Garden Basics with Farmer Fred

289 Garlic Basics. Persimmons. Fall Garden Cookbook.

October 27, 2023 Fred Hoffman Season 4 Episode 43
Garden Basics with Farmer Fred
289 Garlic Basics. Persimmons. Fall Garden Cookbook.
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In many parts of the country, it’s garlic planting time. Debbie Flower and I talk about many aspects of growing backyard garlic. (at 1:25 of podcast)

Plus we talk with fruit tree expert Phil Pursel about growing and harvesting persimmons in the fall. (16:26)

And Master Gardener Kathy Morrison  has fall recipes made from your cool season backyard crops, especially apples. (26:40)

We’re podcasting from Barking Dog Studios here in the beautiful Abutilon Jungle in Suburban Purgatory. It’s the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast, brought to you today by Smart Pots, and Dave Wilson Nursery. Let’s go!

Previous episodes, show notes, links, product information, and TRANSCRIPTS  at the home site for Garden Basics with Farmer Fred, Transcripts and episode chapters also available at Buzzsprout

Pictured: Harvest of California Early White Garlic

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Topic Links:

Catalog: Filaree Farm (garlic)
Book: Growing Great Garlic
Book: The Complete Book of Garlic
Book: Propagating Plants
Website: Sacramento Digs Gardening Fall Cookbook
Fair Oaks Horticulture Center

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289 TRANSCRIPT  Garlic, Persimmons, Fall Recipes

Farmer Fred  0:00  

Garden Basics with Farmer Fred is brought to you by Smart Pots, the original lightweight, long lasting fabric plant container. It's made in the USA. Visit slash Fred for more information and a special discount, that's

Welcome to the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast. If you're just a beginning gardener or you want good gardening information, you've come to the right spot.


Farmer Fred

In many parts of the country, it’s garlic planting time. And our answer to a garlic growing garden question today took a long scenic bypass in which Debbie Flower and myself talk about many aspects of growing backyard garlic. Plus we talk with fruit tree expert Phil Pursel about growing and harvesting persimmons, another crop we look forward to this time of year. And we continue our series of “You grew it, now eat it!” rants with Master Gardener Kathy Morrison who has fall recipes for your cooler season backyard crops, especially apples.

We’re podcasting from Barking Dog Studios here in the beautiful Abutilon Jungle in Suburban Purgatory. It’s the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast, brought to you today by Smart Pots, and Dave Wilson Nursery. Let’s go!


Farmer Fred

We like to answer your garden questions here on the Garden Basics podcast. Debbie Flower is here, America's favorite retired college horticultural professor… I think you're here.

Debbie Flower  1:33  

I'm here. I showed up. 

Farmer Fred  1:35  

All right. You know what time it is? It's garlic planting time.

Debbie Flower  1:38  

It is for us. Yes. Right around, if anybody celebrates it, Columbus Day.

Farmer Fred  1:43  

That's a good benchmark. I look at it as baseball playoff time, though. Baseball playoffs is also the time for shucking the popcorn.

Debbie Flower  1:51  

Okay,  good to hook these things to some event so that you do it at the right time each year. 

Farmer Fred  1:58  

Of course, garlic planting time would vary upon where you live. If you live in a colder climate, you would do it sooner, possibly in late September, early October.  And as you go to warmer climates, it's a little bit later.

Debbie Flower  2:10  

Would you determine when to plant it based on nighttime temperatures? 

Farmer Fred

I do baseball playoffs But you're right. It's all about what that bulb needs as far as colder temperatures in order to thrive and develop a new bulb. From what I understand, hardneck bulbs require what they call ‘vernalization’. Which is a period of coldness. And it doesn’t have to be very cold for those garlic bulbs.


Debbie Flower  2:39  

 No, it's not, compared to other things that need to be vernalized. 

Farmer Fred  2:43  

Yeah, it's like 40 degrees. Hardneck garlic varieties need it more than softneck varieties. 

Debbie Flower  2:53  

That's why softnecks are a cinch to plant in, USDA zone nine, right where we are.

Farmer Fred  2:54  

 I've never ever think about vernalization. I just plant the garlic.

Debbie Flower  2:57  

I do when I'm talking about tulips or crocuses. Some crocuses, not all. Some tulips, not all. And hyacinths. They need to be vernalized in our climate, or they will either not flower or the flower will be so buried down in the leaves, you won't see it.

