In the Weeds: Ready, Set, Trying to Grow a Garden

New Bern Farm and Garden
Laura at New Bern Farm and Garden

How do you feel about gardening? Some people think it’s simple and others think it’s difficult.

This is a story of two people who have opposite opinions on gardening but are giving it a go together. Although this is not our intention, gardening would be a terrific opportunity to rebuild relationships that may have been on the fritz during the pandemic.

We hope that you will join us on this adventure and give us advice along the way!

Intro: Laura thinks planting and growing are easy because she grew a successful garden 17 years ago in Northern Virginia. I, Wendy, prefer to pick wild berries in the woods rather than learning about the different pH levels and all the things that I think you need to know to grow a garden. But what do I know because I’ve never successfully done it.

We both have the same goal, to enjoy the experience of trying to grow something and if we do it right, we’ll be eating the fruits of our labor and sharing any excess food with our neighbors. It would be awesome if we could grow our own food and save money on groceries!

Ready, Set, Grow: After what we thought was proper planning, we set the date for April 9, 2021 and went shopping at Mitchell Hardware and New Bern Farm and Garden.

Mitchell Hardware Team
Mitchell Hardware Team

We chose three tomato and one hot banana pepper plants. Next step, we picked a full sun area and re-used an inground pond container as a planter. We added topsoil and mixed in potting soil. Then added the plants.

Repurposed inground pond planter

We were diligent about watering the plants every day. That was until yesterday when Laura dipped her finger in the soil and realized there was at least 3 – 4” of water in the bottom of the container. I guess that’s why they call it an inground pond, not a planter.

This is what happens when you get too excited about a project and it overrides common sense! We should have drawn or written a plan and went from there. That’s normally what we would do if this was a major project. I think we got caught up with the idea of growing our own food, the weather has been great, and we threw caution to the wind.

We made two major mistakes. First, not making holes in the bottom of the container, then not adding rocks before we added the soil for proper drainage. There was nowhere for the water to go. What were we thinking?

So here we are. I couldn’t find the drill so I used a Phillips head screwdriver and a hammer to make holes in the bottom of the container, then used a large tent stake and hammered larger holes. After about 15 minutes, I think I made three holes. Laura found the drill and within 15 more minutes, I drilled about 100 holes in the bottom. Hopefully, it will do the trick, or not.

Drilling holes in make-shift planter

What do you think? Should we take the plants out and add rocks and replant?

If you’re wondering why we’re using an inground pond, it’s because of possible flooding from hurricanes. We raised the container on cinderblocks and can easily move it to a different location in case of severe storms.

Notable mention: Laura read somewhere that rinsed and dried egg shells can be ground up and added to the soil to add calcium. She also said, “You can break up the shells by hand and sprinkle them on top of the garden to deter animals.” Have you done this before?

So if you’re a gardener and you think we’re off the beaten path and in the weeds, please help us stay on course so we can grow a bountiful garden. We will give away any excess food.

Stay tuned for next week as we venture into planting berries.

Please send your tips, tricks, suggestions to us via email.

Thank you!

Laura Johnson and Wendy Card’s “In the Weeds” column will arrive Saturday mornings.