Podcasts

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The Burpee Podcasts provide practical information from gardening expert and national television host Joe Lamp'l. Learn how to grow a bountiful and tasty home vegetable garden! From planting to harvest, we'll share what you need to know, every step of the way.

The three most important things
2:48
What you need to know before you garden.
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2:48
Read full transcript ...
Hello everybody, this is Joe Lamp’l and welcome to Burpee Home Gardens Tip of the Week.

Well it’s about that time, and we have been anxiously waiting for the day when we can finally go out and start our Spring garden. And for many of us it may be for the very first time. But no matter what your experience, there are a few things that are essential to consider for having a productive and manageable garden.

First, you need to find a sunny spot. Vegetable and herb plants thrive in full sun, so shoot for a place where they'll have about eight hours a day of direct sun. Now, do you have to have that much sun? Well no, you don't, but the fewer hours of sun that your plants are getting the less productive the harvest – and it's all about the harvest, right? Now southern exposure is best, and if it seems like all you have is shade, then look up. Perhaps you can remove some limbs of overhanging trees, because that's a pretty common problem and a fairly easy fix as well. But anything that you can do to add more light to your plants will pay big dividends as your plants grow. I even know people that plant in containers with a platform underneath with wheels or rollers, and then throughout the day they move their plants around to chase the sun. Now that may sound pretty extreme, but it really can work if you have the ambition in time.

So once you’ve identified the site, it's time to focus on the soil. Well-drained soil is critical for your plants to perform their best. Soil that stays too dry will stunt growth, stress plants, and adversely affect fruit production. On the other hand, soil that stays too wet will eventually rot the roots and prevent healthy growth. And this is common in situations where we just try to plant into straight garden soil – usually full of heavy clay. Well the answer for both cases is to amend the entire planting area with lots of rich, organic matter, such as compost and aged manure, rotted leaves, worm castings, and so much more.

And then finally, don't overdo it! It is so easy to want to have a big garden that if you have the space it's just something you just feel you need to do. But I'd say go a little conservative here, especially if it's your first garden. Your vegetable and herb plants are gonna grow so lush and full if your garden gets enough sun and you have rich healthy soil. In fact, once your plants establish, they'll grow so fast I don't want you to become overwhelmed. So the bottom line here is just don't overdo it starting off. You could always make it bigger later.

Now in our next podcast we'll talk more about the soil and how to create the perfect growing conditions for your plants. And beyond that, we'll have a whole series of podcasts to get you off to a great start with your Burpee Home Garden seedlings and what to do throughout the entire growing season, every step of the way, all the way through harvest. Thanks for listening everybody! This is Joe Lamp’l and we’ll be right back here next week for another Burpee Home Gardens Tip of the Week.
It's all about soil
3:06
A formula for success.
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3:06
Read full transcript ...
Hi everybody, this is Joe Lamp’l and welcome to Burpee Home Gardens Tip of the Week.

Well in last week’s podcast, we talked about three basic elements you need to create a healthy and manageable garden: Plenty of sunlight, rich healthy soil, and a bit of restraint.

This week, though, I want to focus in more on what exactly makes rich, healthy soil and how do you know when you get there. Well first of all, for plants to thrive, nearly all soils need to be improved, commonly known as amended (as in “amended soil”). Typically, as-is, soil is either too sandy and water drains right through it before the roots have a chance to take up the water. Or the soil is too heavy, like with clay, and water doesn’t drain fast enough. Consequently, the soil can become so saturated, plants can literally drown. But fear not; we can fix either problem with the addition of soil amendments.

Now to begin, take comfort in knowing that this is not an exact science in my book. It’s simply a matter of adding organic matter, such as rotted leaves or aged manure, decompose wood mulch or, my favorite, compost. And the best mix is a combination of several options for your Burpee Home Garden plants to thrive. But why is that? Well first of all, understand that soil is almost always a mixture of sand, silt and clay, with the only variable being the percentage of each.

So think of each component is a different particle size. Imagine that sand particles are basketballs, silt particles are tennis balls, and clay the size of golf balls. If you had only basketballs in a container, as with sandy soil, that’s a lot of air space between the balls, so water runs right through it. Clay soil, on the other hand, with all-golf balls, doesn’t have enough space. In the perfect world, using the balls as our example, you’d want about equal parts of each to create optimal conditions for air and water drainage, as well as retention. And that’s why adding organic matter to your soil helps introduce various particle sizes and opens up the soil.

