Garden Basics with Farmer Fred

Know Your Soil Products. Fruit Tree questions. Roses Don't Have Thorns (really!)

July 17, 2020 Fred Hoffman Season 1 Episode 29
Garden Basics with Farmer Fred
Know Your Soil Products. Fruit Tree questions. Roses Don't Have Thorns (really!)
Chapters
00:01:00
Know your soil products
00:13:33
Grow apricots from seed? When to Prune a Peach?
00:21:46
Roses don't have thorns (really!)
Garden Basics with Farmer Fred
Know Your Soil Products. Fruit Tree questions. Roses Don't Have Thorns (really!)
Jul 17, 2020 Season 1 Episode 29
Fred Hoffman

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 professor Debbie Flower insists, your roses do not have thorns. What?

We are sticklers for accuracy on this, episode 29 of Garden Basics with Farmer Fred. And we will do it all in under 30 minutes. Let’s go.

More episodes and info available at Garden Basics with Farmer Fredhttps://www.buzzsprout.com/1004629.

Garden Basics comes out every Tuesday and Friday. It's available wherever podcasts are found. Please subscribe and leave a comment or rating at Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

Got a garden question? Call and leave a question, or text us the question: 916-292-8964. E-mail: [email protected] 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.

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"
Instagram: farmerfredhoffman
Farmer Fred Garden Videos on YouTube

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

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 professor Debbie Flower insists, your roses do not have thorns. What?

We are sticklers for accuracy on this, episode 29 of Garden Basics with Farmer Fred. And we will do it all in under 30 minutes. Let’s go.

More episodes and info available at Garden Basics with Farmer Fredhttps://www.buzzsprout.com/1004629.

Garden Basics comes out every Tuesday and Friday. It's available wherever podcasts are found. Please subscribe and leave a comment or rating at Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

Got a garden question? Call and leave a question, or text us the question: 916-292-8964. E-mail: [email protected] 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.

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"
Instagram: farmerfredhoffman
Farmer Fred Garden Videos on YouTube

Farmer Fred :

Welcome to the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast. If you're just a beginning gardener or you want good gardening information well you've come to the right spot. Are you confused about that tall wall of soil products you see at the nursery garden soils, planting mixes potting soils, which one do you choose for your plants? Well, we're going to talk with a soil educator Joseph Shawn injure about the right soil amendments for your garden fruit tree questions about this time of year we'll be tackling your peach and apricot issues and college horticulture Professor Debbie Flower insists your roses do not have thorns. What were sticklers for accuracy on this episode 29 of Garden Basics with Farmer Fred and we'll do it all in under 30 minutes. Let's go. It's confusing for beginning gardeners when you go to the hardware store, the nursery, the big box store and you look at all the fertilizers, all the soil products, which ones do you choose? Which ones do you use? It can be a very overwhelming task. One company that's been around for decades that has produced soil products and fertilizers over the years is Kellogg garden products. And they have an organic garden instructor Giselle Shoeniger is with us. And Giselle, Kellogg garden products have been around for so long and people yet still confused them with the cereal company.

Giselle Schoniger :

They do. You are so right. Thank you for having me on your show today. So we always like to say you know the Kellogg's cereal company they use milk, and we use water. and they are distant cousins back to the 1700s but there's no company affiliation. We are we they are the cereal . We are the green company and family and we're the composting and fertilizer company.

Farmer Fred :

Exactly. you have soil products for just about any garden application and a complete line of plant fertilizers and over the years Kellogg has evolved and become almost if not truly strictly organic.

Giselle Schoniger :

Yes we have. so everything we do Kellogg has two brands. we have the Kellogg garden brand and that is sold at both channels of trade, the independent garden center and the Home Improvement center. And then gardner & Bloome or GMB organics. that is only available at the mom and pop, the independent garden center or nursery. So they're different. two brands, two different channels of trade, so that we can give the independent garden center their own brand.

Farmer Fred :

And we should point out that the reason in many states nurseries are open Throughout all this (Covid-19) is because they're an essential service because basically they're they're selling food.

