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Tips for beginning and experienced gardeners. New, 30-minute (or less) episodes arrive every Friday during November through January; every Tuesday and Friday from February through October. Fred Hoffman is a U.C. Certified Master Gardener since 1982 and hosts three radio shows in Northern California, from Sacramento: The KFBK Garden Show, Get Growing with Farmer Fred, and the KSTE Farm Hour. Episode Website: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1004629
 
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It’s a good thing that Santa parks his sleigh on your rooftop, otherwise, Rudolph, Donner, Blitzen and the rest of his deer crew might help themselves to your garden goodies. Deer love your garden! Are there such things as deer resistant plants? How do you keep deer from ravaging your radishes and rose bushes? We have tips. Plus advice for caring f…
 
Itching to get a bit more dirt under your fingernails during the cold, wet months ahead? Do it indoors, growing microgreens. Some call it vegetable confetti. Microgreens are a perfect topping for salads, soups, stews, tacos and a lot more. What’s in microgreens? They’re leaves…small, colorful vegetable, herb and flower leaves, that pack a wallop of…
 
Those of you in milder climates may still have a few tomatoes clinging to your shivering vines. More than likely, they are probably green tomatoes. You might be wondering, will they ripen? Our favorite college horticulture professor (retired) Debbie Flower says, “It depends how green they are.” She has tips for determining which ones are most likel…
 
If you're staring at the picture accompanying this episode, you might be wondering: "Where is the edible succulent in this spinach-cherry tomato-feta cheese salad?" It's those little green nuggets on top, the leaves of Portulacaria afra, also known as Elephant's Food plant. It's a succulent that you can grow in the drier, milder areas of USDA Zone …
 
If the idea of growing cool season vegetables makes you yawn, we’re going to wake you up today with interesting, unusual, colorful and tasty varieties of fall and winter vegetables that you may not know about, that are worth a try in your garden. Unusual radishes (such as the "White Icicle" radish, pictured) and beets, colorful lettuce and cabbage …
 
So, you want to grow an avocado tree? Can’t say it’ll work where you live. But what the heck, you gotta try, right? We’ve got tips for you to give it a good start, no matter where you are. It’s Fabulous Fruit Friday, and today we tackle the persnickety but popular avocado, with fruit expert Ed Laivo from Tomorrow's Harvest. And horticulture profess…
 
Maybe you’ve got a large lot. Maybe you’ve got a few acres. Maybe you’ve been hankering to get yourself a tractor. Before you spend your children’s inheritance on a piece of machinery, you need to ask yourself some questions. We talk backyard tractor basics on today’s show. Also we discuss less toxic weed killers. And, how the change of seasons - a…
 
Fabulous Fruit Friday is back, and today, Ed Laivo of Tomorrow's Harvest tells us about an early bearing fruit with a long hang time on the tree, the White Diamond Nectarine. Plus, Ed has tips for improving the chances for your new fruit trees to succeed…by checking the soil drainage before you plant. Can you grow a fruit tree from a seed? Professo…
 
If you’ve been bit by the gardening bug, it won’t be long before you’ll be craving a hobby greenhouse. With a greenhouse, you can get a jump on spring planting, keep tender plants from freezing in the winter, and, perhaps most fun of all, starting all sorts of delicious fruit and vegetable varieties from seed, varieties you possibly wouldn’t find a…
 
It’s Fabulous Fruit Friday, and today we talk with Ed Laivo of Tomorrows Harvest about a delicious, sweet, crunchy white peach, the Ivory Angel. And, Ed explains why your fruit trees need cold winter weather. Master Food Preserver Laura Doyle tells us what to do with all the apples you might be harvesting this month: make some apple jelly. Plus, sh…
 
Why should we, here in the warm, sunny areas of the United States, have all the fun growing citrus? If you're in snow blower tune-up mode now, you could also be growing citrus trees such as lemons, limes and more…indoors! We talk with the man who literally wrote the book on citrus, Lance Walheim, about how to successfully grow citrus inside your ho…
 
