The Beginner's Garden with Jill McSheehy

By Jill McSheehy

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Welcome to the Beginner's Garden Podcast! This is the podcast with easy-to-understand resources, tips, and information to help beginning gardeners get the most out of their gardening adventure -- big or small. When I began gardening in 2013, I scoured books and Internet resources to find all the information I could. Although good information was abundant, I had trouble understanding all the gardening lingo and sifting through the information to figure out what would work for me. In this podcast, my aim is to provide helpful information while explaining the gardening lingo as we go. I want to equip YOU to have the best start ever this gardening season!

Episode Date
98 - Why Homegrown Tastes Better than Store Bought

If you grow a garden, you know that homegrown vegetables taste better than anything you can purchase in the produce department of your grocery store.

But why do homegrown vegetables and fruit taste better? Is it purely a mental thing -- where we naturally enjoy most what we put our hard work into growing? Or are there also scientific reasons why store-bought tomatoes don't compare to homegrown?

In today's episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast and post below, I share with you 4 reasons why the fruits and vegetables you grow yourself taste better.

Aug 20, 2019
97- Fall Gardening FAQs with Stacey Murphy

When I asked the members of my free Facebook group, the Beginner's Garden Shortcut, what questions they had about their fall vegetable garden, I received more feedback than almost any other topic. Clearly, many beginning gardeners are interested in fall gardening. But they recognize it's not as straightforward as the spring or summer garden.

For the beginner, fall gardening isn't as simple to get started. But, it is generally easier than the summer garden. With fewer pests and weeds, we get to enjoy gardening in cooler days and eat crops that don't grow well in the heat of the summer.

Because getting started with planting the fall vegetable garden takes a bit of understanding of this unique garden season, Stacey Murphey of Grow Your Own Vegetables tackles some of the most common fall gardening questions I hear.

Aug 13, 2019
96 - Fall Gardening- When and How to Plant with Stacey Murphy

When many beginning gardeners think about fall gardening, they find themselves overwhelmed. After all, they're tired from the effort put into the summer garden, and the thought of more work seems exhausting.

Plus, they don't know when or how to get started.

The truth is, fall gardening can be the most rewarding time to grow a vegetable garden. It just takes a bit of know-how to get started.

In this week's episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, master gardener and garden teacher Stacey Murphy of Grow Your Own Vegetables talks beginners through how to get started planting and growing their fall gardens. Click below to hear our conversation or keep reading.

Aug 06, 2019
95 - When to Harvest Corn

When is corn ready to pick? It's a tougher answer than you realize. Corn ripens quickly and for only a few days, so the home gardener must watch for the signs that sweet corn is ready to harvest.

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I talk about how to know when corn ripens for harvest. (For more information on growing corn, check out these posts: how to grow corn and what I learned about corn last year.) Click below to listen or continue reading.

Jul 30, 2019
94 - When to Harvest Melons

Is there anything better in summer than a fresh-picked watermelon or cantaloupe from the garden? But how do you know when melons are ripe and ready to pick?

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I share my methods of knowing when to harvest cantaloupes and when to harvest watermelons -- my favorite fruit!

Jul 23, 2019
93 - Freezing, Canning, and Dehydrating Basics

Whether you grow your garden to stock up a year's worth of some foods like I do, or maybe your small space has produced more than you can eat fresh, you will want to look at options for preserving the harvest.

While most people think of canning, this is only one option when it comes to preserving your hard-earned bounty.

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast and article below, I share the basics of three common methods of preserving: freezing, canning, and dehydrating.

Jul 16, 2019
92- Garden Irrigation with Joe Lamp'l

You would think something as simple as watering the garden would be easy for home gardeners. But garden irrigation can actually prove tricky to master.

How much water does your garden need?

Should you hand-water, use soaker hoses, or lay drip lines?

How do you know if your vegetables are getting too much or not enough water?

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, garden expert Joe Lamp'l of the Joe Gardener Show shares his best practices for garden irrigation. Click below to listen to the conversation or continue reading.

Jul 09, 2019
91 - Tomato Troubleshooting with Joe Lamp'l

When we begin our gardens, we imagine what our tomato harvest will look like. But most of the time, we don't anticipate tomato plant problems that often arrive in mid-summer.

Beginning gardeners blame themselves and sometimes give up. But they shouldn't. Summer tomato problems are more common than you realize, and thankfully, there are steps you can take to overcome many of these tomato issues.

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, gardening expert Joe Lamp'l of the Joe Gardener Show talks about common tomato problems and offers solutions for your garden.