Farmer Fred  3:14  

And in this particular situation, I guess it's a case of it's not flowering that you are concerned about. You're trying to encourage it's bulbing.

Debbie Flower  3:21  

Right, that's the part of the plant we eat.

Farmer Fred  3:25  

 Yeah, bulb, flowering, actually, you want to cut off the flowers, right? 

Debbie Flower  3:27  

Because that will take energy out of the bulb. Unless you're growing it for seed. I don't know who does that; I guess companies do, because you can buy garlic seed. So there are commercial people who do it. I don't know if if any home gardener would do that.

Farmer Fred  3:39  

I will do it just to attract beneficials to the plant’s flowers. It's a beautiful, globe shaped flower. And it's full of teeny tiny flowers that attract a whole host of small beneficials. Basically, you're sacrificing that bulb  for the flower. Now I did see one source that said, “For best results, the garlic clove needs to be exposed to 40 to 50 degrees in the soil for six to 12 weeks during the winter to stimulate bulb formation.” In a lot of USDA zone nine where you do have colder winters unlike say Southern California, here in central in Northern California, you get those soil temps between 40 and 50, easily, for six to 12 weeks.

Debbie Flower  4:24  

 In Hawaii, I just read a publication from the university there and they say that the garlic needs to be vernalized for one to two months at 40 degrees and so that would be putting it in the refrigerator, in the crisper,  so you can maintain some humidity to prevent it from drying out.

Farmer Fred  4:46  

And again, you do want to plant the clove, not the entire head of garlic. You want to separate those cloves out. You can leave the paper covering on each clove. Plant the fat side down, the base side down. In our area,  you'd plant, maybe one to two inches deep. And in colder climates five to six inches deep.

Debbie Flower  5:06  

Right. You want to get below that hard freeze line, because it will just turn to mush.

Farmer Fred  5:10  

Yeah, I noticed Cornell University recommended that garlic not only be planted at five to six inches deep in areas where the garden ground does freeze, I guess in New York.

Debbie Flower  5:20  

Upstate New York and even where I lived on Long Island, the soil does freeze.

Farmer Fred  5:26  

 And then top that with another four inches of mulch on top.

Debbie Flower  5:30  

The mulch is to prevent what's called frost heaving. So if you have in a cold weather climate, bare soil, and maybe snow or something. And then it warms up. Perhaps you have a sunny day, and the sun shines down on that snow and it starts to melt and the heat flows into the soil and then the sun goes down and it gets cold again, and that water freezes. And as water freezes, it gets bigger. Because the way the molecules set up in ice versus water, and that causes cracks in the soil. And if it happens over and over again, plants can actually be pushed out of the ground. And garlic cloves could as well. So if you put a layer of mulch on top such as straw, a nice light colored mulch that would reflect a lot of light, then that freezing and thawing cycle won't happen.

Farmer Fred  6:14  

Okay. And that makes plenty of sense. And you know, we haven't even come to the question yet that we said we're gonna answer. The question comes from Kristine who lives in Vallejo, which is in the Bay Area of San Francisco. It is a mild climate USDA zone nine. She asks about growing garlic from last season's harvest. And you're asking yourself, “well, wait a minute, I thought you're talking about the vernalization. What does this have to do with that?” Well, it's part of the answer. Here's her complete question. Kristine says, “In October of 2022, I planted a ‘Purple Stripe’ hardneck garlic from seed garlic purchased from my local nursery. I did not vernalize them and had a successful harvest in July. I saved a new head to plant out again this fall. Do I need to vernalize those? Or can I go ahead and plant them out?” Thank you, Kristine, for your question. 

It's amazing. I have a lot of garlic reference books, including one of my favorites, which is the Fillaree farm catalog, which is like a little garlic encyclopedia. Fillaree Farm is up in Washington State. Get their catalog because it is a great garlic reference. Plus, I have some wonderful books such as, “Growing Great Garlic”, “All About Garlic”, and ”Plant Propagation”. None of them really provided the definitive answer to your question about vernalization, which again, is just refrigeration for a few weeks. However, they all did offer clues for planting garlic. They basically said to store your harvested garlic in a cool place, 50 to 70 degrees, a dry spot that is less than 40 to 50% humidity, and well ventilated. And you can accomplish that by maybe hanging them in mesh bags.

