The Beginner's Garden with Jill McSheehy

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The Beginner’s Garden Podcast with Jill McSheehy provides easy-to-understand tips, and information, and resources to help beginning gardeners get the most out of their gardening adventure — big or small.

Episode Date
61: Lessons Learned from my Summer Garden

Gardeners are learners, and each year we are given the opportunity to learn new lessons. Here are five lessons I learned from my summer garden this year, where you'll learn the results of some neat experiments I got to perform in my garden this season.

Show Notes and Blog post:

Sep 11, 2018
60: Should You Grow Garlic?

Garlic isn't one of the most-talked-about crops for beginners to grow. Why is that? There are so many reasons for beginners particularly to include garlic in their garden plans, and in this episode you'll hear three of them. BUT, growing garlic isn't for everyone, and there is one reason it might not be the best fit in your garden.This episode will help you decide if planting garlic this year is right for you.

Show notes & blog post:

Free Garlic Planting Cheat Sheet:


Aug 28, 2018
59: Your Garden Zone - What It Tells You (and what it doesn't)

What is a Garden Zone and what purpose does it serve in the home garden? Unfortunately, garden zones are frequently misunderstood. In this episode you'll learn what a garden zone is, what it tells you, and more importantly, what it doesn't.

For show notes, the US plant hardiness map, and links to find your average last and first frost, click here. 

Aug 14, 2018
58: Planning and Planting a Fall Garden

Planting and growing a fall garden can be just as rewarding as a summer garden. You just need a bit of preparation. Here I share easy ideas and tips on how to get started, when to plant, and how to grow vegetables in the fall.

Read full blog post here. 

Jul 31, 2018
57: How to Get Started in Home Canning with Melissa K Norris

Most of us, even if we have a small garden, will harvest more than we can consume fresh. Unless you want to give it all away, you will have to decide whether to let it go bad or preserve it. In this episode, Pioneering Today's Melissa K. Norris gives us the basics on how to get started in home canning.

Get the show notes, resources and blog post here. 

Jul 17, 2018
56: 9 Lessons from My Spring Garden (2018)

We all learn our best lessons from the hits and misses from our own gardens. In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I share 9 lessons I've learned in my spring 2018 garden -- including the successes and disappointments. 

Click here to read the show notes/blog post including resources mentioned in this episode.

Jul 03, 2018
55: Managing Pests Organically - interview with IPM Expert Patrick Byers of the University of Missouri Extension

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) expert Patrick Byers of the University of Missouri Extension shares what the home gardener should do before you spray anything on an insect. Plus, he gives practical suggestions for how to manage aphids, squash bugs, squash vine borers, cabbage worms, slugs, and Japanese beetles -- all organically and with minimal spraying! 

View full blog post with show notes here. 

Jun 19, 2018
54: 6 Steps to Incorporate Vertical Gardening in Your Garden

You want to incorporate vertical gardening into your garden plans, but the disconnect lies between all the options and what you can actually accomplish. Here are 6 easy steps to go from dreams to reality and grow "up" in your garden.

Full blog post & show notes here.

Register for the Modern Homesteading Summit here. 

Jun 05, 2018
53: Aged-Based Ideas to Get Kids Involved in the Garden

If you are looking for creative ways to get your kids involved in the garden, these 15 age-based ideas will help you get started. From toddlers to teenagers, there are ideas here for your kids!

Full show notes and blog post, along with resources mentioned in the podcast here

May 29, 2018
52: Tomato Leaves Turning Yellow? 5 Possible Reasons

When your tomato leaves start turning yellow, it's natural to become alarmed. While there could be a myriad of causes, here are five possible culprits behind yellow leaves on tomato plants. 

Full blog post & show notes here.

May 22, 2018
51: Interview with Misti Little of the Garden Path Podcast

In today's episode, Misti Little of the Garden Path Podcast and I talk about many subjects that both southern US and organic gardeners will find interesting:

  • Misti's journey from conventional to a more-than-organic approach to her home garden
  • How she attracts beneficial insects and pollinators to her edible garden
  • Her favorite tomato varieties for her Zone 9a garden
  • Her advice to first-time gardeners
  • and more!

