Amid the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a resurgence in interest in vegetable gardening, particularly in survival gardening as people want to prepare for possible food shortages. More importantly, parents are getting their homebound kids involved in vegetable gardening, which becomes both an educational opportunity and a valuable life lesson!
If you’re interested in learning more about keeping your distance while gardening during quarantine, check out this roundup of the top 10 podcasts for gardening vegetables, reviewed by Vurbl.
#1 – The Beginner’s Garden
For newbie gardeners, The Beginner’s Garden hosted by Jill McSheehy is a fantastic resource. A beginner gardener herself seven years ago, McSheehy developed a love of gardening through intensive research and good old fashioned trial and error. Now, she shares her “shortcuts” for gardening success with fellow beginner gardeners in her easy-to-follow, step-by-step blog, downloadable guides and accompanying podcast. Listeners will learn about starting seeds indoors, building and tending raised beds, dos and don’ts of fertilizer and soil enrichment, dealing with pests, and ultimately how to maximize harvest with minimal effort. The podcast is a supplement to her weekly newsletter, which includes gardening to-do lists and tasks based on the season.
The Host: Host Jill McSheehy quit her job to be a full-time stay-at-home-mom, and decided to start a garden to supplement her family’s grocery budget. After exhaustive research, frustration sifting through endless resources, and lots of head-scratching over confusing gardening jargon, she figured it out and never looked back. Now, she shares her passion and her journey (with all its ups and downs!) with listeners, in hopes of simplifying the gardening world so that they can get started faster and grow a “rewarding, successful garden.” Listeners look forward to learning from McSheehy every week and consider her podcasts more informative than many gardening books.
The Guests: For the most part McSheehy hosts the show solo, but she occasionally invites guests to add to the discussion. Guests have included Dr. Douglas Tallamy, author of Nature’s Best Hope to talk about the importance of insects in the garden, and fellow gardening podcasters, Mellissa K. Norris and Kevin Espiritu, who discuss preparedness and survival gardening during COVID-19.
Listen Here: The Beginner’s Garden
#2 – Plant Talk Radio With Fred Hower
Plant Talk Radio is one of the longest running live talk radio shows for gardening, first airing in the early 90s. The show focuses on growing zones 5 and 6, so listeners in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan will benefit the most, although the practical advice can be applied to any garden. The show features calls from listeners, and questions from email and social media are answered live on the air. The host of the show is a veteran gardener, and listeners enjoy his entertaining and friendly demeanor and wide breadth of knowledge about all things horticulture.
The Host: Host Fred Hower, known as “The Ohio Nurseryman,” has more than 50 years of experience as a landscape designer, horticultural consultant, and certified arborist. Considered a “walking encyclopedia” of knowledge, listeners appreciate Hower’s passion for gardening, and how he thoroughly enjoys sharing his knowledge and solving listeners’ problems.
The Guest: Plant Talk Radio is a live, weekly segment on select Ohio radio stations, so Hower is introduced and joined by the DJ on air. He also takes live calls from listeners, and occasionally interviews local horticulturist specialists, such as Lauren Ketcham of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA). In a recent episode, Hower talks about how to get kids involved in gardening while they’re stuck at home during COVID-19.
Listen Here: Plant Talk Radio
#3 – A Way To Garden
A Way To Garden is a weekly radio gardening show from Robin Hood Radio, the “the smallest NPR station in the nation.” Despite the station’s size, the show has a massive fanbase, with nearly 100,000 social media followers. The host, leading garden writer, Margaret Roach shares her personal gardening experience and how it has been a spiritual journey that has saved her many times over the years. She also interviews experts in the horticultural industry and talks about upcoming tours at her personal garden in Columbia County, NY. This is a great podcast for more experienced gardeners who want to delve deeper into the “woo-woo” (as Roach calls it) of gardening.
The Host: Host Margaret Roach is a garden writer and avid gardener for more than 30 years. She has three books and multiple works featured in Martha Stewart Living and Newsday. She is passionate about organic gardening, and teaches listeners how to successfully garden with no pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. Her light, entertaining conversational style on the show draws in listeners and makes them feel as if they’re strolling through Roach’s personal gardens chatting with an old friend.
The Guests: Roach invites experts and fellow garden-lover friends on the show every week. Guests have included fellow podcaster, garden writer and photographer, Ken Druse, as well as author, Daryl Beyers who shares his expertise on composting in one episode. Most recently Roach sits down with Ken Druse and discusses COVID-19 and the impact it’s having on their gardening vegetables; most notably, that they have nothing but time to complete the tasks that often get pushed to the back burner. She says of this time, “Maybe more than ever before in my life, I’m grateful today to have a garden. What a blessing it feels like. I can’t imagine the weeks and months ahead without the refuge it will provide. Perhaps you all feel the same way.”