Debbie Flower  7:54  

Or in ventilated stockings. If anybody has any old stockings.

Farmer Fred  7:57  

I was going to mention that. But that's such a 20th century reference.

Debbie Flower  8:00  


Farmer Fred  8:02  

So either hang them in net bags or in a slotted container on a table that allows airflow from the bottom, trying to keep the heads from touching each other. You know, a birdcage might be good for that, if you want to try that. And keep them in a dark area. And it even says in some instances don't refrigerate your garlic because that can cause them to sprout.  And that makes sense based on what we've been talking about.

Debbie Flower  8:28  

The coldness, right.

Farmer Fred  8:30  

And you only want to plant moist, well-formed cloves. Garlic will sprout when it is in temperatures of less than 50 degrees. So basically, if you plant garlic in October or November, which is what is recommended for USDA zone nine, the soil temperatures will eventually drop below 50. Probably in December, as long as you have stored the garlic correctly and the heads are healthy. I think last year's crop can be used for next year's crop. Now I guess the test would be if your garlic head, which includes the cloves, are any good, now would be the time, Christine, to plant them, now. And if you don't see any green growth say by December, you can go ahead and try again.

Debbie Flower  9:10  

An easier way might be to take them, we used to do this in class, and moisten them. You can suspend them in a jar or a glass with the bottom touching the water, and they will if they're alive, they'll  start to grow roots pretty quickly. So only a couple of weeks.

Farmer Fred  9:27  

So, you keep them in a jar and only like a half inch water? 

Debbie Flower  9:32  

The jar doesn't have to be deep. It could be a bowl. We did though, like you do with an avocado seed held by  three toothpicks, and hang it over the water. We use jars and brought the water up so that it touches the bottom. The bottom is where the roots will arise. That's the basal plate, the fat bottom. Yeah, the fat flat bottom. And then if you start to see roots there, you know it's alive, and then it will send the shoot up after that. 

Farmer Fred

How long does that take? 

Debbie Flower

That takes a little longer. That's maybe a month.

Farmer Fred  9:59  

And should it be in a cool place when you're doing this?

Debbie Flower  10:03  

I've had students do this outdoors, indoors, all over. In a dark place and a light place. It didn't seem to matter.

Farmer Fred  10:11  

Yeah, I think we're thinking too hard on this.  But go ahead, Christine. I'm growing garlic this year from what I grew last year, because the bulbs are good, and I've got a good storage area and am giving it a shot.

Debbie Flower  10:24  

Those are good things that you point  out about it being a healthy clove. It is very important. So it shouldn't have any mold on it, it shouldn't be shriveled up, and you don't want to buy them from the grocery store and plant them. They may have disease in them. They may produce in diseased soil, but you won't get as much. Farmers do it because they need the income. And if they are not organic, they may have been treated to not sprout in the grocery store. That means they probably won't sprout. So if you don't have a source of your own, such as from your own garden, go to a nursery and buy the garlic. They call it seed garlic. It is not seeds, it is cloves of garlic, actually it is a head of garlic. You need to separate out the cloves. 

Farmer Fred  11:06  

So you could have some for dinner too, right? Try it.

Debbie Flower  11:10  

Right. If you liked that flavor, you can grow some more. But you need to make sure it's disease-free. You don't want to add disease to your own soil.

Farmer Fred  11:17  

And I think in any climate, it pays to mulch the area, too. For instance, I planted garlic yesterday in the morning. Pretty nice weather. But by five o'clock, it was raining so hard. We ended up with an inch and a half of rain here yesterday. I'm glad I added mulch above where I planted the garlic.

Debbie Flower  11:38  

That heavy rain can really cause soil compaction. 

Farmer Fred  11:41  

Yeah, so by having a few inches of the straw there, that slows the water down.

Debbie Flower  11:45  

It slows water down, because it hits the straw, and then it goes slowly into your garden.

Farmer Fred  11:49  

So that's something to consider for any plant that you're putting out for a cool season garden. If a storm is forecast… and this wasn't yesterday’s forecast, by the way. They were talking about a 10th of an inch. Well, how about an inch and a half? In a very short period of time? My new rain barrel got a workout yesterday.

Debbie Flower  12:09  

Your new rain barrel?

Farmer Fred  12:11  

Yes, I bought a new rain barrel.

