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Grow Your Own Food

Grow Your Own Food

By Shanna Smith, Garden Writer
A podcast dedicated to helping beginner gardeners grow their own fresh fruits, vegetables and even grains—whether in a back yard or on a balcony. Get helpful growing tips, recipe inspiration and more. And for more information, including how-to articles and helpful photos and videos, visit
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Should You Plant Those Seeds Again?
Say you planted a variety of seed for the first time this past year, and the results were a little...underwhelming. Should you try them again? I've got some questions that might help you decide. And a tip for what to do with them if you decide not to! Here's the sister post for this episode, if you need it!
November 18, 2020
6 Tips for Seed Saving
Saving seeds is such a great way to cut down on costs when you're trying to grow your own food for the purpose of saving money. These are the tips I've learned over time that help me succeed each year. Need to see the sister post? It's right here on my blog, Bee+Basil.
November 11, 2020
Ho-Ho-Holiday Gardening Gift Guide
Whether it's for someone else or for someone to get us, we all need holiday gift ideas starting about now. So just like last year, I've put together a list of incredibly practical—and most very affordable—gift ideas for your favorite gardener in your life (including you). Need the links to products I'm recommending? You can find them here in the sister post to this episode on Bee + Basil! And here's the link to my new online seed starting course, if you're interested!
November 4, 2020
6 Ways to Store Your Garlic Harvest
When stored well, a lot of garlic can last for up to a year at room temperature. Buuut sometimes even despite our best efforts, it starts to go mushy or sprouty. So I put together a list of all the different ways I store my garlic—not just to make the most of my harvest, but also to make things easier on myself in the kitchen. See the sister post on the blog for product recommendations!
October 28, 2020
Must-Do Fall Garden Chores!
I know, chores—womp, womp. But these are the ones you absolutely should do to make sure next year's garden gets off to a good, healthy start! And you might get off easy if some don't apply to you. :) Here's the sister post to this episode if you need it. And be sure to check out the latest seasonal recipes on the blog!
October 21, 2020
Why Worms = A Healthy Garden
You know worms live in dirt. But do you know about the awesome stuff they do for your plants? And how their presence generally hints at a healthy garden? Then listen in to this episode! Need to see the sister post? Here you go!
October 14, 2020
Storing Root Vegetables for Winter
How long can you store them at room temperature? How cold can they stand? How much humidity do they need? I'm answering all these questions in more in this episode to help you keep your root veggies as fresh as possible for as long as possible. Need to reference the sister post for this episode? You can see it on Bee + Basil!
October 7, 2020
How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar with Apple Scraps
Are you on the apple cider vinegar train? If so, then you should learn how to make your own. Not just because you'll know exactly what's in it and it can save you money, but because it's so dang easy! Need to see pictures or ask a question? See the sister post for this episode on my website, Bee + Basil!
September 30, 2020
Building a Raised Bed Garden - Part 2
Last episode, we talked through the materials and pest control options you have when building a raised bed garden. In this episode, I'm covering all the planning tips I have—from budget to bed sizes to layout and more! Need to see pictures of the raised bed garden we built? Check out the sister post for this episode!
September 23, 2020
Building a Raised Bed Garden - Part 1
Are you thinking about building a raised bed garden? There's a LOT to think about! In this episode, I'm covering the three most common materials chosen to construct raised bed gardens, their pros and cons, and their possibilities for pest control integration. Find pictures of our DIY raised bed garden we built in the sister post for this episode!
September 16, 2020
When and How to Harvest Sunflower Seeds + Roasting!
It's that time of year! Learn about the signs to look for that tell you your sunflowers are ready for harvesting, plus how to harvest, dry and even how to roast your sunflower seeds. Need pictures? I got you. Here's a link to the sister post for this podcast episode!
September 9, 2020
Seed Fermentation: Which seeds, why and how to do it
Did you know that certain seeds actually benefit from fermentation before drying and storing? It's true! In this episode, I cover which seeds you should be fermenting, why you want to do it, and the super easy "how" to do it. Need to see the sister post for this episode? Here it is!