Full blog post with show notes here.

May 15, 2018
50: 15 Tips for First-time Gardeners from Experienced Gardeners

I asked a question in my Facebook group, the Beginner's Garden Shortcut, "What ONE piece of advice would you give to first-time gardeners?" The answers the more veteran members of the group gave were just too good to keep to myself!

That's why, on this very special 50th episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I share 15 tips that these gardeners shared with the group, along with my thoughts on each piece of advice. 

Full blog post with accompanying articles and resources can be found at



May 08, 2018
49: 10 Succession and Relay Planting Ideas for Your Garden

We all want to make the most of our garden space, and one of the best ways is to strategically use succession planting and relay planting to our advantage and for a more productive harvest. 

These 10 ideas will get you started on using succession and relay planting in your garden, and as you consider your growing season, crops, and climate, you can adapt using these principles to fit your unique garden situation.

Full blog post and show notes at

May 01, 2018
48: Vacation Plans? 5 Ways to Prep Your Garden

Maintaining a 3,000-square foot garden and enjoying a summer vacation -- at first thought, these two may seem like opposing activities, as if you have to choose one or the other. But as one who values getaways almost as much as I value my garden, I can assure you, it is possible.

To get the most out of both your rest time and your harvest, though, there are some steps you can take to make it all run more smoothly.

Read full show notes and blog post, along with resources mentioned in this episode at

Apr 24, 2018
47: Building Healthy Soil -- Interview with Jackie Beyer of the Organic Gardener Podcast

While beginning gardeners may be most concerned with what crops to plant when to plant them, building a base of healthy soil should be top of mind as well. If you want to build your soil naturally and organically, Jackie Beyer of the Organic Gardener Podcast shares today her thoughts on doing just that.


Full show notes:

Apr 17, 2018
46: Tomato Trellising - Deciding Which Method is Right for You

How does a beginning gardener you sift through the endless ideas available for staking tomatoes? Do you even need to stake tomatoes? If so, what will work best for your garden?

Even though I had all the trellis ideas and resources at my disposal, I still didn't figure it all out, and it took learning by experience and making mistakes to start to make progress in this area.

In this podcast episode I'm talking to you -- the beginning gardener -- in hopes of helping you skip the mistakes I made. I discuss four types of tomato trellising methods. But beyond just listing the methods, I'm helping you decide which one (or ones) will work best for your garden and your needs.

Because there's no one-size-fits all approach.

Show notes:


Apr 10, 2018
45: 6 Crops Beginners Can Grow From Seed in the Garden (No Indoor Seed-Starting Required)

In today's episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I talk about six vegetables and fruit I believe beginners should almost always grow from seed directly in the garden. No indoor seed starting. No buying transplants. With these crops, it's my experience in opinion that the seeds should go directly in the ground.

Show notes and free Seed Starting Guide:


Apr 03, 2018
44: When to Plant What - Guide to Getting Your Crops in the Ground at the Right Time

It's one of the most confusing topics for beginning gardeners. "When should I plant?"  I go over the basics -- what you need to know to help you plant the most common crops in the home garden at the right time. Not only do I give you general guidelines, but we also talk about something I have never heard anyone suggest when it comes to warm season crops.

Show notes:


Mar 27, 2018
43: Avoiding Mistakes in Container Gardening - Interview with Randy from FarmDaddy

Container gardening isn't as easy as it seems. In this episode, Randy from FarmDaddy shares his top tips to growing in containers, including 3 big mistakes he sees people make, the ideal growing medium, how close plants should be together, and fertilization and watering tips.

Show notes at

Visit Randy's web site and explore his self-watering container system at

Mar 20, 2018
42: Strawberry Planting Basics

Most home gardeners who want to include fruit in their edible gardens want to make room for strawberries. Though they seem easy enough to grow, it's helpful to understand a few things before you get started. 

Show notes at

Beginner's Garden Shortcut Online Course:

Mar 13, 2018
41: 7 Tips for Choosing Transplants at the Garden Center

Whether you buy all of your garden crops at the nursery or garden center, or if you purchase a few to supplement your seeds, choosing the right transplant can make a great difference in your harvest. 