Jul 02, 2019
90 - 10 Lessons Learned from the Spring Garden

One fun part of gardening is that we get to learn and grow in our knowledge each season. My 2019 spring garden yielded several successes and lessons learned, and I want to share those with you.

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I identify ten lessons I've learned from my 2019 spring garden. Click below to listen to continue reading.

Jun 25, 2019
89 - How to Harvest, Store, and Cure Garlic

You've watched your beautiful garlic plants grow for months, and the time nears for harvest. But how do you know when to harvest garlic? And once you harvest, how do you cure and store it?

The good news is this: harvesting, curing, and storing garlic is almost as easy as growing it! You only need to know a few basics and you'll be eating garlic from your own backyard garden for months.

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast and in the post below, I show you what to do when your garlic nears harvest time. Click to listen or continue reading below.

Jun 18, 2019
88 - Tips from Rookie Gardeners

I think we'd all say experienced gardeners offer priceless garden wisdom, but there's a group of people first-time gardeners can also learn from that's often overlooked: second-time gardeners. Still with a beginner's mindset, gardeners in their sophomore year recall details experienced gardeners forget.

It's kind of like how a mom of a toddler can offer something special to a mom of a newborn that a mother of teenagers can't. It's a "been there, done that" mindset that hasn't "been there, forgotten that."

Though I still consider myself a beginning gardener in so many ways -- we're all learning no matter how many seasons we've gardened -- I asked second-time gardeners in my Facebook group to share their top suggestions with their first-time peers. Most of the suggestions fell into a few categories.

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I share the six best tips beginning gardeners learned after their first season. Click to listen or continue reading below.

Jun 11, 2019
87 - How to Eat Your Back Yard Year Round with Becky Porter of The Seasonal Homestead

In my first garden, I planted once. I had no aspirations for a year-round harvest. Any harvest would equal a successful garden in my mind.

But the second year I added a fall garden, and as I gained more experience I realized I could extend my garden season even further. I began growing more winter crops and I enjoyed expanding my growing season much further than the once-and-done summer harvest.

Planning for a year-round harvest is a skill I'm still working to improve. That's why I invited Becky Porter from The Seasonal Homestead to share with me her tips for year-round gardening.

Jun 04, 2019
86 - Growing Okra No Matter Where You Live

Growing okra in my garden is one of my favorite vegetables to grow! And it's not just for those of us who live in the southern US. With a little understanding of okra's basic growing requirements, this tasty vegetable can be grown in most areas of the country. Plus, its versatility offers growing options of both raised beds and in the garden.

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast and in the article below, you'll learn how to grow okra either in your garden or raised bed -- no matter where you live.

May 28, 2019
85 - 3 Organic Aphid Controls Tested

When you discover aphids in your garden, you naturally want to get rid of them -- fast! With a host of organic aphid control solutions available online, how do you know which one to choose?

If you're like me, you want something easy. And more important, you don't want your actions to harm your garden or your plants.

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I share with you how I tested 3 organic aphid control methods -- homemade insecticidal soap, Neem oil, and worm castings -- side by side.

I also share a fourth organic aphid control method that is always my go-to way to keep aphids from harming my vegetable garden.

May 21, 2019
84 - Tomatoes to Prune or Not to Prune

Do tomato plants need to be pruned?

In my first years of gardening, it seemed everyone told me, "yes." But as I gained more experience and began listening to other gardening experts, I learned that the answer to this question isn't as clear as you'd think.

People get passionate about tomato pruning. But I started asking myself, "why?"

Is it because this is the way they've always done it? Because their mom or grandpa told them that's the best way to care for tomatoes? Or are people pruning tomatoes (or not pruning) based on their own experience and tests?

It seemed everywhere I turned I received conflicting information, so I did what I encourage every gardener to do. I tested it in my own garden.The results were so clear to me that I'll never look at pruning tomato plants the same way again.

May 14, 2019
83- From Ground Beds to Raised Beds - Interview with Jill Winger of the Prairie Homestead

First-time gardeners must decide: "should I plant in a raised garden bed or in the ground?" Certainly, it's not always an either/or decision.

While I've always used a combination of both for many reasons, Jill Winger of the Prairie Homestead converted her in-ground garden to a garden comprised entirely of raised beds.

Though a devastating experience of inadvertently poisoning her garden served as a catalyst for the switch, she shares the benefits and drawbacks of both methods in today's episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast. Click below to listen to our conversation or continue reading.

May 07, 2019
82- Prevent Poisoning Your Soil - Interview with Jill Winger of the Prairie Homestead

There are few garden subjects I am more passionate about than mulch. It prevents weeds and regulates moisture in the soil, among its other benefits.