Debbie Flower  12:12  

Okay, what do you mean by a rain barrel?

Farmer Fred  12:16  

It's a rain barrel.

Debbie Flower  12:16  

So you're collecting water off your roof.

Farmer Fred  12:19  

I am collecting water off the roof in an area where there is no gutter. So it's just pouring off the side of the house. And in the past, I have been catching it with a wheelbarrow.  And then moving that very heavy wheel heavy to put the water someplace else. So I figured well, why not use a rain barrel. 

Debbie Flower

With a spigot on the bottom?

Farmer Fred

A spigot and a hose. And an overflow valve, too.  

Debbie Flower


Farmer Fred

Well, I hope so.

Debbie Flower  12:44  

We'll see. And how do you keep mosquitoes out?

Farmer Fred  12:47  

Actually there’s a screen that you put over the opening on the top that allows the water to go through, but it's a very fine mesh screen. Like I say, we'll see.

Debbie Flower  12:58  

It's in “test stage” because…?

Farmer Fred  13:00  

Water, when it falls off the roof, because there is no gutter, the water is at the mercy of the wind, which can blow that flow left or right a considerable distance. And a barrel, the width of this top of this barrel, the diameter of the barrel at the top might be two feet, maybe. 

Debbie Flower

That's pretty big actually. 

Farmer Fred

Well, it's okay. But the wheelbarrow was easily three feet long and two and a half feet wide. So that made it easy to collect wayward rainwater.

Debbie Flower  13:29  

 just put a lot of buckets around. Collect them there.

Farmer Fred  13:33  

Yeah, or more wheelbarrows. Anyway, Kristine, go ahead, plant your garlic. Tell us how it worked out. Debbie, you're planting garlic, aren't you?

Debbie Flower  13:42  

I am. Yes. Some that my nephew grew in his organic garden. 

Farmer Fred

What variety?

Debbie Flower

 I don't know, but it's a softneck variety.

Farmer Fred  13:50  

Softneck Garlic. Okay. What is the difference between a hardneck and softneck? 

Debbie Flower  13:54  

Well, softneck garlic has a mild flavor and softer stems, softer above-ground parts, ultimately. And it can be stored up to a year. And that's the kind we commonly get from our grocery stores. But there are there are hardneck garlic varieties, which has a shorter shelf life, only three to four months, and has sort of subtle flavor differences. With my palate, I probably couldn't tell. But there are, I'm sure, other people for whom that would make a difference. And it  can't be braided because the stem, the above ground parts, are stiffer than the below ground parts. And the hard neck garlic produces a spiral in its stem at the end, where the scape forms. Scapes are like a bud, a flower bud. And you want to take that scape off and have that energy goes back into the bulb. With the hard necks, also, you can eat some of those stems when they first come out of the ground. You use them as seasoning. 

Farmer Fred

You could eat the scapes, too. 

Debbie Flower

You can eat the scapes. You've done that.

Farmer Fred  14:53  

Yeah, chop up the scapes, put it on a salad.  

Debbie Flower

It has a spicy-ish flavor. 

Farmer Fred

Yeah, a bit spicy, but in small quantities, It's a nice addition.  And again, by doing that, you're redirecting the energy of the plant back to making a bigger bulb, and the bulb won't get as woody. 

Debbie Flower


Farmer Fred

Well, there's everything you ever wanted to know about garlic. Kristine, thank you for your question. Debbie, thank you for your answer. 

Debbie Flower

You're welcome, Fred. 


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ALL ABOUT PERSIMMONS (originally aired in Ep. 148)

Farmer Fred 

 If you're looking for a stunning fall plant that's very tasty, one of the best edible ornamentals for a November-December harvest are persimmons. And there are a lot of great persimmon varieties out there, and it's a very versatile fruit as well. We're talking with Philip Pursel of Dave Wilson Nursery. And Phil, persimmons, I guess, could be divided into two categories, the astringent and the non astringent. Talk a little bit about the non astringent varieties such as the Fuyu. 

Phil Pursel  

Those are the type that you can just go ahead and pick right off the tree and eat them as is. Like the Fuyu and other of apple types. The astringent are the ones that you need to have them completely ripen or they give you a really bitter taste.

Farmer Fred  

And for people who are wondering if they're at the store or a farmers market and they see two distinctly different persimmons, chances are that one is non astringent and the other is probably astringent.

