Garden Basics with Farmer Fred

Garden Basics with Farmer Fred

Tips for beginning and experienced gardeners.New episodes arrive every Tuesday and Friday. Fred Hoffman (former farmer, to be exact) has been a U.C. Certified Master Gardener since 1982 and hosts three radio shows in Northern California, from Sacrament…


056 Cold Climate Greenhouse Basics. Growing Winter Tomatoes.
Oct 20 • 28 min
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…
055 Fabulous Fruit Friday! Chill Hours Explained. Apple Jelly
Oct 16 • 24 min
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…
054 Indoor Citrus Basics. Leaf Mulching Made Easy.
Oct 13 • 26 min
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…
053 Mulch Basics. Fabulous Fruit Friday!
Oct 8 • 28 min
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…
052 Cut Flower Basics. Winter Chicken Care.
Oct 6 • 27 min
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…
051 Chipper/Shredder Basics. Fabulous Fruit Friday!
Oct 2 • 27 min
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…
050 Fall Planting Carrots, Peas, Broccoli and More
Sep 29 • 27 min
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…
049 Growing Cool Season Greens. Fabulous Fruit Friday!
Sep 25 • 27 min
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…
048 No Bare Soil! Blueberry Basics. Black Widow Spiders and Your Garden.
Sep 22 • 26 min
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…
047 Part 2 Understanding Seed Packets
Sep 18 • 25 min
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…
046 Understanding Seed Packets Pt. 1
Sep 15 • 25 min
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,…
045 Feed Your Soil - The Cool Season Garden Edition
Sep 10 • 26 min
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…
044 Don’t Overdose Your Plants with Fertilizer. Making raisins. Plants that smell great!
Sep 7 • 27 min
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…
043 Veggies for Fall
Sep 3 • 27 min
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: …
042 Cool Season Garden Basics
Aug 31 • 28 min
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,…
041 Who’s Eating My Tomatoes, Part 3. Plants to Attract Beneficial Insects.
Aug 28 • 23 min
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…
040 Who’s Eating My Tomatoes? Part 2. Barn Owl Basics.
Aug 25 • 27 min
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…
039 Who’s Eating My Tomatoes? Pt. 1.
Aug 21 • 28 min
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…
038 Where are the Tomatoes and Zucchini? Blueberry Basics.
Aug 18 • 28 min
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…
037 Drip Irrigation Basics
Aug 14 • 37 min
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…
036 When To Fertilize. Growing Celtuce. Peak Harvest and Storage Tips.
Aug 11 • 25 min
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…
035 Flavorful Roses
Aug 6 • 27 min
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…
034: Edible Flowers. Mulch vs Disease.
Aug 4 • 29 min
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?…
Mystery Seeds from China? Don’t plant them!
Jul 31 • 29 min
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…
Too Many Tomatoes? Here’s What to Do.
Jul 28 • 29 min
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…
Using Worm Castings in the Garden
Jul 24 • 29 min
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…
Raising Honeybees. Growing Parsnips.
Jul 21 • 29 min
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…
Know Your Soil Products. Fruit Tree questions. Roses Don’t Have Thorns (really!)
Jul 17 • 29 min
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…
Anyone can grow a peach or plum tree. The cure for bitter cucumbers.
Jul 14 • 29 min
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…
Root cutting. I did not know that!
Jul 10 • 28 min
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…
How To Plant a Fruit Tree
Jul 7 • 27 min
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…
Peppers, the Hot and the Sweet: How to Grow Them, How to Eat Them
Jul 2 • 29 min
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,…
Soil Solarization Kills Weeds, Pests.
Jun 30 • 27 min
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…
Fertilizer Confusion. Battling Squash Bugs.
Jun 26 • 28 min
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…
How Plants Work. So, You Want to Grow an Avocado Tree? (good luck)
Jun 23 • 28 min
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…
Tomato Troubleshooter
Jun 19 • 29 min
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…
The No-Till, No-Dig Garden. Excess harvest donation tips. Reading pesticide labels.
Jun 16 • 28 min
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…
Watering Tips. Zucchini Sex. Worm Bin Basics.
Jun 12 • 29 min
