Just Grow Something | The "Why" Behind the "How" of Gardening

Karin Velez

Grow a better vegetable garden, whether you're a seasoned gardener or have never grown a thing in your life. Karin helps home gardeners learn to grow their own food using evidence-based techniques and research. She talks all about specific plants, pests, diseases, soil and plant health, mulch, garden planning, and more. It's not just the "how" but also the "why" that makes us better. The goal? For everyone to know how to grow their own food no matter what sized space they have or their experience level. Tune in each week to plan, learn, and grow with your friend in the garden, Karin Velez. read less
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Episodes

Celebrating 200 Episodes: Ask Me Anything! - Ep. 200
04-06-2024
Celebrating 200 Episodes: Ask Me Anything! - Ep. 200
Welcome to the 200th episode of the Just Grow Something podcast, my gardening friends! I launched this podcast back in February of 2021 as a way to pass on the gardening knowledge I had gained from my experiences on our own homestead and farm and what I had learned as I worked my way through my horticulture degree at Oregon State University. I’ve continued to learn along the way and pass on as much of that to you as I reasonably can in the 30 minutes or so a week we spend together here, as well as Reels and TikTok videos, the articles I write over on the website, the Facebook group and probably a few places I’m forgetting about. Getting into the rhythm of coming up with a topic each week, recording, editing, and publishing that episode, plus trying to put creatives together to post to social media to promote those episodes took some time and I still don’t’ always get the social media part of it right! Some of you have been along for the ride since day one, some of you are brand-new; no matter where you fall on that scale, I am sincerely happy you are here and we can all be learning and growing as gardeners together. This season I’ve been asking you a question each month to send in your answers but today, you are asking the questions and I am doing the answering. To celebrate 200 episodes, I did an “ask me anything” and you all had some great questions. Some about gardening, some about the business of farming, some personal, and I am here to answer them all. Let’s dig in! --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/justgrowsomething/message
Trellising Techniques for Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Beans and Peas - Ep. 199
28-05-2024
Trellising Techniques for Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Beans and Peas - Ep. 199
One of the most labor-intensive parts of growing some of our garden crops, like tomatoes, can be trellising them. Other plants naturally just climb whatever we place next to them without much intervention from us, but they do sometimes need some initial guidance. Cucumbers and peas are two good examples of this. Often times this depends on the type of trellis we’re using. The type of trellis we use boils down to personal preference, the amount of space we have, the materials available to us, and whether we’re gardening in an in-ground space or utilizing raised planters. Today on Just Grow Something, we’re going to cover the multiple trellising options for tomatoes, cucumbers, peas and beans. Many of these trellising options can be utilized for other crops, too, and some of them are multi-purpose for any of these crops. By the end you will have a multitude of techniques to choose from so you can make the best choice for your gardening situation. Let’s dig in! Question of the month: Ask me anything! Reach out and ask me whatever you want to know, gardening or non-gardening, and I'll answer your question next week for our 200th episode! References and Resources: Visit HeirloomRoses.com and take 20% off your order of roses with code JUSTGROW through October 31, 2024 Just Grow Something Gardening Friends Facebook Group Check out how you can become a patron on Patreon Follow me on Instagram JustGrowSomethingPodcast.com Merchandise | Just Grow Something --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/justgrowsomething/message
Cloning Plants for Succession and Expansion -Ep. 198
21-05-2024
Cloning Plants for Succession and Expansion -Ep. 198
One of the strategies I use and encourage other gardeners to use for getting the most out of their gardens each year is succession planting. This is the process of planting a new crop of something after the first one has a little bit of growth on it so that we can harvest pretty continuously or planting a second crop after a first one has given its all. This might make you think that you need to be buying new transplants or starting new seedlings all over again to get these succession plantings in the ground on time. Often times, for things like leafy greens or squashes, we can just pop some seeds directly in the garden and call it good. But for larger plants or those that grow slowly from seed, like tomatoes or basil, it’s better to transplant them as started seedlings. The fastest and easiest way to do this is with cloning. We’re not talking about the sci fi version of cloning or even Dolly-the-sheep type clones. Propagating your own plants from cuttings of your most productive vegetable, herb or fruit plants can be very simple