Giselle Schoniger :

That's right We are helping people you know grow their own gardens. You know, seed, there's been a run on seed, soil, fertilizers, vegetables, fruit trees, anything gardening related and we have more new gardeners for the first time. And, you know, that's part of it. the new gardener feels overwhelmed when they walk into the store, like you were saying earlier, you know, there's a wall of soil, there's a wall of fertilizer, often you can't maybe you can't even find somebody to help you in some cases because many of these accounts these stores are understaffed, no fault of their own, it just is our new reality. So starting with the basics, if somebody wants to do a garden, do a small garden, maybe do a raised bed, a small raised bed, start with tough plants. You don't need three to five Tomatoes, do one or two, do something that you know is hardy that you know is disease resistant. And, and start small so that you can actually develop your intuition. buy the products, the best products that you can afford to buy. Because that is whatever you start with, that's the basis for your success. So soil is everything. Fertility is everything, watering properly, being intimate with your garden, walking your garden, let the garden tell you what it needs because once you develop the intuition, you will notice if a leaf is starting to look pale, or mottled or sunburn, there's there's something that needs to be addressed. And if you address it right away, you can typically solve that problem very quickly.

Farmer Fred :

One of the questions I get the most and you are the perfect person to explain this. When People are staring at those walls of soil amendments they may see at the big box store or independent nursery, They'll see products labeled "planting mix" or "potting mix" or "garden soil". What is the difference?

Giselle Schoniger :

That is a great question. Okay. A potting mix or a potting soil means we can direct plant into it, it's ready to go or into a container because when you have a container, that container mix has to be precise. If you have too much, let's say too much chicken manure in it, those roots can get burned because it has to be just right for in a container. One of the primary differences between a potting soil and a potting mix versus a garden soil and a planting mix is the perlite or the pumice. That is for aeration and for drainage for in a container. A garden soil A lot of people want to plant directly into a garden soil and that is the wrong application. A garden soil is for in ground planting of flowers, vegetables and herbs and you use it 50-50 in your native soil. And a planting mix would be used in a similar fashion in ground 50-50 for trees, shrubs and roses. And then a raised bed potting mix would be something that you would that you can plant directly into. Like we were talking earlier, you were saying that some of your raised beds now after three, four or five years now they're producing the best. It takes time to get the motor running in your raised bed and so the more that you can add before you plant, the better off you'll be when you actually do plant that raised bed.

Farmer Fred :

Exactly. one of the worst things you can do for your raised beds is add nothing. and especially during the offseason, if you're only growing food during the spring and summer and early fall, and then you're not doing a winter crop. Don't let that soil lay bare. Top it with something. It could be a commercial mulch. It could be ground up oak leaves that you put on top. It could be a cover crop, but cover your soil with something.

Giselle Schoniger :

Absolutely, absolutely even digging your veggies into it.

Farmer Fred :

Yeah, one of the things that I am very happy about that has changed over the years I've been doing these type of garden shows for nearly 30 years now. And it used to be people would ask, what can I BUY to solve such and such. Now more and more people are saying, What can I DO to solve such and such because it's all a matter of vigor. if you have a vigorously growing plant It's going to be able to repel disease and insect problems much better.

Giselle Schoniger :

Absolutely. And part of that is how we feed right? Is we use an organic and an organic is completely it's not, you know, people think of the word, you know, organic and, and they have all these different connotations about it, it's, it's about working with Mother Nature, okay? It's about all organic fertility is about seeding the living fraction of the soil, all the life in the soil, those organisms feed on it, break it down, and then they meter it up to the plant, whereas the synthetic is designed to feed the plant at the expense of the life in the soil. And it also force feeds a plant when you push a plant to grow with a synthetic. The initial thought is well my plants bigger it's, it seems like it's healthier, but the cell structure and that leaf and that flower In the stem is much thinner, making it easier for insects to attack that plant or or fungal problems or disease pressures to attack a plant that is forced fed. When it is synthetically grown. The organic is the way to go because it's working with Mother Nature and you have a thicker cell structure, minimizing insect and disease attack. So a lot of it does come down to the basics. So when you start with the right product and you grow a plant with the least inputs, but the most beneficial inputs here plants are going to grow healthier.

Farmer Fred :

Kellogg has a product it's called gro-mulch. What makes that such a superior mulch?

