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When you discover aphids in your garden, you naturally want to get rid of them -- fast! With a host of organic aphid control solutions available online, how do you know which one to choose?

If you're like me, you want something easy. And more important, you don't want your actions to harm your garden or your plants.

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I share with you how I tested 3 organic aphid control methods -- homemade insecticidal soap, Neem oil, and worm castings -- side by side.

I also share a fourth organic aphid control method that is always my go-to way to keep aphids from harming my vegetable garden.

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Do tomato plants need to be pruned?

In my first years of gardening, it seemed everyone told me, "yes." But as I gained more experience and began listening to other gardening experts, I learned that the answer to this question isn't as clear as you'd think.

People get passionate about tomato pruning. But I started asking myself, "why?"

Is it because this is the way they've always done it? Because their mom or grandpa told them that's the best way to care for tomatoes? Or are people pruning tomatoes (or not pruning) based on their own experience and tests?

It seemed everywhere I turned I received conflicting information, so I did what I encourage every gardener to do. I tested it in my own garden.The results were so clear to me that I'll never look at pruning tomato plants the same way again.

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First-time gardeners must decide: "should I plant in a raised garden bed or in the ground?" Certainly, it's not always an either/or decision.

While I've always used a combination of both for many reasons, Jill Winger of the Prairie Homestead converted her in-ground garden to a garden comprised entirely of raised beds.

Though a devastating experience of inadvertently poisoning her garden served as a catalyst for the switch, she shares the benefits and drawbacks of both methods in today's episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast. Click below to listen to our conversation or continue reading.

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There are few garden subjects I am more passionate about than mulch. It prevents weeds and regulates moisture in the soil, among its other benefits.

But which mulch should you use? Perhaps the most common is shredded leaves, but what if you're like me and you don't have access to deciduous trees? Then what are your options?

I've used wood chip mulch, hay mulch, straw mulch, and pine needle mulch, and I talk about the pros and cons of each type of mulch here. Although I prefer wood chip mulch, I have used hay mulch from time to time with good results.

But after talking to Jill Winger of the Prairie Homestead, I realized using hay as mulch isn't without its risks. In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, Jill talks about how deep mulching with hay poisoned her garden. Click below to hear our conversation or read on to find out what happened, how she identified the problem, and what advice she gives to other gardeners considering using hay to mulch their gardens.

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On any given day in the garden, you'll find me with earbuds and my phone, listening to my favorite gardening podcasts. What better way to spend a few hours in the garden than to do the thing I love, while learning ways to do it better?

As a first-time gardener in 2013, I could not find enough gardening podcasts to fill my time or my thirst for knowledge. Since podcasting was in its infancy, I listened to the few I could find. Then, as I started teaching others how to garden, I even created my own -- the Beginner's Garden Podcast.

But now, I'm grateful to access more gardening podcasts at my fingertips, and I want to share my favorites with you.

So as I think fitting, in this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I share my favorite podcasts to listen to in the garden. Click to listen or continue reading below.

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In the early months of my podcast, I received an email from a veteran gardener from a generation ahead of me. We traded emails frequently and formed a friendship in the years since that first email. Several months ago, he sent me a list he had created called his "12 Garden Rules." With his permission, I share this wise man's gardening wisdom to you. No matter what your age or experience level of gardening, you are sure to find his advice valuable.

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If you've ever noticed the eaten leaves of your broccoli, cabbage,  or kale, you've likely encountered one of worms that attacks the brassica family of plants. Even organic gardeners struggle to find ways to control these pests that can decimate your beloved cole crops in short order. 

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, you'll learn 5 organic ways to both prevent and get rid of cabbage worms in your garden. 

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In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast, I talk to the author of Vertical Vegetables, Amy Andrychowicz. You may recognize her as the writer behind the web site Get Busy Gardening. Amy is a zone 4b gardener in Minnesota, and she uses vertical gardening to both practically make the most of her small space and aethestically beautify her backyard patio and garden.

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About a year ago, I wrote a post about 7 Common Mistakes in Raised Bed Gardening.  It has since become one of the most popular posts here at the Beginner's Garden, and many readers have posted more questions about their raised bed gardens. 

So I thought I would visit this topic again and answer some of those questions. In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast and in the post below, I dive into nine of the most common questions I hear. Click below to listen to the full discussion or continue reading.

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My journey to the ideal tomato trellis system has not been an easy one. It started with using a flimsy round "tomato cage," which couldn't bear the weight of my vining tomato plant loaded with fruit.

Then, I turned to the Florida Weave method. This worked beautifully for my Roma tomatoes but not the vining, indeterminate varieties.

Finally, I decided to try two other popular methods -- tomato staking and a heavy duty professional tomato cage. Then I tested each method and took detailed notes on the yields of each.

In this episode of the Beginner's Garden Podcast and in the article below, I share the results of my testing. You'll learn the benefits and drawbacks of both the single-stem tomato staking method and the heavy duty tomato cage. By the end, you'll see which one I settled on and why.

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