September 2, 2020
When to Pick Apples
If you're new to owning an apple tree, and you're not sure when to pick those apples you've been eyeballing all season, I've got answers! Listen in for several tips to judge the ripeness of apples before harvesting, and as always, be sure to see the sister post for this episode on my blog, Bee + Basil.
August 26, 2020
Using Tea Tree Oil in the Garden
There are lots of uses for tea tree oil. But did you know you can use it in the garden to treat fungal and bacterial infections, too? And even use it to treat some pest infestations? It's true! If you need it, here's the sister post to this episode, plus a link to my DIY bug spray recipe that incorporates tea tree oil.
August 19, 2020
An Intro to Water-Bath Canning
Does opening a jar of tomato sauce that smells like summer—even though it's the dead of winter—sound amazing? Then you should learn how to can! Don't be intimidated...water-bath canning is a great way to get started, and it requires very few supplies. In this episode, I talk through the supplies—which ones are 100% necessary and which ones you can do without (because I've done it)—as well as the do's and do not's of the canning process. Need pictures, product links or just a reference for later? See the sister post for this episode at
August 12, 2020
Treating and Preventing Oak Mite Bites
These little buggers are the worrrrrrst. But I've got a natural way to treat them! You can find links to the scientific studies talking about why it works here in the sister post for this episode. And you can find the recipe for the all-natural, essential oil bug spray here!
July 29, 2020
All About Harvesting Potatoes: What types, when, how and even how to cure!
For such a simple food, you'd never suspect that harvesting and storing potatoes could be so tricky. In this episode, I'm breaking down the two main types of potatoes, the signs they're ready to harvest, some common misconceptions and curing and storage info. Here's the sister post to this episode on Bee + Basil if you need it!
July 22, 2020
When and How to Harvest Garlic
Not sure when to get that garlic out of the ground? That's understandable—there's a lot of conflicting advice out there. But after several garlic harvests and lots of research, I've got the two big clues you should look for that tell you when the time is right. I'm also giving some tips for harvesting. I'm also sharing a fun video on how to braid your garlic in the sister post for this episode!
July 15, 2020
Basics of Succession Planting: Make use of your space all season long!
Your garden is not your living room, where you place your furniture and leave it there for all of eternity. After spring crops are done, most of us can make use of that space one more time before the growing season is up! Here are the basics, and how to do it so you don't exhaust your soil. See the sister post for this episode to see how my garden layout changes over the growing months!
July 8, 2020
How to Care for an Apple Tree
Did you plant an apple tree this year? Or are you thinking about planting one? Maybe you inherited an apple tree when you moved into your current home, like I did? However you ended up with your apple tree, I'm excited for you! And I'm here with all the tips for taking care of it. These are all the things I do each year for my own apple tree. If you need to see the sister post for this episode on my blog, it's right here!
July 1, 2020
Japanese Beetles: Why and how to control them in your yard and garden
There's nothing worse than hitting June, watching all your lovely fruit or vegetable plants thrive, and then you come out to find them covered in a swarm of destructive Japanese Beetles. If you're a new gardener, you likely have no idea what these guys are or how to deal! So I'm covering everything about Japanese Beetles in this episode. Need to see my blog post about how to use a Japanese Beetle trap? Click here!
June 24, 2020
Hilling Potatoes: What it does (and what it doesn't do!)
Hilling is a critical part of growing potatoes. In this episode, I'll explain why and how to do it, as well as some incorrect information I used to have on my blog about why you should do it! Need the sister post for this episode? Here it is!
June 17, 2020
Let's Prune Those Tomato Plants!
It's June, and that means the tomatoes have officially started to go bonkers. Which makes you wonder...should you prune them? If so, how? Don't worry, I've got the answer to both of those questions in this episode! Need to see pictures or product links? Here's the sister post!