Giselle Schoniger :

So gro-mulch is a two in one. I love the name. It's been around for 95 years. And if you look at the first part of the name, grow means it's a planting mix. You can use this for trees shrubs, roses and ground covers in the ground 50-50. but it's also a mulch, and when you lay it on top of the soil, it minimises weeds, maintains moisture at the root zone, which is really one of the primary reasons that we do it. And what it's made from is recycled Forest Products aged our refined composted dairy manure, composted poultry manure, and then we use also a dehydrated poultry or chicken manure and then feather meal, covering it with one of our products for gardner and bloome is our soil building conditioner. That's a great one to just lay on top of the soil. And you could use gro-mulch on top of the soil if you wanted to as well on a raised bed. It's a little coarser product. But you have many options for that. You know, I'm very intimate with my garden. I know when I see an issue I get on it right away and that skill takes time to develop. So we just want to encourage people to continue learning you know, our website, kellogggarden.com. There's three G's in the middle Kellogg has to garden has one. We have great articles. We have this thing called the organic garden nation. And you have to sign up for it. But nobody talks product. It's not a Kellogg commercial or anything, not at all. It's gardeners from across the country. And I mean, you will see some of the most beautiful gardens you've ever seen. And people share what works for them. What doesn't. It's remarkable what that has done to educate, you know, people of all ages. And so our website, I'm very proud of our marketing department and the group of people that are who are supporting us in that venue. So if people haven't checked it out yet, please do and we're a national brand. Now. I think you know that. On the Kellogg side, we are announcing Brands so people can find our products all across the country.

Farmer Fred :

I think you've said this before, and I'll even say it again, it's all about the soil.

Giselle Schoniger :

It truly is. It is all about the soil. I and I, I feel so honored to. This is a very humble industry to be able to teach people about soil, it will teach you so much about your own body. Because you know, we're a garden. And I think we're now learning that we need to take take better care of our own garden, which is ourselves. How do we feed ourselves? How do we hydrate ourselves? How do we care for ourselves? I think we're all we've kind of all slowed down in a way that maybe none of us would have ever thought could happen to us. And I think keeping ourselves healthy right now is so important. The garden is one of the best teachers other than our parents and our family.

Farmer Fred :

the healthiest food you can eat is the food you grow yourself.

Giselle Schoniger :

Absolutely, absolutely

Farmer Fred :

Giselle Schoniger, is the organic gardening educator for Kellogg garden products. to find out more you can visit their website Kellogggarden.com Kellogg has two G's garden has one g Kellogg garden comm for more information about their product lines of soils, soil amendments, fertilizers, and much more. Giselle, thanks for a few minutes of your time.

Giselle Schoniger :

Thank you so much. I'm delighted. have a wonderful day Fred.

Farmer Fred :

Here on the garden basics podcast, we like to answer your garden questions and we have a couple of fruit tree questions that have come in to the get growing with farmer Fred Facebook page. Gloria writes in and says "I have an apricot tree. seedlings are falling. They're growing in the ground all around. Should I replant them? There's about 20, they're all about five inches tall. I don't know what to do." Phil Purcel's with us from Dave Wilson nursery, a wholesale grower of fruit and nut trees available throughout the country. So, regarding apricots and seedlings: what is Gloria going to end up with there?

Phil Pursel :

Well, she's gonna end up with a brand new variety of apricot. Basically, she's kind of doing her own hybridizing without even knowing about it. That's what these new seedlings are right there just not offsprings of the fruit itself. So we don't know what that apricot was possibly cross pollinated with anything else. And that's kind of how you know it's trial and experimentation. That's how we come up with new varieties. That's not to say that those those seedlings will go ahead and make a nice sturdy tree. That's a whole other subject but I mean, she wants to try and, you know, maybe see if she can come up with a new variety apricot, that's a way of doing it. I probably wouldn't spend too much time on the process.

Farmer Fred :

So basically, dig them up, pot them up and give them to your friends. label them "Mystery apricot".

Phil Pursel :

Sure.And then like I say, since those trees have not been grafted we don't know if that apricot it's going to be a nice sturdy tree in the ground. But it's it's something that you know, it's might be kind of fun to try out and then might not produce any fruit at all. It's you know, it's farming.

Farmer Fred :

Well let's define for people exactly what grafting is because I bet many people don't realize that a lot of fruit trees are hybrid varieties that consists of basically two different fruit trees. There's a rootstock. And then there's the scion, the bud wood that was grafted to it.

Phil Pursel :

Yeah. So you know, when people will go take a look at fruit trees, they'll notice that maybe about three or four inches above the soil line. There'll be like a little knot. And then, you know, off to the side, it looks like you know, a branch is growing. well that's where we grafted our fruit trees. And what we do is we select specific trees, and they have to be in the same family. So for peaches, we select specific features that the fruit might be horrible, but it might make a good anchor for the tree or might be, you know, resistant to certain type of insects. So we use that as what we call the under stock or rootstock. And then we graft the variety that is a good tasting variety onto that root stock. So that's how fruit trees are, are produced, you know, at our nursery, I would say 95% of our trees are grafted.