Show notes at


Mar 06, 2018
40: How to Grow Onions Successfully

Though easy to plant, it's not always a sure bet that you'll get huge onion bulbs each season. In fact, onions can be a bit finicky.

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I go over the "long and short" (pun intended -- you'll understand after you listen to the episode) of growing onions. I talk about:

  • which onions you need to grow for your latitude
  • when to plant
  • when NOT to grow from seed
  • what triggers bulb growth
  • what causes bolting (when an onion sets seed instead of producing a bulb)
  • what to do if your onion plant does bolt 

Show notes at


Feb 27, 2018
39: Blueberries in the Ground and Containers -- Interview with Lee Reich

If you want to plant blueberries for the first time, or if you've had struggles with growing blueberry bushes in the past, horticulturist Lee Reich answers the most common questions people have when it comes to growing blueberries. 

We talk about: 

  • 4 requirements for growing blueberries
  • How to amend your soil if it isn't ideal for blueberry growth
  • How to grow blueberries in containers
  • The ideal growing medium for container-grown blueberries
  • How you can still grow blueberries in the ground if your soil is extremely alkaline

Grab the show notes and free Blueberry Planting Notebook at

Feb 20, 2018
38: 7 Common Raised Bed Gardening Mistakes

Those of us who have been raised bed gardening for years testify to how much we enjoy it! Better harvests, less weeding, sharp aesthetics -- what's not to love?

But as in any venture, there are mistakes to be made. The problem with mistakes with raised bed gardening is many times they aren't easily corrected. I know this from experience!

From my own experience and from the experiences of others, I've compiled a list of 7 common mistakes in raised bed gardening. If you're planning a garden for the first time or adding to your existing beds, this will help you avoid many of the mistakes I and others have made. And if you're already gardening in raised beds but are seeing lackluster results, you may find some reasons why here.

Show notes at

Beginner's Garden Shortcut Facebook Group:

Beginner's Garden Shortcut Online Course:


Feb 13, 2018
37: 10 Adjustments I'm Making in My Garden this Season

You'd think after five gardening seasons, I'd have it all figured, right? Well, that's the beauty about gardening. Each year we get to adjust. We scrap what didn't work; we try new things. The dreaming and the planning -- those are some of the most exciting parts of gardening!

This year as I've begun my garden planning, I decided to make ten specific adjustments in my gardening. Whether I am making these adjustments due to learning more or by past failure, my hope is that some of these will help you make your garden more successful this season!

Show notes at

Beginner's Garden Shortcut Facebook Group:

Beginner's Garden Shortcut Online Course:


Feb 06, 2018
36: Expert Advice on Tomatoes -- Interview with Mike at White Harvest Seed Co. Pt. 2

In growing tomatoes, it's always good to have an expert's advice on-hand. That's why when I talked with Mike at the White Harvest Seed Company, I picked his brain on everything tomatoes -- from which varieties to choose to how to deal with mid-season pests and diseases. 

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, Mike and I talk about:

  • favorite tomato varieties 
  • top 3 recommendations for growing successful tomatoes
  • most common pests & diseases and how to deal with them

Grab all the show notes at

Enrollment is open for the Beginner's Garden Shortcut. Details at

Jan 30, 2018
35: Choosing and Growing Seeds - Interview with Mike at White Harvest Seed Company

Who better to ask about growing seeds than the owner of a reputable seed company? I met Mike a few years ago and even from our first conversation I could tell he knew his stuff. In this episode he and I talk all about seeds:

>How to choose the right seed varieties when there are so many choices

>How to start seeds indoors

>Which seeds to start indoors vs. which ones to wait and plant in the garden

>The answer to his most asked garden question

>The biggest key to seed germination

...and so much more!

Grab this week's free download -- Seed Starting Quick Reference Guide -- along with the show notes at

Jan 23, 2018
34: Grow these 5 Dirty Dozen Crops to Avoid Consuming Pesticides

Growing healthy, uncontaminated produce may be one of your top reasons for gardening. In today's episode, we'll talk about five crops listed on the Environmental Working Group's 2017 Dirty Dozen list and how you can grow them at home. 