Phil Pursel  

Yep, exactly. So kind of like the classic non-astringent is the Fuyu persimmon, and it is shaped like an apple. It's flatter and it's  hard. The astringent, the most common one is the Hachiya, and that one is oblong, a little bit bigger. And that one needs to really to soften completely before it's palatable.

Farmer Fred 

And some of the techniques used to soften the Hachiya that I've seen are people hanging them on clothes lines.

Phil Pursel  

Sure, yeah. What they do is they hang them on clothes lines. They also peel them, to kind of cure them that way. My mom, she was Japanese, we would throw them in the freezer and that would work. Or, just let them sit out and just let them soften up.

Farmer Fred 

The California Rare Fruit Growers, in their descriptions about persimmons, make mention that with the hachiya or other astringent varieties, that if you peel them and slice them and dehydrate them, they actually will be sweet now I've never tried that. But if you want to experiment and sort of avoid the puckeriness of an astringent persimmon, you might try that.

Phil Pursel 

Yeah, definitely I've never tried it before, but I've seen that done. And your description of an astringent persimmon  is perfect. Unless you really really taste an astringent persimmon,  that puckeriness, the bitterness, is unbelievable. Once it softens, it is as sweet as can be. So it's a very unique flavor difference between the two.

Farmer Fred 

There are a lot of great recipes online for working with persimmons, especially the non astringent varieties like the Fuyu. They make delicious cookies, you can dry them and they're a tasty treat and just a lot of great ways to use that non astringent persimmon, including just eating it raw.

Phil Pursel  

Like right now at the nursery, our persimmons are devoid of leaves, right? They've gone through their beautiful orange coloring. I'm looking at one right now. We have a complete deciduous tree and it's just loaded with the orange fruit, just like a little ornament hanging out there. And what we do during this time of year, when we're out digging our trees, if you want to snack we just go up to our Fuyus. They come right off the tree. You know, man, it's delicious.

Farmer Fred  

It's sort of like a Christmas ornament, all the fruit hanging on the trees, and the birds would appreciate it too. 

Phil Pursel  

Oh, sure. Yeah, absolutely. 

Farmer Fred 

So what are some of the other non-astringent persimmon varieties in the Dave Wilson catalog that people might enjoy trying?

Phil Pursel  

Some of the other ones. There's the giant Fuyu, which is a it's just a larger Fuyu persimmon. I personally don't think it's quite as tasty as the regular Fuyu jiro. But you know the name, gian,t for you people like one that's really become popular and simply because of the size of the tree doesn't get quite as big as a regular tree. For you it is the ease. So some people kind of think of it as a dwarf  type of tree that the fruit comes on sooner than the Fuyu in the tree itself. Just because of its growing habit, it is a relatively smaller tree. Something that we really liked, that kind of is very unique, is the Coffee Cake persimmon. It's a non astringent, but it does need a pollenizer. The pollenizer for the Coffee Cake is the Chocolate persimmon. But the Coffee Cake is the best way to describe the taste is  it's almost like a cinnamon swirl type of flavor. And it's really unique. It's really early, so it's much sooner than the regular, probably a month sooner than a regular Fuyu. The thing with Coffee Cake is that it's been pollenized when the flesh itself has kind of marbled, light brown and orange. If it has not been pollenized, the flesh looks like a regular Fuyu persimmon. If you bite into it, it becomes astringent. It's kind of a unique one, where you don't need to let it soften, but it needs to be pollenized. But the flavor is is really a very unique type of almost cinnamon pastry type of flavor.

Farmer Fred  

Now you mentioned with the Coffee Cake persimmon that it needs the Chocolate persimmon as a pollenizer. Any other varieties work as a pollenizer? 

Phil Pursel 

For the coffee cake, we find that Chocolate works the best, you can have a Fuyu and it'll do a kind of a marginal job. And the reason being is Fuyus have very few male flowers. And that's why Fuyus don't get seeds in them, because there's very few male flowers. So if you use that for the Coffee Cake, it just doesn't do a really good thorough job of pollenizing. So that's why we like to tell people that's best for the Coffee Cake to have the Chocolate go with it.

Farmer Fred  

Now you mentioned another wonderful point about the Fuyu persimmon. It is seedless, and it's self fruitful, as many varieties of persimmons are sell fruitful. And I think that's why the Fuyu is so popular because of the lack of seeds which can be rather daunting in some varieties.