But in addition, over time, all of these organic soil amendments create something called humus, which helps with water retention, nutrient availability, and allows soil particles to bind together in a favorable way. But since the topic of soil science is beyond the scope of this podcast, let’s just summarize what you should know to make it simple.

No matter what you’re starting with, whether it’s loose sandy soil or heavy clay, in either case you want to add enough amendment so that when you squeeze a handful of soil it binds together. But as you run your fingers lightly through it, it easily breaks apart. So use this example to create your ideal garden soil and the perfect growing environment.

Now in our next podcast, we’ll talk more about my favorite-of-all soil amendments compost, why it’s so important, and how you can make it at home for free. Beyond that, we’ll have a whole series of podcasts to get you off to a great start with your Burpee Home Garden seedlings and what to do throughout the entire growing season every step of the way. And be sure to check out burpeehomegardens.com for more ideas and inspiration online. Thanks for listening everybody! This is Joe Lamp’l and we’ll be right back here next week for another Burpee Home Gardens Tip of the Week.
Amending with organics
3:50
A little goes a long way.
0:00
3:50
How to make compost
4:08
Recycling at its best.
0:00
4:08
Planting raised beds
4:20
Great growing environment for a productive garden.
0:00
4:20
Make notes & take pictures
5:40
Document your garden to build on success.
0:00
5:40
Garden layouts for better yields
4:54
Use these layout guidelines for best garden performance.
0:00
4:54
Gardening in containers
5:29
Tips for space challenged gardens.
0:00
5:29
Patience is a virtue
3:16
What to expect from your vegetable plants.
0:00
3:16
Time to plant
3:06
What you need to know to start off right.
0:00
3:06
Mulch is a must
3:26
How and why to mulch around your vegetables.
0:00
3:26
Understanding companion plants
3:40
Growing companion plants offers many benefits.
0:00
3:40
Vacation planning
3:23
Put your garden on autopilot while you're away.
0:00
3:23
Be proactive, not reactive
3:13
Staying on top of your garden will eliminate potential problems.
0:00
3:13
Support your plants
3:52
As plants get taller and heavier, reinforce them with stakes and cages.
0:00
3:52
Pull those weeds
3:52
Weeds deplete moisture and nutrients, and attract some pests.
0:00
3:52
Water-wise gardening
3:12
When and how to water to minimize use and keep plants healthy.
0:00
3:12
Understanding plant disease
3:49
Proactive tips for disease control.
0:00
3:49
Proactive pest control
3:35
Tips for keeping insects at bay.
0:00
3:35
Mid-season Tomato care
4:12
Keeping those tomatoes coming on strong.
0:00
4:12
Thinning the crop
2:52
Sometimes you gotta be cruel to be kind: Reducing quantity can improve quality.
0:00
2:52
Harvesting leafy crops now
3:11
How to know when it's time to harvest lettuces and greens.
0:00
3:11
Sharing the bounty
4:02
What to do with bumper crops.
0:00
4:02
Fall vegetable gardening
3:10
Extend the season with a second crop.
0:00
3:10
Fall gardening tips
4:15
Provide a little protection for your cool-season crops.
0:00
4:15
End-of-season cleanup
3:41
Last steps before putting the vegetable garden to bed.
0:00
3:41
Artichoke
3:36
0:00
3:36
Basil
3:22
0:00
3:22
Beans
3:54
0:00
3:54
Broccoli
4:12
0:00
4:12
Cabbage
3:42
0:00
3:42
Calibrachoa
2:12
0:00
2:12
Cauliflower
3:46
0:00
3:46
Celery
3:42
0:00
3:42
Cucumber
4:05
0:00
4:05
Eggplant
3:43
0:00
3:43
Herbs
3:05
0:00
3:05
Lettuce
3:25
0:00
3:25
Melon
4:05
0:00
4:05
Mixed Greens
3:12
0:00
3:12
Okra
3:11
0:00
3:11
Onion
3:55
0:00
3:55
Peas
3:30
0:00
3:30
Peppers
4:02
0:00
4:02
Spinach
3:16
0:00
3:16
Strawberry
4:28
0:00
4:28
Swiss Chard
3:14
0:00
3:14
Tomato
4:04
0:00
4:04
Zinnia
3:28
0:00
3:28