It’s Fabulous Fruit Friday! Ed Laivo of Tomorrows Harvest tells us about one of the most peach leaf curl resistant varieties of a peach or nectarine that you can grow at home: the Frost Peach. Plus, Ed and I do a deep dive into the mulch pile, singing the praises of topping your garden with wood chips, tree trimmings and more. Don’t worry, we won’t…
 
If you have a pollinator friendly garden, you have all sorts of beautiful flowering plants. Why not bring some of that outdoor splendor indoors? Today, on the Garden Basics podcast, the appropriately named horticulture professor, Debbie Flower, offers tips on how best to harvest and prepare cut flowers for an indoor display (that's a combination of…
 
Thinking about buying a rototiller? How about purchasing a chipper/shredder instead? It’s a machine that will make easy work of chopping up your garden clippings, including tree limbs, into the greatest mulch you could possibly own. The latest research shows that rototilling your soil actually damages soil structure and the soil biology. On the oth…
 
We continue our discussion of easy to grow cool season vegetables with Master Gardener and vegetable expert Gail Pothour. Last episode, we discussed the easy greens to start in your garden now in USDA Zones 7, 8 and 9. This time, we talk about easy root crops to grow, like carrots, turnips, beets and radishes. Plus tasty fall and winter above groun…
 
Looking for easy care, tasty, cool season vegetables to plant now? Look no further than all the nutritious, green leafy crops that love the fall weather. Today, we’re talking the basics for growing lettuce, spinach, chard, cabbage, Chinese greens, and kale, with great growing advice from Master Gardener Gail Pothour, who's also a vegetable expert. …
 
The hot trend of spring is back, this time for fall. The trend? The home-based, back-to-the- land movement, where more and more people are starting a garden. Just as what happened in the spring, nurseries right now are seeing cool season vegetables and flowers flying off the shelves, especially for USDA Zones 7, 8 and 9. For those of you in colder …
 
Horticulture expert Debbie Flower rejoins us for Part 2 of Understanding the Language of Seed Packets. This time around, she has good planting instructions for what to do if that seed packet says things like, "darkness aids germination" or "requires light for germination". And, when it says "keep seedbed evenly moist, but how much water do you appl…
 
A seed packet might say, “Plant in spring, but if you live in a mild climate, sow in fall.” What is a mild climate? Do you live in a mild climate? You might think so, but the folks at that seed company might disagree. On this episode of Garden Basics, our favorite retired College horticulture professor Debbie Flower tackles that as well as what can…
 
Ripping out your summer garden to make room for the fall vegetable and flower garden? Before you stick one broccoli plant or calendula flower in that space, you need to improve your soil. It’s tired! How do you perk it up? One way: let a portion of your garden lay fallow for the summer, as is that bottom raised bed in the picture. But the soil is b…
 
Can there be too much of a good thing? Yes, indeed, if we are talking about fertilizer for your outdoor fruit and vegetable plants. In fact, too much fertilizer can actually reduce the production of fruits and vegetables. Professor Debbie Flower tells us why. Every state in the union can grow table grapes. And this month, you just might have too ma…
 
For those of you who live in the West, the South, parts of the Midwest and mid-Atlantic states, (USDA Zones 7, 8, and 9) we get down to specifics in this episode on the best varieties of vegetables to grow during the cooler months of fall and winter: lettuce, spinach, Swiss Chard, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, cilantro, broccoli (pictured), cauliflower…
 
Many gardeners are still enjoying the summer vegetable garden. But get ready…the days will be getting shorter and cooler this month and those vegetables may start to go into decline. Now is time to be planning and planting your second garden of 2020, the fall and winter vegetable garden. Our favorite college horticulture professor (retired), Debbie…
 
Welcome back to our little insecticidal soap opera, "Who’s Eating My Tomatoes?" College horticulture professor Debbie Flower joins us for our big finale of this three part series, which looks at the insect critters that don’t necessarily chew the tomatoes, but they sure make them look ugly and unappetizing. It's the sucking, piercing, rasping insec…
 