Phil Pursel  

Yeah, absolutely. Let's put it this way. We grow a lot of persimmons. 75% of all the persimmons we grow are Fuyus. And then the other 25 are broken up between Hachiya and the other varieties. So it's the most popular and the other thing about persimmons: for a tree, it is doesn't get insects, doesn't get any type of diseases. It's  pretty, low maintenance. Persimmons love the valley heat can take a lot of cold. I'd say it's an edible ornamental. I'm looking at a Fuyu right now and it is just their little ornaments on a dormant tree.

Farmer Fred  

And even though it can tolerate a lot of cold, it doesn't need that many chill hours maybe 100 or 200 chill hours during the winter, temperatures between 32 and 45.

Phil Pursel  

Yeah, so the unique thing is that it does well down in Southern California, on the coast, and it will also do well in the foothills, so it's a very reliable wide range fruit tree.

Farmer Fred  

Is it easy to maintain its size for the backyard Can you keep it at six or seven feet and still have a bountiful harvest?

Phil Pursel  

You really can. I have one actually in my backyard and right now I've been keeping it around six feet. The persimmons they produce off of the new wood that comes out. So it's easy to kind of keep a cut back because all the new growth that comes out that has all the flowers that will produce the fruit. So it's one that it's relatively easy to keep for a regular backyard.

Farmer Fred  

Does it take well to summer pruning?

Phil Pursel  

It does. We like to stress summer pruning because that summer pruning is a great time to go out there, and if your trees getting too tall,  just cut it back. Just by nipping and keeping that persimmon under control,  you're not gonna have to worry about getting into any of the fruit, and keep it manageable.

Farmer Fred  

And I imagine it does best in full sun. 

Phil Pursel  

Full sun. Absolutely. 

Farmer Fred  

So if you're looking for a fall taste treat, it's hard to beat the persimmons. You can keep it at a very nice size, six or seven feet and still have a kitchen full of persimmons. For holiday gifts or just for munching, they're really a wonderful tasty treat to have. Persimmons. Find out more by visiting the Dave Wilson catalog online, at Dave And Phil Pursel, thanks for spending a few minutes with us and sampling some persimmons.

Phil Pursel  

All right. Thanks for having me on.


Farmer Fred  25:31 

 Now’s the time to plan the what and the where of you want to plant for the future. To help you along, it pays to visit your favorite independently owned nursery on a regular basis throughout the fall and winter, just to see what’s new. And coming soon to that nursery near you is Dave Wilson Nursery’s excellent lineup of Farmers Market Favorites of great tasting, healthy, fruit and nut varieties. They’ll be already potted up and ready to be planted. 

And we’re also talking about a great selection of antioxidant-rich fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, Goji berries, Grapes, kiwi, mulberries, gooseberries, figs and pomegranates.

Wholesale grower Dave Wilson Nursery has probably the best lineup of great tasting fruit and nut trees of any grower in the U.S. Find out more at their website, Dave Wilson dot com. While you’re there, check out all the videos they have on how to plant and grow all their delicious varieties of fruit and nut trees. Plus, at dave wilson dot com, you can find the nursery nearest you that carries Dave Wilson plants. Your harvest to better health begins at Dave Wilson dot com.



Farmer Fred

We recently talked about fall recipes with Master Gardener Kathy Morrison out at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center on a workday. Lots of great recipes, including several with persimmons, both the non-astringent persimmon, the Fuyu varieties, as well as the astringent variety, the Hachiya. As you're probably aware, I have an old saying, If you grew it, you have to eat it. Don't throw it away. But at the end of summer, you have a lot of choices to make and then there are the fall crops to consider. What are you going to eat out of that garden? We are talking with Kathy Morrison, one of the authors of the Sacramento Digs Gardening newsletter, and they just came out with their free new Fall cookbook, full of recipes of crops that you grow in your own backyard, that can make for some very good tasty treats so you don't have to throw anything out or or give it all to the compost pile or the worms. Kathy, the fall cookbook has which crops in it that weren't in the summer cookbook, also available for free at Sacramento Digs Gardening?

Kathy Morrison  27:43  

Oh, definitely, persimmons. Pomegranates. I don't think we did any apples during the summer because now is prime apple season. We also have pears, and pumpkins certainly, and a variety of greens and things like that. But the tree fruit is what  people get excited about.