Listen Here: A Way To Garden
#4 – The joe gardener Show
The joe gardener Show is from one of the most trusted and recognized television personalities in the gardening industry: Joe Lamp’l. The podcast is a supplement to Lamp’l’s Emmy award-winning PBS show, Grow A Greener World, where he travels the world visiting all types of farms – from sprawling family-owned organic farms to urban homesteads and farm-to-table restaurants. The show shares the stories of the people behind these farms and highlights the positive impact they’re making through gardening. Lamp’l discusses a huge range of gardening topics on the podcast while discussing his travels, from organic vegetable gardening and guides to canning and storage, to gardening in small spaces and urban areas, and attracting pollinators to gardens.
The Host: The show’s host and founder, Joe Lamp’l has been passionate about gardening vegetables since he accidentally broke a branch on one of his parent’s prized bushes, stuck it back in the ground, and it regrew. At just 8 years old, he was hooked on horticulture. His television career started as a host on a DIY Network show before creating Grow A Greener World and its accompanying website, blog, and podcast. Listeners rave about the wealth of information Lamp’l freely shares, his enthusiasm for all things gardening, and the lively, entertaining, and informative format of the podcast. Beginner gardeners and seasoned pros alike can learn from Lamp’l, and the podcast’s episodes are easily searchable based on interest.
The Guests: Lamp’l regularly invites guests on the podcast, including fellow horticulturists and podcasters like Kevin Espiritu of Epic Gardening, and co-founder of the Seed Savers Exchange, Diane Ott Whealy. Other guests include authors, avid gardeners, and owners of farms that Lamp’l has visited over the years.
Listen Here: The joe gardener Show
#5 – Epic Gardening
The Epic Gardening podcast is ideal for gardeners short on time, looking for some quick tips and daily inspiration. Most episodes are under 10 minutes, and the host covers a wide variety of gardening and horticulture topics while providing actionable and helpful tips. Listeners can learn about gardening vegetables, pest and disease prevention, houseplants and ornamental gardens, green gardening techniques like hydroponics, and much more! Many recent shows discuss container and balcony gardening, perfect for apartment dwellers and people seeking tips for gardening in small spaces during COVID-19.
The Host: Kevin Espiritu is the founder and host of Epic Gardening. He got into gardening in 2011 when he was living in a tiny condo. After tons of research and successfully creating all kinds of hydroponics and aquaponics systems, he realized he could help people in similar situations reach their gardening potential. Espiritu uses his website and podcast to share his journey and connect with millions of listeners around the world. Listeners love that episodes are short, succinct, and packed with information about gardening vegetables, and Espiritu is relatable and a joy to listen to.
The Guests: For the most part, Espiritu hosts the show himself, but he occasionally invites guests to share their niche and regional knowledge, such as Brijette Pena, owner of San Diego Seed Co. Other guests have included author Stephanie Rose and herbalist Rosalee de la Foret. Espiritu also invites listeners to submit questions on his website that will be used as topics on future episodes.
Listen Here: Epic Gardening
#6 – Living Homegrown Podcast
The Living Homegrown Podcast teaches listeners how to “live farm fresh without the farm.” It provides practical advice for gardening in small spaces, how to use everything in a garden, getting started with backyard chickens, and even how to make herbal infusions and body care items with garden goodies. There are many episodes around preserving, pickling, fermentation, curing, canning, and other long-term food storage techniques – perfect for people interested in survival gardening and preparing for potential food shortage. While there are no current episodes, there are more than 170 episodes in the archives, plus a supplemental blog.
The Host: Theresa Loe is an award-winning podcaster, executive producer for PBS’s Growing A Greener World, and successful entrepreneur and business coach. She is passionate about gardening vegetables, homesteading, and self-sufficiency, and insists you don’t need a farm or even a large plot of land to do it. Listeners love the variety of topics Loe covers, her extensive firsthand knowledge with urban homesteading, and her friendly, easy-going demeanor that makes listening and learning a pleasure.
The Guests: Loe regularly invites guests to share their personal experience and expertise on topics. Fellow gardening experts and horticulturists, landscapers, garden designers, and authors. In one episode, she interviews authors Colin McCrate and Ben Halm about growing more vegetables in less space, a must-listen for city dwellers interested in starting a garden.
Listen Here: Living Homegrown Podcast
#7 – The Organic Gardening Podcast
The Organic Gardening Podcast is based in the UK, giving gardeners in the US a unique perspective on organic gardening. People turned off by the use of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides that is common practice in the US will appreciate the practical tips and step-by-step strategies for naturally feeding soil and protecting against pests. The podcast is monthly and the topics are based on the season. Currently, there is a special April episode about gardening during lockdown. The hosts reiterate that April isn’t too late to get started with a garden, talk about catching up on forgotten gardening tasks, container and balcony gardening for small spaces, and offer additional tips for survival gardening. This episode also offers ideas for getting homebound kids out in the garden, learning, and appreciating nature!