We continue our conversation with retired horticulture professor Debbie Flower about the critters that are munching on your backyard tomatoes. Last time, we discussed the smaller pests: hornworms, fruit worms, fruit beetles, snails, slugs, earwigs. This time we tackle the larger interlopers who are getting into your tomatoes: rats, squirrels, birds…
 
How many times have you gone out to your backyard tomato patch, reached in to harvest what looks like a big, juicy, ripe, red tomato…only to have your fingertips realize…someone’s been eating my tomatoes. Who’s the culprit? Our favorite college horticulture teacher (retired), Debbie Flower, rounds up the suspects and interrogate them one by one. Th…
 
It’s a rather general garden question we received that has a lot of possible answers: "Why am I not getting any tomatoes or zucchini?" But that very general question, with no other details, gives us the opportunity to go through a checklist of all possible causes. One of those reasons just might hit home for you. Blueberry harvest is ending here in…
 
Don’t let drip irrigation become drip irritation. Today’s entire show is on drip irrigation basics: how to install it, how to run it, how to maintain it. We talk with garden author Robert Kourik, he wrote the seminal book about the subject, it’s called “Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates.” He’ll tell us that not only will drip irr…
 
Welcome to another edition of the Garden Basics podcast, once again with the subtitle, "I didn’t know that!" College Horticulture professor (retired) Debbie Flower tackles the question, is it better to fertilize your plants in the morning or the evening? Or does it matter? Debbie points out…it depends on the temperature. It’s not celery, it’s not a…
 
We pick up where we left off with the last episode, with a taste test of one more edible flower that you just might have growing in your yard: roses. Both the rose petals and the rose hips from the rose plant are edible. We talk with Master Rosarian Debbie Arrington who says, some rose petals and rose hips taste better than others. Which taste the …
 
Clipping off the flower heads on your basil plants to send the energy back to the plant to produce more green leaves? Good idea! Are you tossing out those cut flower heads of the basil? Bad idea. How about serving them as a garnish in a salad or soup? For that matter, why not start serving many of the flowers you might have in your garden on the di…
 
We do read the comments you post at the various podcast services. And we respond. Recently, at the Apple Podcast site, Sage posted: “Will you please address the mystery seeds being mailed to Americans? This is super scary and I believe you can help prevent something awful since you have the audience. Thanks in advance!” You’re welcome, in advance, …
 
We’re into that time of the summer when, with a very serious look in her eye, and wearing a tomato-stained apron, my wife sternly says: "Next year, don’t plant so many cherry tomato plants!" In my defense, there were only five cherry or grape-sized tomato plants in the ground this year: Sungold, Sweet Million, Gardeners Delight, Juliet and Valentin…
 
If you’ve ever talked with a gardener who uses the excrement of worms around their plants, you may be familiar with their wide eyed look of rapture talking about all the benefits of using, to put it more politely and accurately, worm castings. Today, we will dig deep into the Farmer Fred audio archives to hear gardeners sing the praises of raising …
 
Bees are one of the best pollinators to have flying around your food garden. It’s been said that bees are responsible for one out of every three bites of food you eat. Today, we take attracting bees to your garden one step further: how about raising your own hive of honeybees? We talk with one of the world’s foremost bee authorities, Dr. Norman Gar…
 
Confused about that tall wall of soil products you see in the nursery? Garden Soil, Planting Mix, Potting Mix, which do you choose for your plants? We talk with soil educator Gisele Schoniger about the right soil amendments for you. Fruit tree questions abound this time of year, we tackle your peach and apricot issues. And, college horticulture pro…
 
Looking for easy-to-grow fruit trees, loaded with tasty fruit, every summer? It’s hard to beat peaches and plums. Today we talk with fruit tree expert Phil Pursel of Dave Wilson Nursery about the delicious choices available. For peaches, try the O'Henry, Harken, the Donut Peach, Red Baron, Contender, Elberta, Babcock, Garden Gold. For plums, it wou…
 