Farmer Fred  28:00  

Yeah, especially apples. Everybody grows apples. So, other than learning to juggle, what can you do with all the apples that might be harvested now?

Kathy Morrison  28:07  

Oh, we have a recipe for an apple pie cake. We have apple muffins, really lovely apple coffee cake. So, pretty much anything you can bake. Certainly this is baking season, people get adventurous and turn on their ovens. Again, we also have a lot of persimmons. Debbie Arrington is a persimmon specialist. So we have a lot of persimmon recipes. I know we have some scones in there, too. Just a lot of fun things. We have a whole section on cookies, which we did not have in the summer. Because who bakes cookies in the summertime? I know, some people do.

Farmer Fred  28:37  

Yeah. My wife just made another batch of fig newton-style cookies from our homegrown figs.

Kathy Morrison  28:41  

Oh yeah,  we have fig recipes in there as well, come to think of it. So lots of fun stuff. We have a whole section of  breakfast breads and and coffee cakes. Because that's homier, and people are inside more, having a second cup of coffee, and you can have something nice with it.

Farmer Fred  28:58  

You mentioned Debbie. That would, of course,  be Debbie Arrington,  your co-writer on the Sacramento Digs Gardening newsletter. Getting back to apples, you talk about recipes for baking apples. Between sweet apples and tart apples, which are better for baking?

Kathy Morrison  29:11  

This is going to sound silly, but I like sweet tart apples. Hone crisps are excellent for baking. They have just enough tartness. Personally, when I make apple pie, if I can find them, I use Pippin apples, which are really tart. That makes a really lovely apple pie, but that's an old type of apple, and it's hard to find. A lot of people like Granny Smith apples. I found that if you mix them, you get a really nice range of flavors. if you do like Honeycrisp and Gala apples, I made a coffee cake a couple of weeks ago, and what I used was a Honeycrisp and a Gala. There's a sweet Tango apple out right now that I found that I really like. So, it's somewhere in the middle.

Farmer Fred  29:54  

All right. For persimmons, that you mentioned. That is  a crop that has yet to ripen fully here in California. It  probably is harvested here towards the end of October or early November, depending on the weather. What can you do with persimmons? We like to slice them and dry them, dehydrate them, and just serve them as dried fruit.

Kathy Morrison  30:12  

Definitely. They make lovely dried fruit. But you can, depending on which ones you like. If you like the crisp persimmons (the Fuyus) the ones initially when you can use those like apples, I think we have scone recipes that use those (Fuyu persimmons). The Hachiyas, you have to let get very soft and gel like. You can use them. They make wonderful pudding. That's  one of Debbie's recipes. So there's a range of things depending on whether you prefer the crisp or the soft persimmon, but  you tend to spice them up.

Farmer Fred  30:42  

Right. The difference between the two: one is astringent one is non-astringent. The Hachiya being stringent. And like you point out it doesn't really sweeten up until it's totally soft. And you can always find the persimmon aficionado in your neighborhood, if you can spot their clothesline. If they have persimmons hanging from the clothesline, they're probably letting those Hachiyas get soft.

Kathy Morrison  31:02  

Probably. And you're also having to make sure you have baking powder around because that helps balance the acid  in the persimmons. Yeah, those jelly ones definitely have fans. I'm not a fan of the jelly ones, but I know Debbie grows them and she uses them a lot. 

Farmer Fred  31:19  

Yeah, and as you point out, the sweet persimmons, the non-astringent persimmon variety, certainly can be eaten fresh, almost like an apple or chopped up and put in a salad.

Kathy Morrison  31:29  

Oh, they're lovely in salads. I really liked that spinach salad with slices of that in it, maybe a little bit of green onion or some shallots or something, something to kind of give it some contrast. Oh boy, that is a good salad.

Farmer Fred  31:43  

Let's talk about the color of salads, because that can really be a nice presentation. On the front cover of your E-Cookbook for the fall season, there was this wonderfully colorful salad-like meal there. What's in that?

Kathy Morrison  31:59  

That has just about everything we could find at a farmers market. It's epic. We and our partners were on a trip to France last year and we decided to make a Provence salad. It's got  olives, it’s got  little boiled potatoes. It has blanched green beans. It has tomatoes. It has just regular lettuce greens. We did some hard boiled eggs. It was astonishing. It was a lovely meal. We ate every bit of it.

