SG505: Decoding Gardening Advice with Jeff Gillman and Meleah Maynard

In this episode of Still Growing… (SG), I am joined by Jeff Gillman and Meleah Maynard as we discuss their book Decoding Gardening Advice; the Science Behind the 100 Most Common Recommendations.

Decoding Gardening Advice

Once you begin to garden, you quickly realize there is plenty of garden advice to go around. Some advice makes perfect sense aligning with good ‘ol common sense. Unfortunately, there’s also plenty of bad advice – misinformation, worn-out guideance, urban legand type stuff – that can mislead even seasoned gardeners. Jeff and Meleah put 100 pieces of advice up against science and some of their findings are surprising.

It was great fun chatting with Jeff (the professor) and Meleah (the gardener). The two of them are passionate about getting good gardening advice into the hands of gardeners. There is a smorgasbord of advice reviewed on this show, too.  From soil and watering to perennials and trees; there is something in this episode for every gardener regardless of skill level.

SG505: Decoding Gardening Advice with Jeff Gillman and Meleah Maynard

In this episode, you’ll find out about:

  • What inspired Jeff and Meleah to write Decoding Gardening Advice (6:22)
  • What information they wish they had included in the book (7:44)
  • How writing about gardening advice changed the way they approach gardening (9:00)
  • What gardening advice is most important to Jeff and Meleah (11:46)
  • Why there is so much conflicting advice when it comes to gardening (13:45)
  • False concepts about soil amendments (15:24)
  • The value of soil testing (19:19)
  • Coffee grounds as a soil additive (22:07)
  • Should gardeners bury coffee grounds into the base of blueberry plants or roses (23:54)
  • Vermicompost (24:53)
  • The myth of using gravel or rocks at the bottom of containers to improve drainage (28:36)
  • Debatable advice regarding pest, disease, and weed control (30:36)
  • The best mulch advice available (31:30)
  • The authors strong feelings about the use of landscape fabric (34:06)
  • Scrutinizing plant tags (36:38)
  • The value of buying small perennials (38:56)
  • Jeff reviews the best grow lights available on the planet (39:46)
  • Setting up an inexpensive seed starting station (42:05)
  • The value of adding epsom salts to roses (43:01)
  • Pruning techniques for trees (44:41)
  • Tree planting tips (47:30)
  • Growing vegetables in part sun locations (52:03)
  • Fertilizer practices (54:07)
  • Advice regarding lawn watering schedules (54:57)
  • The role of social media in guiding gardening practices (57:00)

Items mentioned in this podcast include:

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Question or Feedback?
Please leave a comment below and just let me know how you feel. What do you like about the show? What do you dislike? What kinds of things can I improve on? What do you wish there was more of? I also appreciate future guest or topic ideas. Let me know your suggestion in the comment section below. I may feature your comment on the show!
Win your own copy of Decoding Gardening Advice
 In the comment section below, just answer the following question:
What is your favorite garden myth?
Meleah will be picking our winner on Friday, July 12th!

Still growing...

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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  1. Joel Karsten on July 21, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    My favorite garden myth is “nothing will grow if I don’t bring in some ‘black dirt’ to grow my garden!” Another favorite myth is “everything organic is awesome and everything not ‘organically’ grown isn’t worth beans!”

    P.S. I found the “out-takes” at the end so funny!

  2. Katy Brown on July 22, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    My favorite part of this talk was the myth regarding compost tea. It makes sense that the good bacteria and microorganisms wouldn’t thrive outside of it’s cozy growing environment. Sort of a “duh” moment for me. Thanks for the great interview and funny outtakes at the end! I have “liked” the facebook page and checked out Melea’s website. Looking forward to more information everyday!

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