. She began selling various produce items in the market’s inaugural year of 1998 in Jason’s Deli parking lot. Before that, she shared in a few attempts to make a Tulsa area farmers’ market but the timing and locales never seemed to be right. The Cherry Street Market has grown, and grown, into what it is today: a successful, well-attended Saturday-morning scene that has taken over the lion’s share of 15th Street.

Debbie prides herself on not only learning about gardening through trial and error but also reusing often discarded resources to cut down on costs. Rainwater barrels supplement her vast Springdale neighborhood garden plot in Tulsa. A bamboo grove acts as a fence on the north end of the property and sturdy bamboo stakes are used to hold up a garden of hardy native flowers—indigenous wildflowers that have adapted to the environment and are therefore resistant to disease and pests. They are low-maintenance and yield beautiful, cottage-garden-style flowers with the lowest environmental impact. Less water, fewer pest-control issues and local bee pollination support equals a better and more sustainable product.

“In any kind of farming venture, there’s not a lot of money,” she says. “You have to be resourceful.” Estate and garage sales have proved to be a fantastic and inexpensive resource for Debbie’s gardening needs. With very little money and some effort she has been able to breathe new life into things like an old elementary school desk that she uses for flower harvesting, lighting for her indoor garden and an old industrial table that has become a staple in her cultivation and harvesting of microgreens.

Debbie’s passion for her homesteading operation started as a hobby and has turned into a nice supplement to her retirement account. Her products are 100% producer grown and she is fully involved with her produce from seed to sale. Visit Debbie at her Pleu Gardens booth every Saturday morning at the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market.

Article from Edible Tulsa at http://edibletulsa.ediblecommunities.com/things-do/urban-homesteading-0
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