You think you’re learning something new every time YOU listen to the Garden Basics podcast? Heck, I learn something new in each episode, as well. So, this time around, it’s a compilation of garden knowledge that will definitely make you a better gardener, and a better food shopper. We will call this episode, I DID NOT KNOW THAT. College horticultur…
 
It seemed like a simple enough garden question to answer: The writer of the email said: “I have never cared for a young peach tree or any other variety so I don't know what to do since I got it in the ground. Now what?” The writer included a picture of the tree, which you can see attached to this episode. Our favorite retired college horticulture p…
 
Today, we’re talking about two of the ten most popular backyard garden vegetables: sweet peppers and hot peppers. We talk with the man whom the New York Times dubbed the Pope of Peppers, Dave Dewitt. Besides offering up tips on how to grow hot peppers, but also how to overwinter them for a second year crop (some varieties are better than others for…
 
Maybe the only sunny area you have for a garden is currently a lawn. How about reducing the size of that lawn and converting it to a food and flower producing garden? Or, maybe you’re trying to get rid of persistent weeds in a current garden. Or maybe your soil has pests or diseases such as nematodes or verticillium wilt. This is the time of year t…
 
It's every gardener's wall of confusion: the shelves and shelves of plant fertilizers, available at the local nursery. Which one should you use? The granular, the liquid, the box, the bottle or the bag? And do you really need separate fertilizers for each kind of fruit or vegetable you're growing? And what do all those numbers on the fertilizer lab…
 
Today we find out how plants work. And how you can have a successful garden with even less work by helping those underground workers. Washington State University Horticulture Professor Linda Chalker Scott, author of the book, "How Plants Work", talks about the amazing intersection of plants, plant roots, your soil and your mulch … once again provin…
 
Today, we are all about tomatoes! We do some tomato troubleshooting with Don Shor, owner of Redwood Barn Nursery in Davis, CA. We tackle typical tomato issues: the flowers fall off (it will solve itself, unless you are loving it to death with too much nitrogen fertilizer); blight diseases (avoid overhead watering, unless it's rain-caused. In which …
 
We want to make gardening easier for you. Garden author (and contrarian) Robert Kourik explains the benefits to your soil and plants if you not only don’t rototill the soil, but also limit your digging. “No-dig” your way to your best garden ever! This episode is brought to you by Smart Pots. Visit smartpots.com/fred for a money-saving offer on the …
 
Today we tackle a summertime evening tradition: drinking while watering. No, we’re not going to try to sober you up. But we do have advice on how long to stand there with a hose, while mindlessly watering the lawn and garden. (hint: half a beer per plant) While you’re mindlessly watering, you might be thinking: why aren’t my squash plants having se…
 
Today, we’re talking greenhouse basics. You don’t have to be a gardener for very long to realize the advantages of having a backyard hobby greenhouse. It's an ideal place to start seeds, get cuttings to root, overwinter tender plants, or turn it into your own, personal, year-round food and flower factory! This episode is brought to you by Smart Pot…
 
What's the easiest fruit tree variety to grow? Apples! We talk with Phil Pursel of Dave Wilson Nursery about the wide variety of apple trees available for the home gardener, as well as tips for growing a 6 or 7 foot tall apple tree (and yes, you will still get plenty of fruit!). This episode is brought to you by Smart Pots. Visit smartpots.com/fred…
 
This episode is brought to you by Smart Pots. Visit smartpots.com/fred for a money-saving offer on the original, award-winning fabric planter, made in the USA. Ladies and gentlemen, this is how we water a plant. No! Don’t hit pause! Really, we have some tips about watering your garden that just might be new to you, no matter how many years you’ve h…
 
Today, we take a look at your tomato garden. Are they in small containers? Are they sprawling along the ground? Does it resemble more of a tomato jungle than a tomato garden? Those are three of the most common mistakes new tomato growers commit. Don Shor of Redwood Barn Nursery in Davis, California talks about how to correct those mistakes, and man…
 
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