A Tour of Martha Stewart’s Garden—and Her Planting Pet Peeve

In these months of quarantine, many people have turned to gardening as a way to keep busy—while they keep their social distance from the rest of the world. As it turns out, the home and garden expert Martha Stewart has been doing the same, just on a much bigger scale.

In the past few months, Stewart has been filling her time gardening at her 150-acre farm in Bedford, NY. Now, she’s turned her quarantine activity into a new show: Her gardening series, “Martha Knows Best,” premiered on HGTV on July 31 and will be airing new episodes on Fridays at 10 pm

For the series premiere, Stewart doubled down with back-to-back episodes, titled “Vegetable Garden” and “Container Gardens.”

She gives viewers a peek at her beautiful farm, shows off her gardens with her gardener Ryan (no social distancing there, so we have to assume he is part of her social bubble), and even helps both the rapper Snoop Dogg and Antoni Porowski of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” with some tips on growing their own potted plants.

Read on to find out what advice Stewart gives these celebrities, plus, get some great tricks for your own quarantine gardening.

Use Bubble Wrap to save on soil

Stewart, and her gardener Ryan (right), talk to Antoni Porowski (left) about apartment-friendly plants over video chat.


In the “Martha Knows Best” season opener, titled “Vegetable Garden,” Stewart video chats with Porowski, best known as the chef on the hit Netflix show “Queer Eye.”

Porowski is hoping to grow some vegetables in his New York apartment and asks for Stewart’s advice on getting started with potted plants.

When Porowski shows Stewart a large, empty pot, she tells him to fill half of the pot with Bubble Wrap before pouring in the soil. She explains that without that packing material as a cushion, he’d end up adding way more soil than his vegetables need.

“You would have used twice as much soil, and unnecessarily, so I’m saving you the price of at least one bag of potting soil.”

It’s a great money-saving tip, and Porowski is impressed.

Get your soil body

Martha Stewart
Stewart and Ryan know that the key to healthy plants is healthy soil.


Also in this episode, Stewart takes a video call from Mitch in Lemoore, CA. While he has a sunny yard, he can’t seem to get his garden up to snuff. His vegetables are dying, and Mitch can’t figure out what he’s doing wrong.

Right away, Stewart asks about Mitch’s soil. When Mitch turns the camera to his garden, Stewart knows right away that the dirt isn’t up to snuff.

“Yeah, see, it’s way too hard,” Stewart says. “Nothing can grow in that.”

She also says that it often helps to get the soil tested.

“First thing to do is take off the grass, dig up some soil,” Stewart says. “You can have it tested by the local extension at any university. You should have a pH of about 6.5, 6.7.”

Martha Stewart
Stewart and Ryan need the right tools to get a garden looking this good.


When Stewart and her gardener, Ryanare preparing to plant some vegetables, she says that one of her top planting pet peeves is when people don’t use the right gardening tools.

“It makes the job so much harder,” she says.

Stewart points out that she and Ryan are using a shovel and a spade, which look alike, and could be easy to confuse.

However, the shovel has an angled bottom with a concave shape (perfect for digging up dirt), while the spade is a flat tool with a straight edge (which is great for cutting).

“So, the spade cuts. A shovel lifts,” Stewart says. “Easy. Remember that.”

Use the right pot for the right plant

Martha and Snoop Dogg
Stewart and Snoop Dogg talk tomatoes on video chat.


In the next episode, “Container Gardens,” Stewart focuses on creating the perfect container plants.

She takes a video call from her friend Snoop Dogg, who is hoping to plant some tomatoes in a pot.

Snoop Dogg has a few different pots of different sizes, and he and Stewart choose one that looks big enough for his tomato plant.

Stewart instructs the rapper to cover up the hole at the bottom with a stone so the soil doesn’t fall out, then tells him to loosen the roots of the tomato plant a bit.

However, by the time Snoop Dogg is finally putting the tomato plant in the container, Stewart realizes their mistake: The pot is too small.

“Nope,” she says, “it has to go way down. Find a slightly bigger pot.”

The new pot works much better, allowing Snoop Dogg to add extra soil around the plant and giving it lots of room to grow.

In the end, the container plant looks perfect, and Stewart tells Snoop Dogg he can expect fresh tomatoes in about 30 days.

Use spacers for proper drainage

Martha Stewart
Stewart and Ryan put spacers under these container plants.


Also in this episode, Stewart tends to her own container plants. She plants some succulents in a long, rectangular container and tops her plants with some lovely gravel, to personalize the look.

While these container plants may look finished, Stewart explains that there’s one more step she needs to take, to help with drainage.

Martha Stewart
With great drainage, these plants will flourish.


“The last thing you do after you plant your containers is put in spacers,” Stewart says, putting small wooden sticks under her container to lift it up.

“You don’t want to see these spacers, necessarily,” Stewart explains, “but you do want to have the space, so that the drainage is free.”

Choose shade-loving plants for a shady area

Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart talks to Maggie about her window boxes.


In this episode, Stewart takes another video call, this time from Maggie in Mendenhall, MS.

Maggie explains that she just moved into a new home and wants to plant something in her flower boxes, but doesn’t know what to choose.

She explains that this part of the house is in the shade 99% of the day and that she’s worried nothing will grow here.

Stewart says Maggie has lots of options, like ferns, Solomon’s seal, and colorful sweet potato vines. Still, she tells Maggie to start simple.

“Try some ferns to start,” she says.

It’s no wonder Stewart’s farm is so beautiful—it seems she knows everything about plants! Her advice is sure to help her fellow quarantine gardeners grow some fantastic foliage.