Farmer Fred  32:29  

I thought I saw snow peas in there.

Kathy Morrison  32:30  

Oh yeah, there were snow peas in it. Like I said, anything we could find that was in the market. And it was in a larger market town in Provence. We snapped up everything we could find and put in that salad. So it's great, but it's very versatile. That's the point of  making it. You can look around and put things that you may not expect in your salad and you just have a gorgeous presentation. 

Farmer Fred  32:53  

We should point out that that as I like to say, all gardening is local, but the Sacramento Digs Gardening newsletter has good gardening advice for just about anybody, because they cover a wide range of topics. Because they produce that newsletter every day of the year.

Kathy Morrison  33:07  

Yes, we do. We've worked out ways to hand it off to each other when we've been traveling, when somebody's had a family emergency, when all kinds of things happen. But we work very well together. And we're used to working remotely. We'll message each other if something has come up or I will set up a draft ahead of time, for all kinds of things. But our host, California Local,  hosts  our blog and has been for a little over a year now. And they're wonderful about solving problems quickly for us if we run into things.  I should knock on wood, going pretty smoothly now, and they're very helpful especially in putting together the cookbooks.

Farmer Fred  33:45  

Okay, here's a lesson for you: never knock on wood if that wood is on a tree, and you're standing under the tree, and it had rained about six hours earlier. It's wet. 

Kathy Morrison

It's all right. I'm already soaking wet for having to deal with some other things this morning. We had an irrigation problem  in the herb garden where I'm working here at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center. 

Farmer Fred

It's a work day and it's an open garden day here, a lot of people walking around asking questions and they do it on a regular basis. To find out more about the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, there's a link to it in today's show notes. And if you want to find out more about the Sacramento Digs Gardening newsletter, I guess the easiest way to get to it, would be to do an internet search of “Sacramento Digs Gardening”. 

Kathy Morrison  34:23  

Absolutely. Google it and it should come right up. You can also reach us through our Facebook page. And that'll take you right to the blog. And the Facebook page is enitled Sacramento Digs Gardening. Actually, if you just put in “Sacramento Digs”, it should come up.

Farmer Fred

It’s not about an excavator?

Kathy Morrison

No. No. Thanks, Fred. 

Farmer Fred  34:45  

Kathy Morrison, Master Gardener and author of the Sacramento Digs Gardening newsletter. Check out those fall recipes, or at least look at the pictures. They're gorgeous. Thank you, Kathy.

Kathy Morrison  34:55  

Thank you, Fred.


Farmer Fred  34:57

We had our first deluge of fall and winter rain in our area of California last weekend, an inch and a quarter of rain falling in about a three hour period. I realize, compared to many of you, that is just a drop in the bucket as far as rainstorms go. Still, for us water weenies here in sunny California, it sends the local into a panic. Still, this time of year, is a good time to think about the question, where does the water go when it falls from the sky and lands in your yard? Today’s recommendation for the answer to that is a Flashback newsletter/podcast episode from last January, entitled Drain that Rain!

Besides an interview with a landscape architect talking about strategies for keeping heavy rain from flooding your valuables, we have pictures and descriptions on how to do that, plus we talk about the garden pests that thrive in wet weather, and what you can do about them.

You can find it in the Beyond the Garden Basics newsletter and podcast, which is free. Plus, we will have a link to it in today’s show notes as well as at the Substack app.

If you are already a Beyond the Garden Basics newsletter subscriber, it’s probably drying off in your email, waiting for you right now. Or, you can start a subscription, it’s free, for now! Find the link in the show notes, at substack, or, you can sign up at the newsletter link at our homepage, gardenbasics dot net.


Farmer Fred

The Garden Basics With Farmer Fred podcast comes out once a week, on Fridays. Plus the newsletter podcast, that comes with the Beyond the Garden Basics newsletter, continues, also released on Fridays. Both are free and are brought to you by Smart Pots and Dave Wilson Nursery. The Garden Basics podcast is available wherever podcasts are handed out, and that includes our home page, Garden Basics dot net. , where you can also sign up for the Beyond the Garden Basics newsletter and podcast. That’s Garden Basics dot net. or use the links in today’s show notes.  And thank you so much for listening.