Get your free "Dirty Dozen Alternative" download plus today's show notes at

Jan 16, 2018
33: 4 Crops You Can Grow that Will Cut Your Grocery Bill

Saving money on groceries was the #1 reason I started growing my own garden. Soon I realized it wasn't as simple as it seemed. But as I've found out over the years, there were 4 crops I grow that consistently save me money when I don't have to buy them from the grocery store.

Get your FREE DOWNLOAD -- my Frugal Garden Quickstart Guide plus the show notes for today's episode, at


Jan 09, 2018
32: How to Plant Garlic – 3 Most Frequently Asked Questions

When should I plant my garlic?
Where can I buy garlic to plant?
(Can I use garlic at the grocery store? NO! And I explain why)
What type should I buy, hardneck or softneck?
I also go over the basics of planting garlic, and I’ll help you decide whether to plant in raised beds, containers, or in the land.




Oct 09, 2017
31: End of season garden clean-up that will help get next year’s garden started out right

Your current year's spent crops hold valuable potential to get next season's crops started out with a fertile soil full of nutrients.

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, you'll learn:

  • which plants definitely need to be thrown out (and not composted)
  • what your main objective in garden clean-up should be
    why bare soil is the worst thing you can do to your dormant garden
  • 4 ways to replenish nutrients in raised beds and garden plots what to do with spent container soil
  • and more!

Get the full show notes at:

Sep 12, 2017
30: Free Produce! Seed Saving for the Hobby Gardener

Even a hobby gardener can benefit from seed saving. In this episode, you'll learn:

  • Which seeds you cannot save (this is HUGE)
  • How to save seeds with ZERO effort (yes, literally)
  • The easiest vegetables from which to save seeds, and how
  • The one step many fruiting vegetables require to save their seeds

You'll learn how to save seeds from tomatoes, squash, melons, lettuce, herbs, okra, and more!

Show notes:

Aug 29, 2017
29: 6 Garden Failures Last Season and How I Overcame Them This Year

The best way to garden is to accept the failures, learn from them, and grow a better garden next year because of them (not in spite of them).

In this episode I discuss 6 garden failures I had in 2016 and how I overcame them in 2017.

Show notes:

Aug 15, 2017
28: Top 5 Crops for a Fall Garden

A fall garden can produce astounding results with much less effort. In today's episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I talk about benefits of a fall garden, my top 5 recommended crops for a fall garden, when to plant, and special considerations for each crop.

Show notes:

Aug 01, 2017
27: Preserving Tomatoes – Making the Most of Your Harvest

You've done it! You're harvesting a successful crop of tomatoes. Now what? If you're like me, you want to preserve them for the winter, of course! In this episode I go through my process of canning tomatoes. Be sure to visit the full show notes below:

Show notes:

Also, get all the details on the Kitchen Aid Fruit & Vegetable Strainer attachment and how you can use it to cut the time it takes to prepare tomatoes for canning here:


Jul 04, 2017
26: Squash Bugs and Squash Vine Borers

It never fails. In early summer, just as we begin harvesting a few fresh squash and zucchini, some of the most common and menacing insects threaten our crops. 

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I talk about how I deal with the squash bug and squash vine borer.

Show notes:

Jun 27, 2017
25: How to Control Aphids Naturally and Effectively

How can I get rid of aphids? It's one of the most common gardening questions I hear. But I think sometimes we jump to rash measures. Listen in on my thoughts of how to deal with aphids naturally and effectively.

Show notes: 


Jun 20, 2017
24: What I Learned – Garlic & Onions – 2017 Recap

As gardeners, sometimes the best thing we can do is reflect on what worked and what didn't. In 2017, I enjoyed my best garlic harvest ever, but I did struggle with onions. Here's a recap of what I learned. My hope is you'll take a few tips to help your own garlic and onion harvest. 