and straightforward and does not require any special equipment. Not only can you do this for your garden successions but it’s a good way to get new plants for expanding the garden, too. Today on Just Grow Something, we’ll cover the easiest vegetables, fruits, and herbs to clone for either succession plantings or just for expanding the garden, the benefits of cloning, and exactly how to clone them. You might be surprised and just how easy it is. Let’s dig in! Question of the Month: Ask Me Anything! DM me, jump in the Facebook group, send me an email ... we'll review the answers on our 200th episode! References and Resources: Starting Your Own Sweet Potato Slips - Ep. 171 Visit HeirloomRoses.com and take 20% off your order of roses with code JUSTGROW through October 31, 2024 Just Grow Something Gardening Friends Facebook Group Check out how you can become a patron on Patreon Follow me on Instagram JustGrowSomethingPodcast.com Merchandise | Just Grow Something --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/justgrowsomething/message
Gardening in Shade and Solving Your Garden Maintenance Problems - Ep. 196
07-05-2024
Gardening in Shade and Solving Your Garden Maintenance Problems - Ep. 196
I hear from a lot of frustrated would-be gardeners at the farmer’s market stand who say they just don’t have enough sun in their yard to be able to grow anything. Of course, they can always go to maximum effort by growing in smaller containers and moving them around the yard as the season progresses to catch the light as the sun shifts, which is a lot of work, but it’s also very possible that many of these potential gardeners have more sun than they think. And this goes for my gardeners who are apartment dwellers or who live in condos with only a patio or balcony space to grow on. You might be able to grow more than you think. And, there actually are a selection of vegetables, fruits, and herbs that will do just fine in part-sun and others that will tolerate it if you have a little patience with them. Today on Just Grow Something we’re going to define full sun, part sun, part shade, and shade so you have a better idea of what is actually possible in some areas of your yard and then we’ll go over the choices available if you truly do have less than full sun. Plus, we’ll go over your answers to the April question of the month and explore how we can solve some of the most common garden maintenance struggles you and I both have. Let’s dig in! References and Resources: Visit HeirloomRoses.com and take 20% off your order of roses with code JUSTGROW through October 31, 2024 Just Grow Something Merch Shop Just Grow Something Gardening Friends Facebook Group Check out how you can become a patron on Patreon Follow me on Instagram JustGrowSomethingPodcast.com --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/justgrowsomething/message
Preventing and Controlling Foliar Disease in the Garden - Ep. 195
30-04-2024
Preventing and Controlling Foliar Disease in the Garden - Ep. 195
Foliar diseases in both vegetable and fruit plants can significantly impact our yield and the quality of that yield if left unmanaged. If you’ve ever had powdery mildew on your cucumbers or early blight in your tomatoes, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Even though the disease is affecting the leaves, the interruption of photosynthesis by the fungus affects the fruit development, and then the disease will jump from the leaves to the fruit and then we’ve got a real mess on our hands. And sometimes we can get one disease under control only to have another one swoop in and take out our plants before we even get any kind of harvest. This is especially true if you live in an area that is very humid or you have spring weather that bounces from warm and humid during the day to cool overnight with very little air movement and lots of rain. Warm temperatures, high humidity, lots of moisture and prolonged leaf wetness are the ideal conditions for fungal growth. Today on Just Grow Something we are going to cover the different ways we can prevent fungal diseases from taking hold in our garden plants, what signs and symptoms to watch out for, which plants are most susceptible to fungal diseases, and which ones don’t usually have much of a problem with them. There are lots of things we can do as gardeners to prevent and minimize the occurrence of foliar diseases so we get the best yield possible from our plants. Let’s dig in! References and Resources: The effect of milk-based foliar sprays on yield components of field pumpkins with powdery mildew - ScienceDirect 001_22856life1104s14_1_7.pdf (lifesciencesite.com) Visit HeirloomRoses.com and take 20% off your order of roses with code JUSTGROW through October 31, 2024 Just Grow Something Merch Shop Just Grow Something Gardening Friends Facebook Group Check out how you can become a patron on Patreon Follow me on Instagram JustGrowSomethingPodcast.com --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/justgrowsomething/message
Growing Strawberries - Ep. 194
23-04-2024
Growing Strawberries - Ep. 194
