SG557: Gardening Challenge: Grow and Preserve a Year’s Worth of Food with Megan Cain

Megan Cain never touched a vegetable plant until the summer she turned 26.  Today, Megan shows people how to successfully grow their own food and get the most from their vegetable gardens. Megan trains gardeners through her business, The Creative Vegetable Gardener, and is the author of several books including the book we dive into today: Super Easy Food Preserving. 

Her brand new gorgeous book, the Smart Start Garden Planner, offers a fresh and simple approach to planning your garden.  Megan’s super power is helping gardeners create a clear plan for the upcoming garden season so that you get the most from your 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.

Gardening Challenge: Grow and Preserve a Year’s Worth of Food with Megan Cain
Gardening Challenge: Grow and Preserve a Year’s Worth of Food with Megan Cain
Gardening Challenge: Grow and Preserve a Year’s Worth of Food with Megan Cain
Gardening Challenge: Grow and Preserve a Year’s Worth of Food with Megan Cain
Gardening Challenge: Grow and Preserve a Year’s Worth of Food with Megan Cain
Gardening Challenge: Grow and Preserve a Year’s Worth of Food with Megan Cain

Interview Questions

We’re going to spend our time together chatting about your book, Super Easy Food Preserving. But first, why don’t you tell us about yourself?

Time Stamp: 28:35

Gardens are great friend magnets, aren’t they?

Time Stamp 31:00

People often think about extending the growing season, but you think about extending the season through the use of appliances like the refrigerator. I love that image. It’s a great way of thinking about extending the harvest.

Time Stamp 34:20

Can we chat briefly about the layout of your book? You include some worksheets and checklists in it. How do you see people using this resource?

Time Stamp 35:35

You mention people’s reactions when you say the word canning. I’ve never canned because it’s intimidating. What are some of the common reactions that you hear from folks who are leery about food preservation?

Time Stamp 37:15

Herbs are some of the easier edibles to preserve. Dried herbs aren’t a mystery, but going beyond that gets a bit scary. How do you like to store herbs?

Time Stamp 39:55

Let’s talk a little bit about storing through patties. This idea you can make a patty out of the paste, I’m assuming. Have you turned your paste some into a patty and preserved it that way?

Time Stamp 46:05

Right in the beginning of your book, on page 8-9, there’s a fantastic worksheet that you’ve designed. On the worksheet, it asks some thought-provoking questions. I’d like to ask you some of these questions and have you share some of your insights on them. Are you ready?

Time Stamp 51:45

Let’s chat quickly about using all the parts of the plants, like carrot leaves and radish leaves, and how you like to use them when you’re preserving. 

Time Stamp 1:12:55

Well, you have a motto on page 11 that was very striking to me. You wrote, “Shoot for abundance with a few crops.” I love this. Please share your thoughts behind this saying. I’m also curious on what you grow in abundance as well in your garden.

Time Stamp 1:14:55

Let’s go through your vegetable and fruit preserving methods. Let’s first start with beans. How do you preserve them?

Time Stamp 1:23:45

Now, let’s talk about fruit storage. In your book, you have 3 categories for them. The first is the berries.

Time Stamp 1:45:25

How about apples, peaches, pears, and plums? You lump those together in your next category.

Time Stamp 1:47:55

How about cherries? You separate this from the other fruit groups.

Time Stamp 1:49:55

How do you prepare your winter squash?

Time Stamp 1:52:05

How do you cook your winter squash?

Time Stamp 1:54:15

Cooking with frozen food isn’t always straightforward for people. People either like it or they don’t. I’m very curious what your tips are for how to use the frozen preservatives successfully?

Time Stamp 1:55:15

You have a tremendous call to action at the end of your book. I just loved it. The ending of your book feels so intimate because you’re challenging your students. Tell us what that challenge is.

Time Stamp 2:02:20

I can’t close the show without having you highlight some of your recipes. Could you pick out one or two and walk us through them?

Time Stamp 2:06:15

You have a new book coming out, correct?

Time Stamp 2:12:45

Tell us a little bit about your membership site!

Time Stamp 2:15:25

Megan Cain 300 on the Still Growing Gardening Podcast 6ftmama blog

Website:  The Creative Vegetable Gardener

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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.
Jennifer Ebeling
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