The Hosts: Sarah Brown and Chris Collins co-host the podcast, a supplement to Garden Organic, the UK’s leading organic gardening nonprofit organization. Both Collins and Brown are avid organic gardeners, and listeners love their intelligent conversations, friendly rapport, and of course, their lovely, easy-on-the-ears accents!
The Guests: Each episode of The Organic Gardening podcast features an interview with an industry expert. From representatives of organic potting soil companies on the importance of peat-free mixes to gardening journalists and authors talking houseplants and wildlife, and edible garden writer and social media influencer, Lucy Start. Listeners appreciate the variety of guests and the knowledge they bring to the show.
Listen Here: The Organic Gardening Podcast
Must Listen Episodes:
#8 – Plantrama
Plantrama is a podcast all about plants that discusses “science, art & dinner: it’s all in your backyard!” This show goes a bit deeper into gardening topics and the science behind growing, making it ideal for seasoned gardeners and plant geeks. The hosts’ conversational style and witty banter make the show fun and easy to listen to, and fans love the varied topics, including reviews of specific plant and vegetable varieties, and seasonal recipes (check out the episode with the spring tonic salad, link below!). As one of the hosts specializes in foraging, there are many episodes dedicated to this art of finding food in the wild – perfect for people interested in survival gardening during COVID-19.
The Hosts: Co-hosts C.L. Fornari and Ellen Zachos make a dynamic duo that fans can’t get enough of! Fornari is a self-described ‘plant pusher,’ avid gardener, radio host, and author of seven books. Zachos is a photographer and garden writer, Harward graduate, and also the author of seven books. She specializes in foraging and even teaches foraging mixology workshops. Together they believe that being outside in nature, growing or finding our own food is good for the body, mind, and soul. They freely share their knowledge, passion, and experiences in a fun, entertaining format every week on their podcast.
The Guests: There are no guests on this podcast, but the hosts invite listeners to submit their questions to be answered on the show.
Listen Here: Plantrama
Must Listen Episodes:
#9 – The Old Farmer’s Almanac – Garden Musings
For gardeners looking for a lulling podcast more akin to an audiobook, check out The Old Farmer’s Almanac – Garden Musings. Written by regular contributors to the almanac, the musings cover a different topic each month, such as frame gardening and tips for a sluggish garden, and history (and mystery!) and care for both common and exotic plants. For apartment dwellers and people interested in gardening in small spaces, check out the episode Potting Up The Garden (link below). The musings contain facts and practical advice, but they are beautifully written and narrated to make listeners feel as if they’re caught up in great storytelling. Garden Musings is the perfect companion to an evening on the front porch, or time spent quietly seeding or weeding the garden. Tuning in is a gentle way to unwind while learning something new about gardening vegetables.
The Host: Monthly musings are written by several Farmer’s Almanac contributors, including George and Becky Lohmiller. Each musing is narrated by Almanac editor, Heidi Stonehill, who introduces the podcast, the title of the musing, and the author. There is no host per se, no other explanations, and no ads. Stonehill’s dreamlike voice almost makes the show feel more like a guided meditation than an informative gardening podcast.
The Guests: There are no guests on this podcast.
Listen Here: The Old Farmer’s Almanac – Garden Musings
#10 – Small Scale Life
The Small Scale Life podcast is a supplement to the Small Scale Life website, which provides resources for simplifying life in a chaotic, modern world – something many people are starting to really pay attention to since life has come to a grinding halt under COVID-19. In addition to gardening topics, the podcast also talks about financial freedom, community and wellness, and how they all work cohesively to help people achieve a simple, small scale, self-sufficient life. For gardeners with small spaces, or those interested in an uber-efficient space, check out the What Is Square Foot Gardening episode (link below) to learn how to grow vegetables in just 1 square foot of space, and never pull another weed again. It’s amazing!
The Hosts: Husband and wife, Tom and Julie created Small Scale Life in 2015 after deciding to jump off the hamster wheel of life and get back to basics. They started their urban gardening journey through square foot gardening and were shocked at how efficient it was for small spaces. With a background in business and finances, Tom is also uniquely qualified to speak on the family’s journey to financial freedom and provide actionable advice for scaling back and doing more with less.
The Guests: For the most part, Tom hosts the show solo, but he is occasionally joined by fellow urban gardeners and homesteaders, such as Drew Demlar, founder of Big Tex Urban Farms.
Listen Here: Small Scale Life
A quick note about getting gardening supplies during Covid-19
While most states have deemed nurseries, landscaping companies, and home improvement stores “essential” because they carry food supplies (seeds, dirt, etc.), please be mindful when visiting these places. Follow CDC guidelines for wearing masks and social distancing, and try to plan your trip during off-hours (not Saturday and Sunday morning). Better yet, support your local small business nurseries by calling and asking if they will deliver your gardening supplies for a small fee!
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