We talk a lot about growing vegetables on this show but, in truth, I am a huge fruit eater. I love fruit, either on it’s own or on a salad, in smoothies, in desserts, love it. Being someone who is a proponent of sustainable agriculture I also prefer to get my fruits locally if I can. That’s not to say I don’t always have bananas in this house and that I don’t love a good Mandarin orange, but if I can grow it myself, I feel much better. Fruit trees can be intimidating, and they can be temperamental if you don’t have the right soil conditions, berry canes and bushes also require a bit more care and maintenance. Which is why strawberries are the sort of gateway fruit for vegetable gardeners. You can plant them in ground or in containers, you can grow them in many different climates, and even minimal effort in maintenance will improve the yield dramatically. So, today on Just Grow Something we’ll talk about growing strawberries. Whether you’ve got an in-ground bed, a raised planter bed, or just a container on your back deck, we’ll talk about the soil and nutrient requirements, planting in the spring or the fall, maintaining the bed, potential problems, and more. Let’s dig in! Question of the month for April: What have you struggled with the most in terms of garden maintenance and did you find a solution? Maintaining soil nutrients, reducing weed pressure, proper mulching, proper watering techniques, whatever your garden needs that you struggle with or that you used to struggle with and have found a solution. Answer the question from within Spotify, reply to this week’s email newsletter on Friday with your, answer in the Facebook group or send me a DM on social media. You have until April 30th to give me your answer and share your struggles and solutions with your fellow gardeners. References and resources: Visit HeirloomRoses.com and take 20% off your order of roses with code JUSTGROW through October 31, 2024 Strawberry | Description, Cultivation, Nutrition, Uses, Species, & Facts | Britannica Strawberry: A Brief History // Missouri Environment and Garden News Article // Integrated Pest Management, University of Missouri Just Grow Something Merch Shop Just Grow Something Gardening Friends Facebook Group Check out how you can become a patron on Patreon --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/justgrowsomething/message
Proper Soil Temperatures for Transplanting - Ep. 193
16-04-2024
Proper Soil Temperatures for Transplanting - Ep. 193
Using the last frost date in spring or our average air temperatures might be a good guideline to start with when figuring out when to plant the garden, but a better method for knowing when it’s actually time to sow those seeds or transplant those plants is the soil temperature. Even though the air temperatures may be warmer than usual, the soil knows the truth. If that soil is cold and wet, or might be that way in the next ten days, your tomatoes, or peppers, or whatever, are not going to be happy sitting in chilled soil, no matter how warm the daytime air temperatures get. But, your sugar snap peas and lettuce might be thrilled. So, today on Just Grow Something we’ll talk about optimal soil temperatures for both cool season and warm season crops, for both seed germination and transplant growth, how to properly check your soil temperature, and where to find historic soil temperature data for your area so you can more effectively plan your planting dates and not be lulled into that false sense of security. Let’s dig in. References and Resources: This week's sponsor: Visit HeirloomRoses.com and take 20% off your order of roses with code JUSTGROW through October 31, 2024⁠ Taylor Precision Products Standard Grade Thermometer (Amazon affiliate link) Soil Temparature Maps | GreenCast | Syngenta (greencastonline.com) Soil Temperature and Seed Germination (psu.edu) Microsoft Word - Soil Temp Planting V2docx (wisc.edu) Minera Nutrition of Plants: Principles and Perspectives | SpringerLink facts you didn’t know about soil temperature (farmprogress.com) Soil Temperature and Planting Crops (harvesttotable.com) Just Grow Something Merch Shop Jus Grow Something Gardening Friends Facebook Group Check out how you can become a patron on Patreon Follow me on Instagram JustGrowSomethingPodcast.com --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/justgrowsomething/message
Amendments to Add in Spring for the Summer Garden - Ep. 192
09-04-2024
Amendments to Add in Spring for the Summer Garden - Ep. 192
Back in November I talked to you about doing a soil test, using slow-release amendments in the garden to do their work gradually over the winter, and then doing another soil test in the spring to see how well it worked. Now’s the time in most areas to be doing that spring soil test before you start planting your spring or summer gardens. But, what do you do if that spring test shows the amendments you added in the fall just weren’t enough to fix the problem? This time around you’ll need something that works into the soil a little more quickly if you want the garden ready in time to grow a lush crop for spring and summer. And even then you may find the need to add some supplemental plant food to directly feed the plants instead of the soil to be sure you get a good harvest. So, today on Just Grow Something we’ll go over the organic amendments you can be adding to the garden now that will give the soil a quick boost and the possible ways to feed the plants directly while waiting for the soil to improve. Let’s dig in! Question of the month for April: What have you struggled with the most in terms of garden maintenance and did you find a solution? References and Resources: Visit HeirloomRoses.com and take 20% off your order of roses with code JUSTGROW through October 31, 2024 USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website: HungryPests.com Just Grow Something Merch Shop Just Grow Something Gardening Friends Facebook Group Check out how you can become a patron on Patreon Follow me on Instagram JustGrowSomethingPodcast.com --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/justgrowsomething/message
