Gardening Stories from the Super-Sod Team

Allison Fortner
Read posts by Alison Fortner on the Super-Sod blog.
June 7, 2018 4 minute read

Beans by a trellis

We interrupt your regularly scheduled gardening tips for a special post on the Soil3 blog. Why such a disruption? A special celebration of National Garden Week! 

Because gardening is dear to our hearts, this week is a unique post detailing the experiences Super-Sod folks have had in the garden. The sticky Southern humidity and the satisfying taste of homegrown produce have left us with mixed emotions in this area, but the stories born from gardening are those that take us back to our roots. Sit back, relax, and enjoy these tidbits of gardening wisdom from our Super-Sod team members.

Lessons Learned in the Garden

Connor in the Garden 

Now I Know the Basics
When I was a little girl I loved to be out in the garden with my grandmother and grandfather. We would spend all summer long out there picking the vegetables and watering the plants. Half the time I would just be playing in the sprinklers rather than helping to water the vegetables. I learned a lot in those summers that I spent at their house. I now know how to prep the ground, plant the seeds, and pick all the vegetables that are ready. I know I never want to string green beans again! I hope one day I’ll have a flourishing garden like I remember when I was child, and I know with the help of Soil3 I will! 
– Lindsey Coker, Super-Sod of Lawrenceville


Bigger Isn’t Always Better
It’s fascinating to watch vegetables grow large, but I learned the hard way that they’re not delicious when impressively sized. Take okra. It’s so weird and it can get so big. It’s fun to watch it grow and grow. I was full of glee when I harvested those weird beasts and took them inside to the kitchen counter . . . it’s when I started chopping and cooking that I realized they had what one would call “city miles” on a car. They were not tasty. Same goes for eggplant. Wow! Large purple vegetables - so pretty - but were they delicious and satisfying on the plate? Not so much. Kids, harvest your vegetables when they are young and still delicious!
– Hillary Thompson, Marketing Director

guard dog in the garden 

Unique Plants and Hungry Critters
Back in 2011, my Dad and I started a garden in our backyard. We wanted to try something different other than the buckets of peppers and tomatoes. So we embarked on to something that would become a lot more work than we had envisioned. Once we had decided to plant and where to plant our garden, we ventured into using a massive tiller and just went to town on our backyard, I will admit seeing my dad using the tiller was hilarious to watch but do not tell him that. We then prepped the area using some of the Soil3 and other top soil for the base of the garden to make sure to give our garden a chance of surviving my not-so-green thumb. Once we got all the prep work done, we planted the many interesting items that my dad wanted to try for the season. Probably the most interesting of the few plants he wanted to put in the garden were pink eye purple hulls, rattlesnake green beans and many other weird ones. After everything we had done the garden took off and just flourished amazingly. Because of the garden doing so well it has attracted many critters that like to shop our garden for treats but we do not have to worry since we have our dog chasing them out and protecting our family garden. 
– Connor Rutherford, Super-Sod of Marietta 


The Garden that Shaped Me
One of my earliest memories is walking through my grandmother’s vegetable garden, looking up at the plants towering over my head. My grandmother was a farmer who had to sell the farm when my grandfather died. She kept a small plot of land and built a very modest home on it. But there was nothing modest about her garden. She grew and canned everything imaginable! I loved being in Gram’s garden, and my mother saw that, and took me with her to pick blueberries, elderberries and grapes to make jelly and juices. I learned to grow, harvest and can healthy nutritious food at the feet of my mother and my grandmother, and now I am happiest when I am out in my own garden, continuing that family tradition. It is no accident I choose a career in horticulture. I guess you could say it grew in me.
– Shannon Hathaway, Super-Sod of Cary 

don't take the easy way 

The Not-So-Easy Way
For starters, I’m a beginner gardener (inspired by Super-Sod of course). After talking with Mike Kephart about what I should do with my lawn, my first goal was to knock out my flower bed and just pull out all the weeds and plant some flowers, then mulch everything else. But then I discovered a weed killer and I decided to just spray the weeds to save a lot of time and start planting. Then I placed my mulch. I even decided I didn’t need a barrier.
The flower bed looked amazing for about 3 weeks until I started noticing those same weeds were growing back and taking over all of my mulch and new plants. So now I’m having to redo my whole flower bed but I did learn a valuable lesson: “You must fail at gardening to master it” or “Listen to what Mike Kephart says next time, and don’t take the easy way out.”
– Kayla Hall, Super-Sod at the Atlanta State Farmers Market 


Squash on Their Steps
My yard lacks much free space or direct sunlight for gardening, so I decided to install a Doc’s Raised Garden kit four years ago.  I come from a horticultural background and have always prided myself in growing Summer vegetables.  I had no idea until using Soil3 compost just how well I could grow vegetables!  Since using Soil3, my pepper, tomato and squash harvests are so abundant that I have to share more than my family can consume.  We’ve turned to canning and pickling vegetables in order to conserve as much of the harvest as possible.  I started off trying to give away extras until a neighbor threatened me (in a nice way) not to leave any more squash on their steps!
– Judson Mills, Super-Sod of Cary

 Garden Beginnings

Never Complain About Pulling Weeds
When I was a lazy ten-year-old I would have much rather caught up on my reading in the air conditioning than help my mother in her small patch of garden land at my great grandparents’ farm. I was forced off the mauve, overstuffed couch and into the carefully plowed rows. The okra plants made my hands itchy, and the red clay caked onto my flip-flops. But moments in the garden shaped my summers. Now I know that not everyone learns how to pull weeds and string green beans until your fingernails ache. Time around the garden instilled in me the importance of hard work and—now that I’ve been doing my own grocery shopping for a few years—the unmistakable taste of homegrown veggies. It taught me that giving away produce to your neighbors in the church parking lot is a blessing to both the gardener and the recipient. However, as I reflect back on those summer afternoons now, it most taught me not to complain when your mom asks for help. One day you just may wish to be pulling weeds in the garden with her again.
– Allison Fortner, Assistant Marketing Director


Share Your Story

From beginners’ tales of struggles to narratives from seasoned produce experts, we hope you enjoyed these glimpses into our gardens!

Do you have your own gardening memories? We would love to see them and share them! Comment below to celebrate National Garden Week with us.

lessons learned in the garden

Did this help you out? Have any questions for clarity? Leave a comment below!


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