June 10, 2020
A Complete Guide to Growing Beans
Green beans, black beans, lima beans...grow all the beans! From where and how to plant them in your garden to what they need as they grow and how to harvest. Find the sister post for this episode here!
June 3, 2020
What to Plant in a Tea Herb Garden
If you can't live without tea, and you like exploring the health benefits of different herbs, this episode is for you! These are my favorite herbs to grow in my garden that I make herbal infusions with to help soothe stomach aches, headaches, nerves, bloating...all kinds of stuff. See the sister post on my blog here!
May 27, 2020
Favorite Flowers for Vegetable Gardens
This episode is PACKED with all my favorite flowers for growing in or around vegetable gardens. They're my faves because they repel pests, attract beneficial bugs, make great cut flowers or have beneficial properties in herbal preparations. Need to reference the sister post for pictures or spellings of different types of flowers? You can find it here!
May 20, 2020
Every Pepper Growing Mistake I've Made
I never realized how tricky it was to grow peppers...until I tried to grow them myself! Here are 9 tips for growing peppers—based on 9 mistakes I've made while trying to learn how to grow the best peppers possible. Need to see images or product links? See the sister post for this episode here!
May 13, 2020
Growing Strawberries...Everything I Know!
How many kinds of strawberries are there? Should you fertilize and when? Do you have to grow them in the ground? What is this crazy long vine thing my strawberry plant sent out?? All those questions and many more are answered in this episode. Need to see pictures from the sister post? Here it is!
May 6, 2020
10 Tips for Growing Sweet Corn
You guys, this is everything I know about growing corn in a home garden. And it's A LOT—it's about 5 minutes longer than my usual episodes! But I hope it helps you when it comes to growing sweet corn in your own garden this year. Need to see the sister post for this episode? Here it is!
April 29, 2020
The Best Vegetables for a Small Garden...and the Worst
You've got a small garden, or you only have room for a small garden—including containers! What plants are going to give you the most produce for the space you have available? And what plants just aren't worth it? That's what I'm covering in this episode. Click here for this episode's sister post on  my blog, Bee + Basil!
April 22, 2020
Must-Have Tools for New Gardeners
New hobbies mean new tools! But we're all feeling pretty budget-conscious these days, so if you're just getting into gardening, here are what I view as the absolute must-have (and one must-must-have) gardening tools. Nothing more. You can find the links to the products I recommend in this episode in the sister post on my blog!
April 15, 2020
Growing Sweet Potato Slips
Did you know sweet potatoes aren't related to regular potatoes at all? They're actually a tropical vine, so they grow very differently. In this episode, I'll tell you exactly what you need to do to grow your own sweet potato slips at home—and if you want, you can even use an organic sweet potato from the grocery store to do it! Need to see pictures? Here's the sister post for this episode.
April 8, 2020
Growing Up: Plants to grow vertically, and which trellis to choose
Why should you give vertical growing a try? A few really good reasons that I'm going into here, along with which plants you should try it with and what trellises work best for different plants. See the sister post for this episode here!
April 1, 2020
Tips for Avoiding Transplant Shock
Let's get real—some amount of transplant shock is going to happen to your vegetable seedlings, no matter how careful you are. But you can definitely reduce the severity of shock your seedlings experience by following these guidelines! Need to see the sister post for this episode? Here it is!
March 25, 2020
How to Plant Potatoes the RIGHT Way
Okay, okay. Everyone gardens a little different, I'm a huge fan of saying that. But I really feel like planting your potatoes this way is the right way to do it for two BIG reasons—it produces more tubers that are healthy and edible, and it means less pest issues. For pictures, see the sister post for this episode on the Bee and Basil blog!
March 18, 2020
Why and How to Harden Off Seedlings
Imagine your seedlings like little pre-teens that up until now, did nothing but play video games and eat peanut butter sandwiches brought to them on a silver tray. How do you think they'd fare if you sent them into the real world without at least a little experience of what it's like out there? Not good, right? Exactly! So we have to toughen those seedlings up. That's what this episode is all about. And if you lose track of the days and hours, here's the sister post for this episode!
