SG552: Experimental Gardening with Megan Phelps

Megan Phelps approaches gardening with curiosity and a guilelessness that makes her experiences and experiments utterly fascinating and even shocking. Defying tradition, Megan (who often uses the image of a single dandelion as her profile picture on social media) grows plants that mainstream gardeners have long ago turned their backs on - burdock, dandelion, and amaranth, to name a few. Megan blogs at Seeds, Mulch and Weeds where she shares her tales and photos of her Northeast Kansas garden.

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“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson.

Experimental Gardening with Megan Phelps
Experimental Gardening with Megan Phelps

Interview Questions

Tell us about yourself and where you garden in northeast Kansas.

Time Stamp: 16:20

Megan - here’s three words that are a big part of your background – Mother Earth News. You were an editor there from 2002 -2012. What was that like?

Time Stamp 17:25

When you were the editor, you had said you were out of your primary focus area. What is that focus area for you?

Time Stamp: 19:20

Are you a year-round vegetable gardener? 

Time Stamp: 21:20

You’re a University of Kansas girl. You hold a BA in English and Environmental Studies, and an MS in Journalism, both from the University of Kansas. After your long time in position at Mother Earth News, you’re now back at your alma mater and you work at the Center for East Asian Studies, working with publications and social media. What are your thoughts on social media?

Time Stamp: 30:25

How did you get started blogging?

Time Stamp: 37:40

How did you come up with the title for your blog?

Time Stamp: 43:25

The other thing that caught my eye is your profile pic on everything you do online. A simple picture of a dandelion.How did that image become the identifier for your presence online?

Time Stamp: 47:00

Let’s do a little blog post review from this summer. You just wrote a little post about your luck growing tomatoes this year. It’s been a little mixed, hasn’t it?

Time Stamp: 53:35

You recently wrote a post about two new-to-you herbs in your 2016 garden – Borage and Burdock. What did you think?

Time Stamp: 57:55

You’ve also shared some beautiful pictures of your lemon squash. You had some decent success growing this type of squash this year. Tell us everything about it: where did you get it, how long to maturity, how does it taste, etc.

Time Stamp: 1:02:20

I also loved your post simply called Bees Love Corn. You’ve got some really great photos of bees working on the corn. What camera do you use for your photography?

Time Stamp: 1:04:20

Let’s take a virtual tour of your garden. So I’ve just parked my car – and I’m walking up to your house. Come on out with a glass of lemonade and walk me through your garden.

Time Stamp: 1:03:20

Are you an easily enchanted gardener or do you resist allowing your emotions to guide you in the garden?

Time Stamp: 1:18:50

Let talk garlic – you’ve posted some helpful ideas on storing the garlic harvest. One was a youtube video on braiding that you found from gardenerd1 and the other was something some friends of yours showed you during a visit.

Time Stamp: 1:20:50

You grow so many edibles. If you could only grow five what would be in your top five?

Time Stamp: 1:26:15

What do you regard as your central strength as a gardener?

Time Stamp: 1:32:25

In terms of connections, what garden bloggers do you admire and follow?

Time Stamp: 1:33:45

What are your plans for your garden this year?

Time Stamp: 1:36:20

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What listeners are saying...

I never write reviews but this is the best gardening podcast out there. Jennifer has interesting topics and guests and is not one bit annoying like some others are. I love that she involves her kids at the end of the podcast - usually with poetry or music. Really good podcast.

- Barbcfc, Mar 23, 2016

Still Growing is one of the reliably informative gardening podcasts from North America. The format consists of an intro (personal gardening status chat, seasonal remarks), an extended interview with a guest, and an outro with funny outtakes, side remarks, and some chatter (poems, readings) from the host's children. The podcast is focused on reliable knowledge - the guests are typically experts like academics, master gardeners, gardening entrepreneurs or public garden leaders. The intro and especially the outro give it a homey feel. Given I live in the high northern region, just a little below the Polar Circle, I'm always looking for more cold-weather oriented gardening information. Jennifer Ebeling is in Minnesota, so that's helpful to me! Vegetable gardening (my main interest) gets a good share, but is not predominant. Most topics transcend your specific gardening interest and are applicable to many styles: landscaping principles, vermicomposting, greenhouses. The episodes are typically an hour long, which is just fine for me.

- cwaigl, May 29, 2014

Best gardening podcast out there. Her preparedness leads to a good interaction with the guests and brings out the best in them. Very informative and yet personable.

- Corn bug, June 15, 2016

This is a great podcast. Really well produced and organized with good sound quality. I love the mix of information and personal touches. Jennifer has great guests and asks the best questions. You can tell she really does her homework. I listen to several gardening podcasts and this is my absolute favorite!

- So Cal Gardengirl, June 19,2016

Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
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