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 best-selling garden books: "The Informed Gardener" and "The Informed Gardener Blooms Again". Both books deal with persistent garden myths and why they don't work. We talk about why rocks in a plant container actually can harm your plants (it's a water issue). But she gives us a cure for soil that might come pouring out of the drain holes the first time you water. Chalker-Scott might also convince you to quit buying landscape fabric to thwart weeds (there's a lot of issues with those fabrics that effect your soil, your plants...and, it doesn't stop weeds, in the long run). Other myths that get shattered here: why adding sand to clay soil will not improve the drainage; why Vitamin B-1 does not help your plants; and why it's OK to water your leafy plants on a hot afternoon (the leaves won't burn. really).
We dive into a big pile of oak leaf mulch with college horticulture professor Debbie Flower. Is it gardener's gold? After listening to this, come autumn, you'll be rounding up all the fallen oak leaves in your neighborhood! I discuss how I grind up my neighbor's oak leaves: put them in a metal trash can until the can is half full, stick in my lightweight electric string trimmer, and whirrrr away! About a 5:1 reduction of leaf volume that makes an excellent fall, winter and spring mulch! If you want more leaf reduction, you might want to invest in one of these.
Flower also explains why the most common mulch available, bark chips, isn't good for vegetable gardens. And, why you shouldn't be using fresh lawn clippings or sawdust as a mulch, period. Here's more about the pros and cons of various mulch products.
It's OK to plant fruit trees in the heat of the summer. We'll tell you the whys and the hows.
Finally, it's blueberry harvest season here. Is there a healthier, sweeter, more versatile taste treat that can grow in anyone's garden? I think blueberries take that trophy. Why are blueberries so healthy for you? Soluble fiber!
Got a garden question? There are several ways to get in touch: call and leave a question, or text us the question: 916-292-8964. E-mail: email@example.com or, leave a question at the Facebook, Twitter or Instagram locations below. Be sure to tell us where you are when you leave a question, because all gardening is local.
Thanks for listening to Garden Basics with Farmer Fred. It comes out every Tuesday and Friday (so far, so good). It's available just about anywhere podcasts are handed out. Please subscribe, and leave a comment. That helps us decide which garden topics you would like to see addressed.
All About Farmer Fred:
Farmer Fred website: http://farmerfred.com
Daily Garden tips and snark on Twitter
The Farmer Fred Rant! Blog
Facebook: "Get Growing with Farmer Fred"
Farmer Fred Garden Videos on YouTube
Garden columnist, Lodi News-Sentinel