Hardening Off Seedlings Before Transplant - Ep. 190
26-03-2024
Hardening Off Seedlings Before Transplant - Ep. 190
Hardening off is a process that helps plants adjust to the outdoor environment, preventing shock and ensuring they thrive once planted in the garden. Gradual exposure helps the plants acclimate to the conditions they will experience out in the garden or in their containers on your porch before you put them out there. Today on Just Grow Something we’ll go over the exact steps we need to take to harden off our plants prior to putting them out into the garden. This includes whether you’re growing them yourselves or if you’ve just brought them home from the nursery, garden center, or farmers market. Following these steps and displaying some patience will prevent the heartache of putting those plants out and having them fail. We’ll also talk about how to recover if your plants begin display signs of stress after they are already in their permanent home. Let’s dig in. Question of the Month: : “What is your biggest pest in the garden and how do you manage it (if at all)?” Leave a voice message from the link in the show notes, respond to the question in Spotify if that’s where you’re listening, send me an email, drop it in the Facebook group or in a DM to me on Instagram, Facebook or TikTok. We’ve already had some good discussions around this in the Facebook group and I will read all the answers on next week’s episode. You have until March 31st to get me your answer. References and Resources: Save 10% and get Free Shipping with code JUSTGROW10 at Planter Box Direct   Effects of hardening off on Growth, Yield and Quality of some Pepper (Capsicum annuum) Cultivars | Ghana Journal of Science, Technology and Development (gjstd.org) Influence of Different Methods of Hardening-Off Of Tomato Seedlings on ReEstablishment and Subsequent Growth A COMPARISON OF CHEMICAL CHANGES IN PLANTS DURING COLD-HARDENING IN CONTROLLED AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENTS (cdnsciencepub.com)   Just Grow Something Merch Shop Just Grow Something Gardening Friends Facebook Group Check out how you can become a patron on Patreon Follow me on Instagram JustGrowSomethingPodcast.com --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/justgrowsomething/message
Straw Bale Gardening - Ep. 189
19-03-2024
Straw Bale Gardening - Ep. 189
Years ago I had some straw bales I’d used initially as fall décor that ended up in my chicken coop. The bales were used partially as a wind break all winter and partially as a roost. Well, chickens do what chickens do when they roost and by the spring of the following year those straw bales were full of nitrogen-rich chicken poop and starting to fall apart. So, I moved the out of the coop, watered the down really well for about a week, and planted a bunch of plants into them. This was my first introduction to straw bale gardening and it worked wonderfully! The nitrogen from the chicken manure had kickstarted the decomposition process of the straw, providing essential nutrients for the microbes that do that work, and the decomp of the straw inside the bale created a fertile growing medium. I expanded the gardens quite a bit after that, as you all know, and haven’t worked with straw bales as a growing medium since. But this year, that changes. I’ve got a new spot I’m putting together behind my greenhouse with eight planter boxes already in place, but there’s also a fence at the back of that space I want to both cover and use as a trellis. I don’t want something permanent against that fence so I’m jumping back into straw bale gardening. Today on Just Grow Something we’ll talk about how to use straw bales as a growing container and medium. I don’t have naturally conditioned bales this year, so we’ll talk about the process I’ll need to go through to get those bales ready. I’ll also cover the benefits of gardening in bales, what to watch out for, what plants do well with this method, and how to maintain them. By the end of the episode I think you’ll be convinced that straw bales are an effective way to increase the growing space in your garden without needing a permanent solution. Let’s dig in! Question of the month for March: “What is your biggest pest in the garden and how do you manage it (if at all)?” References and Resources: Check out how you can become a patron on Patreon Save 10% and get Free Shipping with code JUSTGROW10 at Planter Box Direct Order from True Leaf Market and support the show! Taylor Standard Grade Thermometer 11 Tips for Starting a Strawbale Garden (epicgardening.com) Straw Bale Gardening for Beginners | Almanac.com Just Grow Something Merch Shop Just Grow Something Gardening Friends Facebook Group --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/justgrowsomething/message
Maintaining Fruit Trees, Bushes, and Canes