March 11, 2020
Sprout Your Own Seed Potatoes!
If you've never tried growing potatoes before, you have to give it a shot at least once. It's so fun and easy! Plus it's inexpensive—you can sprout your own seed potatoes from organic potatoes at the grocery store. In this episode, I'll tell you how! Here's the sister post on my blog, where you can find additional resources and related posts!
March 4, 2020
Broccoli Growing Tips I Learned the Hard Way
I love broccoli. But I didn't always love growing it, because it's kind of a pain in the butt at first! These are all tips I had to learn on-the-fly while growing it over the years. If you're trying it the first time, or this is your second (or third) rodeo and you're hoping for better results, this episode is a must listen! For pictures and product recommendations, visit this episode's page on my website!
February 26, 2020
Beginner's Guide to Planning This Year's Garden
Planning to start your first garden this year, but not sure where to start? These are the tips that I've found super helpful over time! Visit this episode's sister post for product links and pictures.
February 19, 2020
How to Start a Seedling Nursery on the CHEAP
Think it's super expensive to start a seedling nursery at home? Think again, friends! I'm here to tell you that you can do it for less than $75. Yep, for the price of 10-12 seedlings from the garden center, you can grow hundreds of vegetable seedlings yourself...FOR YEARS. How? Listen up, and I'll tell you! Get product links and pictures in the sister post for this episode here.
February 12, 2020
Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Onions!
If you've never grown onions, or you've only grown them from sets, you might not realize it's onion seed starting season! In this episode, I talk about the difference between onion seeds and onion sets, and why I think onion seeds are the better way to go. Plus, my tips for getting them off to a great start! See the post for this episode on the Bee + Basil website.
February 5, 2020
How to Schedule Your Seed Starting
Is this the first year you're looking to tackle starting your own seedlings from seed, at home? Or maybe you tried it for the first time a while back, and it was a mess. This is the method I use every year to keep all the information I need straight, and make sure my seedlings are getting planted outside right on time. See this post on Bee + Basil for the frost/weeks to grow chart I mention in the episode!
January 29, 2020
Top 10 Seed Starting Mistakes
One of my favorite parts of gardening and growing my own food is starting my own seedlings from seed. But for such a natural process, there are a LOT of things that can go wrong! Mostly because it's us humans trying to simulate nature. Here are the biggest mistakes people make when seed starting, and how you can get it right!
January 22, 2020
Seed Catalog Shopping Tips
We all know how to shop. But when it comes to seed we know what to look for? And how to make sure we're not overbuying?  Looking for more information? Find lots more growing advice when you visit the sister post for this episode on my blog!
January 15, 2020
What I Learned from a Year of Growing Our Own Food
In late 2018, we decided to embark on a big challenge—to only cook with what we could grow at home for a WHOLE YEAR. And since this podcast is about growing your own food, I'm starting the new season off by sharing what it was like to be dedicated to that on a grand scale! Want to see pictures or get product links? Visit the sister post on my blog for this episode.
January 8, 2020
Top 10 Things I Learned in the Garden This Year
The fails. The wins. The very near misses with slugs. I'm covering my biggest gardening lessons from 2019. Use them to help you get ahead in the 2020 growing season! Need pictures or product links? Visit this episode's sister post on the blog!
December 18, 2019
Garden Layout Tips for Beginners
Laying out your garden can kind of feel a little bit like putting together a puzzle. Which plants should go where? Should you put plants from the same family together? I've got several great tips that will help you put next year's garden in order. Want more growing advice? See this episode's sister post on my blog!