Farmer Fred :

All right, what about that other 5%. Is there an apricot tree that will produce true from seed?

Phil Pursel :

We don't have anything in our mix. Most of our what we call cutting grown, or on their own roots would be kind of like figs and pomegranates and people have experimented at home and taking cuttings and and you've planted And next thing you know, they have, you know, a black mission fig. That's kind of how we do it at the nursery, but for most of your stone fruit and pome trees, apples and pears, they really need to have a good anchor. And that's why we use specific root stocks to graft on to those.

Farmer Fred :

because soil conditions are different throughout the country. moisture conditions are different and so the rootstock has been chosen to better able to live in that particular soil.

Phil Pursel :

Absolutely. That's the whole idea of rootstocks

Farmer Fred :

Patty writes in on the get growing with farmer Fred Facebook page and asks, "When can I prune my dwarf peach tree. dwarf, by the way, is in quotation marks. We have harvested a good crop of Babcock's". and Phil, I think maybe Patty's being a little sarcastic here by putting dwarf in quotation marks like maybe the tree is no longer dwarf. Because when it comes to Babcock peaches, I don't recall a dwarf Babcock. Is there such a thing?

Phil Pursel :

There is and there isn't. So there is a little you know misunderstanding between dwarfs and standards. Now there is a semi dwarf Babcock fruit tree and generally that's put on citation rootstock that's the semi dwarfing rootstock we use. For true dwarf, there are only what's known as miniatures or genetic dwarfs that are just inherently small growing, some retailers will like to promote what's they call an ultra Dwarf. And believe it or not, it's actually like a peach tree that is grafted onto the standard rootstock, but when it's early in its growing stage at the nursery, they pinch it down low. So the branching comes down low and it looks like a dwarf fruit tree but that will become a standard fruit tree. To kind of answer your question on when's a good time to have You know, prune that, that Babcock tree, we always recommend summer pruning. And by pruning in the summertime, you're gonna keep that tree nice and low. So you're able to pick almost like a fruit bush. So you want you know, you want to be able to pick your fruit, best time to plant is when that tree is actively growing. That way you know, it can keep to the heights where you want it and you're able to go ahead and produce new fruitwood down below as opposed to letting it grow too tall and next you know, it's just birds and squirrels getting the fruit.

Farmer Fred :

So the general rule of thumb is let the tree grow until it's taller than you and then start snipping everything that's just out of your reach. Put your pruning shears up above your head and cut off the branches. Where your your arm ends.

Phil Pursel :

Yeah, absolutely. In fact, you know, my my house. It's most of my plums, you know half of them have already fruited. So that's why I'm going to do this upcoming weekend. I know it's the middle of July, but it's a perfect time to go ahead and prune those trees so that they'll be able to callus over before the wintertime happens, but now you're keeping control of the the height of the tree. And honestly, you're saving yourself a lot of pruning time in the winter.

Farmer Fred :

Well, that brings up the question then for a lot of people that may have a peach tree or another fruit tree that's out of control that is 20 feet tall. Should they be pruning that in the summertime?

Phil Pursel :

Well, something like that is gonna be... a tree that big, If you do cut it and cut it back in thirds. You tend to open it up to too much sun and sunburn. On cases like that. You might want to try to bring the size down in the winter. And then, you know, kind of work its way down. It sounds odd but that's what you would do. you prune it too hard. A mature big tree like In the summertime, like I say you could do a lot of sunburn inside.

Farmer Fred :

Alright, so save it for the dormant season

Phil Pursel :

to the dormant season. Yeah.

Farmer Fred :

But again, as you point out, you want to do it in thirds. So you'd be removing one third of those out of reach branches per season.

Phil Pursel :

Correct, if you do it all at one time, you're taking away all the leaves which photosynthesize and, you know, produce a healthy tree. So you don't want to do that.

Farmer Fred :

Phil Purcel is with Dave Wilson nursery, you can find out more information about all their fruit trees and nut trees at Davewilson.com. Phil, thanks for a few minutes of your time here.

Phil Pursel :

Yeah, no problem.

Farmer Fred :

You want to make some money with your friends. Take them out to the backyard and show them your rose bushes and say to them, you know, I'll bet you five bucks or maybe something more valuable. I'll bet you a bottle of hand sanitizer that my roses don't Have thorns and that person is going to look at you and say, What do you mean? I'm staring at the thorns on the roses. Now Debbie Flower is here, Debbie Flower, retired horticultural teacher have been gardening in many places across the United States. Who wins that bet?