06-03-2024
Maintaining Fruit Trees, Bushes, and Canes
If you’re planning to put in new fruit trees, bushes, or canes in your garden the best time of year, generally, is spring. We want the soil to warm up enough that the roots of the plants will begin to seek out water and nutrients as soon as placed in the ground with as little transplant shock as possible. But, if we have existing fruit trees, bushes, or canes then any maintenance on those trees should be done before the soil begins to really warm up and the plants come out of dormancy. This is usual sometime between late fall and early spring, which means most of the northern hemisphere is primed for these tasks right now. Today on Just Grow Something, we’re going to talk about those tasks and how to tackle them: pruning, fertilizing, and moving your established plants if it’s necessary to do so. This is one of those tasks that can scratch the itch for getting out into the garden when maybe it’s still too early to really be planting much and they’re tasks that are important for us to get the best yield possible from those plants. Let’s dig in! March Question of the Month: “What is your biggest pest in the garden and how do you manage it (if at all)?” Resources: Save 10% and get Free Shipping with code JUSTGROW10 at Planter Box Direct Order from True Leaf Market and support the show! Just Grow Something Merch Shop Just Grow Something Gardening Friends Facebook Group Check out how you can become a patron on Patreon --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/justgrowsomething/message
Different Ways to Grow Potatoes - Ep. 186
27-02-2024
Different Ways to Grow Potatoes - Ep. 186
Potatoes are a cool season crop, and most varieties need between 60 and 120 days to mature, so that means getting them in the ground as soon as the soil can be worked and giving them the time they need to grow. The great thing about potatoes is they can be harvested at any size, so it’s a crop that can do well in a short-season area and can also be grown in places other than big, long in-ground rows. If you have minimal space or you can only garden in grow bags or buckets, you can still grow potatoes. Today on Just Grow Something we’re talking about just that – what are all the different ways and places we can grow potatoes? They are such a versatile crop it makes sense to tuck some into your garden area no matter what size it is. Let’s dig in! References and Resources: Get my FREE eBook on successful seed starting Ep. 135 - Growing Potatoes Save 10% and get Free Shipping with code JUSTGROW10 at Planter Box Direct Solanum tuberosum (Irish Potato, Irish Potatoes, Pomme de Terre, Potato, Potatoes, White Potato, White Potatoes) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox (ncsu.edu) Soil Temparature Maps | GreenCast | Syngenta (greencastonline.com) Growing potatoes in home gardens | UMN Extension ORGANIC POTATO GROWING GUIDE (woodprairie.com) Just Grow Something Merch Shop Just Grow Something Gardening Friends Facebook Group Check out how you can become a patron on Patreon Follow me on Instagram --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/justgrowsomething/message
Heat Mats and Grow Lights - Ep. 185
20-02-2024
Heat Mats and Grow Lights - Ep. 185
This month we’re talking a lot about seed starting and we can’t talk about starting seeds without talking about heat and light. Seeds sprout more quickly and efficiently when they’ve got the correct soil temperatures and the easiest way to do this is with a seedling heat mat. It’s not a requirement, though, so we’ll also talk about some ways you can up the ante on the soil temperatures during seed starting without a heat mat. Once those seeds do sprout and you're nurturing those little seedlings the correct light can make all the difference, and usually even the sunniest window in your house just isn’t going to cut it. That means we need do a little investing in some lights to help our seedlings along. Today on Just Grow Something we'll explore soil heating options and various types of grow lights, including the most economical and even tabletop solutions. Let’s dig in! *Question of the Month: “What is your most successful crop and why?” This could be a specific variety of something that outproduces all the others, the plant that you love the most, or the crop that grows fantastically well for you without fail every single year. Whatever you consider your most successful crop in whatever way you consider it successful. Send me an email, post it in the Facebook group or send me a DM on Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok… you have until February 29th to get me your answer! References and Resources: Full Spectrum LED mini grow light 4 Pack 4FT LED Shop Light 48" x 20" (four tray) Waterproof Durable Seedling Heat Mat 10” x 20.75” (single tray) Waterproof Seedling Heat Mat Best Grow Lights for Growing Vegetables Indoors. Guide to Choosing a Grow Light - Johnny's Selected Seeds. 5 Different Fluorescent Tube Sizes and How to Choose One (thespruce.com) Just Grow Something Merch Shop Order from True Leaf Market and support the show! Just Grow Something Gardening Friends Facebook Group Check out how you can become a patron on Patreon Follow me on Instagram JustGrowSomethingPodcast.com --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/justgrowsomething/message