MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The sight of bright green leaves and newly sprouting plants begin to saturate the air with the fresh scent of a looming spring. For green thumbs, it marks the exciting season of indulging in the gardens, but when the beautiful blue Bachelor’s Button flowers end up withering away, one may feel the green from their thumbs wane, left feeling as blue as the anticipated flowers.
For 24 service members and patrons aboard the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune who were looking for tips on tending to tulips or planting a stable of edible vegetables, they were in luck. The Harriotte B. Smith Library aboard MCB Camp Lejeune hosted the first Gardening 101 workshop for adults ages 18 and older, Jan 19.
“I love growing anything that I can eat, and I’m just a sucker for a pretty plant,” said Lisa Rayburn, a teacher with North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, North Carolina State University. “There’s something magical about watching things grow and getting your hands dirty, waiting and then seeing something green pop up.”
Although some of the participants were more experienced that others, they all took notes and asked questions.
“I really enjoy offering classes in this setting because it gives me the opportunity to answer a lot of questions in an efficient way,” said Rayburn. “So, it’s a great way for me to carry out the mission of my job.”
Participants talked about the challenges they had with their gardens and Rayburn helped to shed light on every topic that sprouted.
“Onslow County isn’t like the rest of world when it comes to gardening,” said Rayburn. “A lot of people here are struggling with adapting to a new environment. Having moved several times myself, I can understand how frustrating that is, so it’s fun to make that connection and provide them with some guidance.”
Amanda Tuliper, a military spouse who attended the class, said she wanted to learn some techniques for vegetable gardening because she was tired of buying tomatoes for $5 a batch.
Gardening has proven to be very useful throughout all of history. During World War I and World War II, American families planted victory gardens to reduce the pressure on national food supply caused by the wars.
“I think that (gardening) is something that everyone should know,” said Gunnery Sgt. Anthony Pamintuan, logistics support chief with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26, Marine Aircraft Group 26, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. “I think it is always good to be able to grow your own food and be self sufficient, instead of having to always rely on a supermarket.”
After the class, more than half of the attendees spoke to Rayburn about their gardens. Rayburn offered handouts on the specifics needed for a list of vegetables and fruits, and she also asked those who attended her class to contact her if they had any further questions.
“I find it very enjoyable and it’s really fulfilling because, for a lot of people, from just a little bit of talking, we can tweak and figure out what’s going on in their garden,” said Rayburn. “It’s such a simple thing to be able to come in and solve somebody’s gardening problem. (It’s great to show them) the direction and see them have the enjoyment of knowing that they can make it work.”
The class provided much of the basic essentials to gardening, such as the proper way to set up raised gardens, how to pick, where to position, when to put a plant in the garden and how to determine the right soil content. Rayburn said not understanding the basics can make gardening more difficult than it is.
“We have a few raised beds, and we’ve always struggled with a few of the vegetables,” said Pamintuan. “But, I think that we figured out why, thanks to (Rayburn).”
“She gave me the answers I needed,” added Tuliper. “You can expect to see me at the next gardening class.”
The Gardening 101 class was in correlation with the cooking theme for the adult reading program hosted by the Harriotte B. Smith Library.
For more information on this event, call 451-3026.
To contact Lisa Rayburn about gardening, call 455-5873 or e-mail her at Lisa_Rayburn@ncsu.edu.