But which mulch should you use? Perhaps the most common is shredded leaves, but what if you're like me and you don't have access to deciduous trees? Then what are your options?

I've used wood chip mulch, hay mulch, straw mulch, and pine needle mulch, and I talk about the pros and cons of each type of mulch here. Although I prefer wood chip mulch, I have used hay mulch from time to time with good results.

But after talking to Jill Winger of the Prairie Homestead, I realized using hay as mulch isn't without its risks. In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, Jill talks about how deep mulching with hay poisoned her garden. Click below to hear our conversation or read on to find out what happened, how she identified the problem, and what advice she gives to other gardeners considering using hay to mulch their gardens.

Apr 30, 2019
81- My Favorite Gardening Podcasts

On any given day in the garden, you'll find me with earbuds and my phone, listening to my favorite gardening podcasts. What better way to spend a few hours in the garden than to do the thing I love, while learning ways to do it better?

As a first-time gardener in 2013, I could not find enough gardening podcasts to fill my time or my thirst for knowledge. Since podcasting was in its infancy, I listened to the few I could find. Then, as I started teaching others how to garden, I even created my own -- the Beginner's Garden Podcast.

But now, I'm grateful to access more gardening podcasts at my fingertips, and I want to share my favorites with you.

So as I think fitting, in this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I share my favorite podcasts to listen to in the garden. Click to listen or continue reading below.

Apr 23, 2019
80 - 12 Garden Rules

In the early months of my podcast, I received an email from a veteran gardener from a generation ahead of me. We traded emails frequently and formed a friendship in the years since that first email.
Several months ago, he sent me a list he had created called his "12 Garden Rules." With his permission, I share this wise man's gardening wisdom to you. No matter what your age or experience level of gardening, you are sure to find his advice valuable.

Apr 16, 2019
79 - Organic Cabbage Worm Control

If you've ever noticed the eaten leaves of your broccoli, cabbage,  or kale, you've likely encountered one of worms that attacks the brassica family of plants. Even organic gardeners struggle to find ways to control these pests that can decimate your beloved cole crops in short order. 

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, you'll learn 5 organic ways to both prevent and get rid of cabbage worms in your garden. 

Apr 09, 2019
78 - Vertical Vegetables with Amy Andrychowicz

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I talk to the author of Vertical Vegetables, Amy Andrychowicz. You may recognize her as the writer behind the web site Get Busy Gardening. Amy is a zone 4b gardener in Minnesota, and she uses vertical gardening to both practically make the most of her small space and aethestically beautify her backyard patio and garden.

Apr 02, 2019
77 - Raised Bed FAQs

About a year ago, I wrote a post about 7 Common Mistakes in Raised Bed Gardening.  It has since become one of the most popular posts here at the Beginner's Garden, and many readers have posted more questions about their raised bed gardens. 

So I thought I would visit this topic again and answer some of those questions. In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast and in the post below, I dive into nine of the most common questions I hear. Click below to listen to the full discussion or continue reading.

Mar 26, 2019
76- Tomato Cages vs. Stakes

My journey to the ideal tomato trellis system has not been an easy one. It started with using a flimsy round "tomato cage," which couldn't bear the weight of my vining tomato plant loaded with fruit.

Then, I turned to the Florida Weave method. This worked beautifully for my Roma tomatoes but not the vining, indeterminate varieties.

Finally, I decided to try two other popular methods -- tomato staking and a heavy duty professional tomato cage. Then I tested each method and took detailed notes on the yields of each.

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast and in the article below, I share the results of my testing. You'll learn the benefits and drawbacks of both the single-stem tomato staking method and the heavy duty tomato cage. By the end, you'll see which one I settled on and why.

Mar 19, 2019
75 - Short term vs Long term Harvests

When beginning gardeners start planning their gardens for the first time, most do not know which vegetables will keep producing all season and which will harvest once and finish. 

I know I didn't think about that my first few seasons. But now I understand that some vegetables produce all season and some give a one-and-done harvest. With that knowledge, I am better able to plan my garden to full production all season.

Mar 12, 2019
74 - Worm Composting for Beginners

On this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast and in the article below, Emily Leuba from the Crazy Worm Lady shares all you need to know about the fascinating world of composting with worms. She answers the most frequently asked questions, and in the guide you can grab at the end of the post, she'll take you step-by-step with instructions and materials you'll need to get started with vermicomposting yourself! 

Mar 05, 2019
73 - Companion Planting for Pest Control

What can I plant in my garden to keep pests away?

Doesn't every organic gardener want to know this? We don't want to use pesticides, so we want to know what herbs deter pests, what flowers deter caterpillars, and what plants repel specific insects that plague our gardens.