December 11, 2019
The Totally Detailed Way to Take Care of Garden Tools
Want to save money gardening? Make sure you take good care of the few tools you must have in order to do all the digging, shoveling, pruning and watering! Is it the sexiest topic? Heck no! But it's still an important one for new and beginning gardeners. And I'm covering it—and how to go about it—in this episode. Find pictures and more details in this episode's sister post on the Bee+Basil blog.
December 4, 2019
What's the Best Kind of Mulch for a Veggie Garden?
It's not just decorative—mulch is super important for the success of any garden! In this episode, I'm going over why that is, along with the top 5 types of garden mulch, their pros and cons, and finally, how to apply it. Need pictures or product links? Visit the sister post on my blog for this episode!
November 27, 2019
The What, Why and When of Soil Amendments
Not everyone has the luxury of trucking in loads of perfect garden soil. Sometimes when it comes to garden soil, you gotta work with what you've been given. These soil amendments are great solutions for addressing the four big soil issues—aeration, water retention, acidity and nutrient value. Not only that, but I'll tell you when it's best to apply them! There's LOTS of details in this episode, so if you need more info or product links, here's a link to the sister post on my website!
November 20, 2019
Giving Food a Second Life to Reduce Food Waste
Into the idea of reducing your carbon footprint? Or just into waste reduction in general? Then you're going to love these creative ways to get the most out of your produce, whether it's homegrown or store-bought!
November 13, 2019
I'd Test That (Soil, That Is)
There's so much more to soil than its pH level! In fact, there's a whole world of minerals, nutrients and little creatures lurking below the surface. Want to get a handle on everything you can't see with your eyeballs? Then you should get your soil tested. See pictures and more details on the soil testing process in this episode's sister post.
November 6, 2019
N is for Nitrogen
How important is nitrogen to plants? Extremely. That means you're better of knowing as much as possible about how they use it, how they get it naturally, and how you can get it to them when nature's supply runs low. I'm covering all that in today's ever-so-slightly congested episode!
October 30, 2019
Plant All The Garlic
It's October, which means it's time to plant garlic! In this episode, I'm covering where to get your seed garlic, why it's best to plant it in fall, and how to plant it. Get excited! See pictures and more details in the sister post to this episode.
October 23, 2019
Let's Harvest Those Sweet Potatoes!
It's fall, which means it's time for those sweet potatoes to come out of the ground. But when, exactly? And then what do you do with them after? Welp, you should definitely cure them. Here's how! See pictures and get recipe ideas when you visit this episode's sister post on my website!
October 16, 2019
The When and How of Winter Squash
You've been watching it grow all summer. But when should you harvest your winter squash? And how? I'm answering both those questions, as well as giving some storage tips in this episode. Find pictures and get product links in the sister post to this episode on my blog.
October 9, 2019
The Best Way to Dry Fresh Basil [Blind Taste Test]
There are lots of ways to preserve fresh herbs, and drying is definitely a favorite. BUT...there are also several ways to dry fresh basil. So I conducted an experiment! A blind taste test, which helped me deduce which method of drying fresh basil netted the best smelling and tasting dried basil.
October 2, 2019
Storing Tomatoes in 8 different ways
Those tomatoes are going to just keep coming until the first frost knocks 'em down. If you're all tomatoed out, but you don't want them to go to waste, I'm explaining several storage methods in this episode! Find pictures, product links and more in this episode's sister post on my blog, Bee+Basil.
September 25, 2019
My Biggest Gardening Fails...So Far
Gardening is always a little win some, lose some. But this episode is 100% "lose some." Why? Because I'm hoping you'll learn from my mistakes! Which will make me feel a whoooole lot better about them.
September 18, 2019
What Type of Garden Should You Grow?
If you're wondering what type of garden you should start with, or what one you want to level up to, you need to listen to this episode! I'm breaking down the four main types of gardens, and what they're like in terms of cost and effort. Find more tips and growing advice when you visit the sister post for this episode.