Show notes:

Jun 13, 2017
23: Advice from a True Beginning Gardener: Interview with Whitney Cromley

It's always helpful to talk to veteran gardeners -- those who have had years of hands-on experience. But I also find rich advice in talking to brand new gardeners whose successes and failures speak new and fresh. If you're a beginning gardener, you'll enjoy hearing from Whitney Cromley. She shares her experience as a brand new gardener and what, as a true beginner, she has learned her first few seasons.

Show Notes: 

Jun 06, 2017
22: Herb Basics Part 2: Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Sage, and Chives

For much of the US, rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage, and chives are perennial herbs -- they return year after year. In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I talk about my experience with each one and how you can include them in your garden and kitchen.

Show Notes:

May 30, 2017
21: Herb Basics Part 1: Basil, Dill, Cilantro, and Parsley

Who doesn't love fresh basil, dill, cilantro, and parsley? Even if you're only growing a small kitchen or container garden, most likely you'll want to make room for a few of these. In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I talk about my experience in growing these popular annual herbs. 

Show notes:

May 23, 2017
20: Some Like it Hot: Growing Peppers and Okra

If there are two vegetables I can depend on in my blistering southern summers, it’s peppers and okra. In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I talk about these staple vegetables in my garden and how you can grow them in yours.

Show notes:

May 16, 2017
19: The Joys and Challenges of Growing Squash and Zucchini

Most gardeners I know make room for squash or zucchini. And while it can be the ideal summer treat, it isn't without its challenges. Learn how you can successfully grow squash and zucchini in your garden this season. 

Show notes:

May 09, 2017
18: Best Gardening Tips from Real-Life Homesteader Melissa K. Norris

I can vividly remember my very first year as a gardener desperately searching for gardening resources and podcasts. Sadly I didn’t find many that helped me at the most basic level I needed. But there was one I listened to faithfully, and that was the Pioneering Today Podcast by Melissa K. Norris.

Listen to her tips for beginning gardeners, large or small.

View full show notes and visit Melissa's web site and podcast here:

May 02, 2017
17: Overcoming the Challenges of Growing Corn

It took me three seasons to finally attempt growing corn. I wish I could tell you it was easy and all went great. Unfortunately, it didn’t. But once I got past the challenges, it's now one of our most enjoyable crops. In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I want to help you avoid the mistakes I made and harvest a bumper crop your first season. 

Show notes:

Apr 25, 2017
16: Grow Green Beans to Last All Year

If there’s one plant I’d say I’ve had the most success with since I began gardening, it would be green beans. From the first season, I've grown enough to supply our family with green beans all year. Here are my top tips to never have to buy green beans from the grocery store again!

Show Notes:

Apr 18, 2017
15: Growing Cucumbers

The past few years I have found myself begging my friends to take my excess cucumbers. I’ve even been known to sneak a bag full on a table at church, hoping someone would take a few home. But growing cucumbers hasn’t always been this successful. My first year I met several challenges. From both my success and failures, my hope is that I can give you the basics you need to grow a successful harvest of cucumbers.

Show notes:

Apr 11, 2017
14: Planting Tomatoes

The most popular vegetable to grow, tomatoes find a spot in most home gardens. Whether we grow them for canning (like I do) or for fresh eating, a bumper crop of tomatoes can make any gardener feel like a pro. So how do we get that bumper crop?

Show notes:

Apr 04, 2017
13: Growing Peas for the Beginner

Whether you want to grow snap peas, shelling peas, or snow peas, this episode will walk you through the basics -- from choosing which kind to grow to planting to harvest.

Show notes:

Mar 28, 2017
12: My Five Favorite Garden Tools

When I began gardening, I had no idea what tools I would need. Because my purpose for gardening in the first place was to save money, I had no interest in blowing cash on unneeded equipment. But as I soon realized, some tools make a huge difference. In this episode of The Beginner’s Garden Podcast, I share my five favorite garden tools with you. 

Show notes:

Mar 21, 2017
11: Cool Weather Crops in the Southern Garden

Along with the joys of a long growing season, southern gardeners also face a unique challenge -- cool weather crops don't thrive in the summer. So how do we plant lettuce, broccoli, and spinach? In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I give tips that any gardener in a long, warm-season climate can use.