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…
Greenhouse Basics
Jun 9 • 29 min
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…
All About Apples. Compost Do’s and Dont’s.
Jun 5 • 29 min
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…
How to Water, Chard Tips, Garden Time Savers
Jun 2 • 27 min
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…
Tomato Mistakes to Avoid. Tips for planting and watering new seedbeds.
May 29 • 27 min
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…
Garden Myths. The Best Mulch. Blueberries!
May 26 • 29 min
The college horticulture professors take over Episode 14, but we keep it to the basics. Don’t worry, none of this will be on the Final.Linda Chalker-Scott teaches at Washington State University, but she may be better known as the author of a couple of…
Grow Fruit Bushes Not Fruit Trees. Seed Germination Tips. Zinnias for Mental Health!
May 22 • 25 min
Quit growing fruit trees, will you? Grow fruit bushes, instead! We talk with a nursery person who wrote a book advocating keeping all your fruit trees no taller than you can reach from the ground. That way, you can grow more varieties of peaches, plums,…
First Garden? Tips for Success! Gardening Can Be Your “New Normal” for Health and Happiness.
May 19 • 29 min
New to gardening? Or, you just want to learn some better ways to garden? This is the episode for you. College horticulture professor Debbie Flower has tips to make your first garden a successful garden. And, for you more experienced gardeners, we have…
How to Grow Tomatoes in Pots. Choosing fertilizers. Carrot seed planting tips.
May 15 • 29 min
Yes, you can grow tomatoes in containers! Maybe all you have is a small, sunny patio or maybe you have lousy soil, or maybe you just want to be able to move the plants around. With some help, of course. We have tips on great containers for great…
Snails! Slugs! Earwigs! How to Control Them. The Pollinator Victory Garden.
May 12 • 29 min
Snails, slugs, earwigs…who’s chewing on your plants? Well, in fairness, it could be birds, too. But today we have control tips for the slimy and sinister looking Big 3 of Snails, Slugs and Earwigs. Did you know that one out of every three bites of food…
Grow Your Own Protein
May 8 • 29 min
Taken a trip lately to a grocery store? Notice the empty meat shelves? Notice the price jumps on what’s left of the beef, chicken and pork? Worried about you and your family getting enough protein? Maybe it’s time to grow your own protein. And I’m not…
Kids’ Choice Garden Veggies
May 5 • 29 min
Want to get your kids out in the garden, growing food that they will enjoy eating, too? Pam Farley, The Brown Thumb Mama, has suggestions for Vegetables and Fruits Kids Love To Grow. Roses are blooming, and the bad bugs have found them! Our favorite…
Feed Your Soil, Not Your Plants
May 2 • 27 min
Quit fertilizing your plants! Feed your soil instead. Episode 7 goes deep into what makes for a successful plant. If you think plant roots are sucking up the liquid or granular fertilizer that your pouring on them, think again. Plant roots aren’t…
Chickens! Weeding Easy.
Apr 28 • 29 min
People lately aren’t just starting vegetable and flower gardens as a way to help them get through the Coronavirus pandemic. They’re getting chickens, too. There’s been a big demand for baby chicks. People want to have more available forms of protein……
Garden Money (And Time) Savers
Apr 24 • 29 min
We save some money and some time on today’s episode. Brad Gates of Wild Boar Farms tells us about his “Cheapskate Salad Bowl”: how you can grow and harvest lettuce quickly (within a month) and cheaply (using nursery planting trays). And, you don’t have…
Grow popcorn. Battling aphids. Family gardening tips.
Apr 21 • 28 min
Growing popcorn. Aphid control. Kids and gardening.
How to Plant Tomatoes and Peppers (You might be surprised!)
Apr 17 • 29 min
On Episode 3 of Garden Basics with Farmer Fred, we have a nifty way to stick tomato and pepper plants in the ground, a method guaranteed to produce a stronger plant.More information.We talk about a really basic seed saving technique: how and where to…
Growing microgreens. Backyard blueberry plants. Importance of thinning vegetables, fruit.
Apr 14 • 27 min
Master Gardener Gail Pothour tells us how to have a microgreens garden in the kitchen. Choosing the tastiest blueberry varieties; how to grow blueberry plants. The importance of thinning young vegetable seedlings and young fruit. What are you grateful for?
Garden Basics: Starting Your Victory Garden 2.0
Apr 11 • 29 min
:00 Why another garden podcast?1:14 The importance of gardening during these days of “Shelter in Place”. What is Integrated Pest Management? The right plant in the right place.5:51 The Victory Garden 2.0 with Diane Blazek, All-America Selections.18:30…