September 11, 2019
Companion Planting Basics
Would you believe me if I said some plants do better when planted next to others? Or that you can naturally control certain pests with special plant combos? You can! In this episode, I'm talking about the basics of companion planting, plus giving you some easy, 2-plant companion planting ideas to try in your next garden layout. Get a downloadable guide to companions for the most commonly grown garden vegetables in this episode's sister post.
September 4, 2019
Why and How to Prune Herbs
A lot of new gardeners don't realize that unlike fruit and vegetable plants, herbs benefit so much from early and regular pruning. But how come? And how do you do it? I'm going to explain both of those things in this episode! See pictures and get product links in the sister post to this episode on my site, Bee+Basil.
August 28, 2019
Composting Without a Pile
You don't have to have a yard to grow your own food—so why should you have to have a yard to compost? In this episode, I'm sharing two ways I've used to compost on a small scale. So if you want to start composting and you don't have a yard, or you do have a yard, but you're not allowed to have an open-air compost pile, this episode is for you! Get links to my recommended products from this episode on my site, plus tons more growing advice.
August 21, 2019
Shedding Some Light on Sun Levels
You buy some seeds or a seedling and it says "full sun." Or "partial shade." Uh, partial is "partial," exactly? You're about to find out in this episode! See the sister post for this episode on my website—where you can find tons more growing advice!
August 14, 2019
Heirlooms and Hybrids: What's the difference?
If you keep coming across the words "heirloom" and "hybrid" in your seed catalog or seedling shopping, and you keep making a mental note to look up the difference, but haven't had time, this episode is for you!  Need more info? See the sister post for this episode on my website.
August 7, 2019
Rainwater Rules
Have you ever noticed that your plants respond differently to rain than they do to water from the garden hose, and wondered why? I'm explaining that in today's episode...and why I think it's pretty cool.
July 31, 2019
Holy Tomato...Growing Advice
Tomatoes are THE most popular homegrown vegetable. (We'll get into the vegetable vs. fruit debate later.) And while they can be easy to sprout, they sometimes need a little help to grow. So in this episode, I'm telling you all my tomato growing secrets. Find pictures, product links and more in the sister post on my blog, Bee+Basil.
July 24, 2019
Feed Your Food
Did you start a garden a year or two ago, only to watch its productivity decline ever since? It could be because you're not feeding your soil! In this episode, I'll break down the three times a year you should be fertilizing your plants, as well as what you should be feeding them with.
July 17, 2019
What the Heck Is Soil pH?
A lot of new vegetable gardeners overlook soil pH—a critical part of keeping your plants happy and healthy. In this episode, you'll get a basic explanation of soil pH, learn what impacts your soil pH, and how you can change it. Find pictures and product links to the things discussed in this episode in the sister post on my blog!
July 10, 2019
Talking Dirty...What Kind of Soil Do You Have?
If you want to get the most out of your garden, you need to understand what kind of soil you have. So I'm covering the 3 main types of soil, plus what to add to yours if it's less than ideal.
July 3, 2019
What to Look for When Buying Seedlings
Lots of gardeners choose to buy seedlings rather than growing from seed. So if you're just starting out growing your own food, there's no shame in doing the same! But you'll need to know what to look for—how to tell the difference between a healthy seedling and one that might give you problems down the road. This episode will help you feel confident when you head out to the garden center to pick up those seedlings! Need pictures or more info? See the sister post on my blog, Bee+Basil.
June 27, 2019
Plant Science Basics for Total Beginners
You know that plants have roots, stems and leaves. you know how they work? If not, have a listen! Because just like knowing more about how your body works can help you take care of yourself, knowing how plants work can help you successfully meet their needs when learning to grow your own food.
June 20, 2019
Intro to the Grow Your Own Food Podcast
Welcome to episode 1 of the Grow Your Own Food podcast! If you've ever thought about growing your own food, or you just started vegetable gardening, you're in the right place. In this first episode, I talk about my gardening experience and explain why it's totally okay if you're a complete beginner, as well as reasons you might want to try growing your own food.
June 13, 2019