I'm so excited to be starting this new series on my blog, Gardening Spotlight Interviews. My first interview is with a gardener who is constantly giving me inspiration, Jill McSheehy from the Beginners Garden. Jill's mission is to help beginner gardeners grow a rewarding, successful garden. She has a blog, podcast, multiple online courses and a book for beginning gardeners. Jill's love of gardening began in 2013 when she became a stay at home mom and sought to help out her one-income family by growing a garden to save money on groceries. After becoming hooked on gardening, she began her blog, you tube videos and eventually launched her podcast in 2017, followed by her e-courses.
I recently got the chance to interview Jill and ask her, on what I think are a beginners gardener's top questions. Here is what she said:
1. What’s your biggest piece of advice for someone who is just learning how to garden? Go into your first year understanding that you’re learning. Don’t expect perfection and don’t set your expectations too high. You don’t know exactly what will grow well or what pests and diseases you’ll encounter. Study to the best of your ability when the proper time is to plant and how to set your soil up for success (very important!) but besides that, just enjoy the process and observe. Each year is a learning experience to help you become more successful the next. 2. What plants do you recommend starting out with? Herbs, flowers, vegetables? It depends on what you want out of your garden. When I started, I wanted food that I could save money growing instead of having to purchase at the grocery store. So I started with basic vegetables and herbs my family ate. Flowers weren’t a priority then (though they are now). Consider your goals for a garden and let those goals guide you to what to plant. 3. Where is your favorite place to buy seeds and garden tools from? Any tools that are a must in the garden? I have become very fond of the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange because their seed selection and catalog cater to my local climate as a southern gardener. I also buy from White Harvest Seed Company, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, and others. My favorite place to buy garden tools is my local flower and garden show each year. Mine is the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show, but many states and regions have them. Each tool I’ve bought from these vendors has been high quality that will last for years. My favorite is a Rogue Hoe I purchased one of my first years that I still use today. My must-have tools, besides the Rogue Hoe, are garden gloves, pruners, my Hori-Hori knife, and micro tip pruners. I use those regularly. Be sure to check out Jill's Instagram and podcast for all of your gardening needs and inspiration. Thanks Jill for taking the time out of your busy gardening life to answer these questions.