Show notes:

Mar 14, 2017
10: Yes! Even a Beginner Can Grow Potatoes!

Potatoes are one of my most enjoyable crops to grow! They require little maintenance, and they harvest before the hot weather in my area begins to set in. Harvesting, though labor-intensive, is so much fun — and my kids enjoy it, too! If you're looking to grow potatoes in your garden, these tips will help you grow a successful crop.

Show notes:

Mar 07, 2017
9: Growing Blueberries: Tips for Beginners

I had no idea what I was doing when I planted my first four blueberry bushes in the ground. Thankfully, the research I did served me well, and now I have more blueberries than I know what to do with! If you long for sweet blueberries from your own back yard, today’s episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast will give you what you need to get started!

Show notes:

Feb 28, 2017
8: How to Grow a Salsa Garden from Planning to Canning {FREE Download}

One of the main reasons many home gardeners grow tomatoes is to make their own salsa! So, how does one grow his or her own salsa? By planting a salsa garden! In today's episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, get the basics of how to grow a salsa garden yourself.

Show notes:

Direct link to free download:


Feb 21, 2017
7: Composting Basics for the Beginner

If I had to choose one topic about which I get more questions asked, it would be composting. Yes, it can get complicated, but it doesn't have to. If you're a beginner and you want to put those kitchen scraps to good use, this episode will have everything you need to know.

Show notes:

Feb 14, 2017
6: Plants that Climb & Sprawl: Choose the Best Trellis Option for Your Garden, Big or Small

In this week’s episode of the Beginner’s Garden Podcast, I talk about a subject that is so much fun for me! I just love growing vegetables “up.” 

In the podcast, I discuss your best bets for beans, peas, cucumbers, and tomatoes. And because I list lots of ideas in the podcast, this week’s show notes are chock-full of ideas to get you started.

Show notes:

Feb 07, 2017
5: Creating Fertile Soil: The Basis of Your Best Garden

In this episode of the Beginner’s Garden Podcast, I attempt to demystify the mysterious world of the soil. I talk about important topics like:

why you should test your soil and how to do it for free
what your soil structure means to your garden, how to identify it, and how to change it
the Big 3 nutrients plants need
2 ways I make sure nutrients are available for my crops
Bonus tip: how I prepare my raised beds for the best tomato harvest

Show notes:


Jan 31, 2017
4: Seeds or Transplants? Which to Grow? When to Plant?

My very first year I planted a garden, I went to Lowe’s and bought baby tomato, squash, okra, and watermelon plants. I was so new at gardening, it didn’t even cross my mind to plant anything from seed. 

In this week’s episode of the Beginner’s Garden Podcast, I break down the plants that I prefer to plant as transplants, which one I plant as seeds directly in the garden, and which ones I start indoors. I explain why each plant responds better in my garden that way.

Show Notes:

Jan 24, 2017
3: Weed Control Starts Early: 4 Types of Mulch You Can Use + Other Weed Control Methods

If there is one piece of advice I give all beginning gardeners, it is to make plans to mulch your garden. Mulch controls weeds, regulates soil temperature, and maintains moisture levels. In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I discuss 4 common types of mulch:

  • Wood Chips
  • Hay
  • Straw
  • Pine Needles

I have used all 4 types. One is my favorite, but I also talk about why some experts say you shouldn’t use it at all.

Show notes:

Jan 18, 2017
2: How to Plan Your Garden Space (Raised Beds, Containers, Plot of land, Companion Planting, Layout, & More)

In my second episode of the Beginner’s Garden Podcast, I’m talking about planning your garden space. The idea of planning a garden seems simple. Just plant in dirt, right? But before you can ever get to that point, you have to make several decisions like the type of garden and location.

Show notes:

Jan 12, 2017
1: 5 Tips to Help You Decide What to Plant in Your Garden

In my first episode of The Beginner’s Garden Podcast, I give you 5 tips to help you decide what to plant in your garden.

Show notes:

Jan 02, 2017