There is a way to squeeze more gardening into your life — podcasts.
Increasingly, during long drives, plane travel or even puttering around the house, we find ourselves tuned into them. For the uninitiated, podcasts are audio productions which can be downloaded to your phone and listened to anywhere. There is a wide variety of podcast genres which typically have a host and follow the same theme each week or month.
Some are adapted from radio shows, and others are stand-alone programs produced exclusively for electronic medium. In recent years, the quantity and quality of podcasts has grown and filled just about every niche: politics, humour, sports and, of course … gardening.
The beauty of podcasts is that you can listen to them anytime, often while doing something else. They are a terrific way to get a gardening fix when you are stuck on a train, out for a walk, or even gardening in your head while gardening with your hands.
Here are some of the podcasts we have been enjoying:
“The Garden Show Podcast” with Charlie Dobbin and Frank Proctor is produced as a radio show for Zoomer Radio and distributed as a podcast online. Dobbin is a long-time garden communicator in Canada, having once hosted “One Garden, Two Looks” on HGTV among various other media endeavours, and Proctor is a career broadcaster, actor and children’s book author. “The Garden Show” follows a classic format where listeners can call in with their questions to have them answered by the hosts and their expert guests, and each episode is typically 40-45 minutes.
We love this podcast because it’s Canadian, with Canadian and international callers, and it’s a terrific way to hear what other gardeners are curious about while staying current with our gardening knowledge. (http://www.zoomerradio.ca/category/show/the-garden-show/)
“The Joe Gardener Show” with Joe Lamp’l is produced as a podcast, and each week has a different theme ranging from raised bed gardening, to interviews with experts on subjects such as Japanese maples. Lamp’l is known in the U.S. for his gardening program on PBS, “Growing a Greener World,” and while some of his topics are not totally relevant to the Canadian growing environment, we really like his organic approach. Each episode is roughly an hour long and is accompanied by in-depth written material on his website. (https://joegardener.com/podcasts/)
“In Defense of Plants” with Matt Candeias is produced as a podcast for true plant nerds. Candeias told us that he started the podcast as “[his] attempt to cure plant blindness across the globe.” The show often features an expert guest from within a specific botanical field, which ranges from general houseplant talk to “Obscure Apocynaceae Appreciation” (ep. 145). Episodes run from 30 minutes to an hour. (http://www.indefenseofplants.com/podcast/)
“The Fridge Light” with Chris Nuttall-Smith is a CBC podcast that tells the “hidden stories of the things we eat”. While this is a food podcast, and Nuttall-Smith is a food writer, Ben of course came to gardening through food and there is a lot here to interest the average gardener, and the average person. Episodes range from 30-45 minutes, and every time we learn something new. (http://www.cbc.ca/radio/podcasts/arts-culture/the-fridge-light/)
We should admit here that any suggestion that you listen to a podcast while gardening runs counter to Mark’s recommendation in past columns that you reserve the gardening experience in it’s pure form, exposing your ears to bird song, your eyes to natural colours and your full self to the out of doors. But Mark is not a millennial.
There you have it, one last thing to do indoors before you head outside for the spring: load your phone with these entertaining and informative podcasts so you can keep “gardening in your head” no matter where you go. Where and when you listen is up to you.
Mark Cullen is an expert gardener, author, broadcaster, tree advocate and holds the Order of Canada. His son Ben is a fourth-generation urban gardener and graduate of University of Guelph and Dalhousie University in Halifax. Follow them at markcullen.com, @markcullengardening, on Facebook and bi-weekly on Global TV’s National Morning Show.