While scientific research on the topic of companion planting for pest management is still in its infancy, blog posts, books, and articles abound with ideas. But what suggestions are based in science and which ones are based in old wives' tales? 

In today's episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I share 4 principles for using companion planting for organic pest control.

Feb 26, 2019
72 - 21 Tips to Save Money in the Garden

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I share my top 21 money-saving tips to growing a frugal vegetable garden. Click below to listen or read the article below to learn my 21 tips to saving money gardening, and when you're finished, be sure to share your own tips so we can all benefit!

Feb 19, 2019
71 - 4 Tips in Choosing Raised Bed Soil

Before you go out and buy any soil or compost, here are 4 things to think about to get exactly what you need for your garden on your budget. Don't waste your money on something you don't need! If you've wondered, “How do I start a raised bed garden?” Then these tips will get you started!


Feb 12, 2019
70 - 5 Mistakes First-Time Gardeners Make

When we start our first gardens, we're full of excitement and hope. But there's another feeling not far behind: fear. What if we make mistakes without realizing it?

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast and the blog post below, I share five common mistakes I see first-time gardeners make. I made them all myself as a beginning gardener, and I want to prevent you from going through those failures like I and so many others have experienced.

Feb 05, 2019
69 - Low Maintenance Crops for Busy Gardeners

Today I'm going to talk to you about low maintenance crops. These are the ones that won't require a lot of baby-sitting. They're easy to grow and manage. In my opinion, they're perfect plants for the first-time gardener to start with, especially when you don't know realistically how much you will be able to manage in the height of the summer and want something low effort.

Jan 29, 2019
68- How to Start Seeds Indoors - interview with Kevin from Epic Gardening

Maybe you want to try to start seeds indoors for the first time. Or maybe you've tried in the past with little (or no) success. While attempting to start seeds indoors can prove intimidating, once you get the hang of the basics, it's really not as hard as you might think.

Though I have been starting seeds indoors for several years, I wanted to ask an expert to weigh in on best practices. In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I talked to Kevin Espiritu of Epic Gardening, and he shared with me what you need to start and grow your seeds inside.

Jan 22, 2019
67- Where to Buy Seeds

Once gardeners get an idea what crops they want to plant, beginning gardeners ask, "Where should I buy seeds?" With a plethora of sources -- local options, online seed companies, and seed catalogs -- it's hard to know the best places to buy your garden seeds.

One thing is for sure: quality matters. Here you'll find the benefits and drawbacks of local seed sources and online seed catalogs, along with tips to help you know how to choose your best vegetable garden crops and where to buy seeds.

Jan 15, 2019
66 - First Steps to Planning Your 2019 Garden

Sometimes we jump into choosing our crops and designing the layout of the garden way too fast. But if we take step backward and work through these three overlooked but crucial steps in garden planning, we'll find not only will the rest of the planning go more smoothly, but we'll end up with a more successful garden overall.

Let's start our 2019 garden season off right!

Resources mentioned:

Complete Garden Planner

Beginner's Garden Shortcut Online Course


Jan 08, 2019
65 - My 8 Favorite Garden Tools and Books

Whether you're looking for gift ideas or just hoping to expand your garden resources, here are my top eight favorite tools and books I've used in and for my garden. 

Links to all the books and resources are found here:

Nov 06, 2018
64 - Soil Testing - a Beginners Guide to Why, When, How, and What Next

Even beginning gardeners understand how critical healthy soil is to the life of their plants. But how do you know what's going on underneath your mulch? Without a soil test, you're just guessing, and you might even attempt to fix problems without knowing the root cause.

A soil test is a critical but overlooked component to understanding the home in which your plants live. In this episode, I'll go over the basics -- why you need to test your soil, when to test, how to test, and what to do after you receive your results.

Click here for the full blog post with the information presented today.


Oct 23, 2018
63 - Get a Head Start on Next Year's Garden

If you're on your second year of gardening or beyond, this action plan will help you get started on your garden planning so you can have your best season yet!

BONUS LIVE TRAINING! Details at -- Don't miss it!

Full blog post:

Oct 09, 2018
62: Why You Shouldn't Clean Up Your Garden (Mostly)

This time of year many of us are gearing up for a big garden clean-up. We want to put our gardens to bed for the winter, preparing for a fresh, blank slate in the spring. But is a fall garden clean-up really best? Today I share why you might want to skip some of those clean-up tasks, what happened in my garden when I did, and how you can decide what should stay and what should go. 

Click here for full show notes and blog post.

Sep 25, 2018
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

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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