Debbie Flower :

The guy who took his friend in the backyard and place the bet is correct that roses do not have thorns.

Farmer Fred :

Okay, then what are they?

Debbie Flower :

Right What are they roses do have a pointed growth on them, and as do many other plants, and many people will call all of those pointy things thorns, but technically there are different pointy things on the plant. The pointy things are for protection as you might expect. They can protect their plant from us getting close to them, but they are different types of of pointy things and on a rose it's called a prickle a prickle occurs on the outside layer of cells, the green part or the non woody part of a plant. So it can happen anywhere it can be anywhere that's green, anywhere on the stem anywhere on the, the sepals which are was like cover the flower when it's in bud on the leaves of a plant. Prickles can occur wherever there's a green part, the green part is covered with what's called epidermal cells and epidermal cells cover the entire outside of that green soft part of the plant. We humans have epidermal cells, that's our skin. So if you think about all the green parts of a plant being coated with a skin, that skin, every cell of that skin can make a prickle.

Farmer Fred :

So basically then a prickle is a plant zit.

Debbie Flower :

right? Yes, it is. They're easy to take off.

Farmer Fred :

You just pop it, right?

Debbie Flower :

Well, one of the places I taught school also had when I was headed the department actually also had a floral design program and that was actually a topic of conversation. How to get the prickles off of the roses that were used in the flower arrangements. There are tools you can buy for it, but the easiest way is to take a towel of the stem with one hand and put a towel around the stem and slide it down the stem of the rose stem with the other hand and all the prickles come off. They're very easy to remove.

Farmer Fred :

Now as a child I recall picking off the bigger prickles off the rose bushes fairly easily with my bare hand and then licking the back of it, sticking it on the end of my nose and running around like a rhinoceros.

Debbie Flower :

I love it. What a picture that brings to mind.

Farmer Fred :

Okay, so roses have Prickles, who has who has thorns and what is a thorn?

Debbie Flower :

Well, there So what I want to talk about in between, they're alphabetical in my head. mnemonic,s remember. All right, so prickles first and that's, that's on the youngest tissue, the green tissue. spines are second, and spines are modified leaves. So they occur where a leaf occurs, they have the same plumbing that the leaf has in them. And the thing that we, the plant we know what are most familiar with that has spines is cactus. And if you look closely at a cactus all the spines are occurring around in a circle, and they often overlap when and that has a function. When the cactus is in need of water is very dry. The stem to which these spines are attached, the stem shrinks and the spines get closer to each other and they shade the sun more. When there's lots of water available, the stems plumps up and these spines move apart and more sun can get to the stem and the stem and a cactus is where is the green part. And that's where the food is made. So it besides having a defense role for the plant, it actually helps to shade the plant when the plant needs shade. cactuses have spines. The edges have sharp some leaves that are sharp like holly leaves. Those are spines. Barberry has spines there there are many plants that have spine.

Farmer Fred :

Do spines also aid in photosynthesis?

Debbie Flower :

I don't believe so. That's a good question. And I don't have a definitive answer for it. But I'm thinking about all the spines I know of even when they're on the tip of a leaf if you hold that leaf up to the sun, you can typically see light through it. So I don't believe they contain chlorophyll which is the molecule needed to make plant food. but I don't know that for sure.

Farmer Fred :

Okay, but seeing how a spine is a modified leaf you think it might have a function of a leaf and one of the big functions of a leaf isConverting sunlight into energy for the plant.

Debbie Flower :

Right, right. Typically though, when this plant has lots of spines like a cactus, another part of the plant takes over the food making ability. And in the case of the cactus, it's the stem that is doing that.

Farmer Fred :

Okay, so we've done prickles, we've done spines, all I know about whatever. Go ahead, go ahead.

Debbie Flower :

Okay, I'll go up in the alphabet to thorns.,

Farmer Fred :

Yeah, I was gonna say Where did the clue would be it has to be below s in the, in the alphabet. Right. And it's thorns. So thorns then are what?

Debbie Flower :

thorns are modified branches. Mm hmm. Sometimes they actually have leaves on them. And then they'll the tip of that branch is sharp. Sometimes they don't like on a citrus plant. The thorns. The defense part. The pointy part is a thorn and it's often very green. So it can have the ability to do photosynthesis or it can have leaves on it itself. It can be woody can become woody just like a branch can Become woody can have bark on it, but they are modified branches. Citrus have them, pyracantha have them flowering Quince are armed with thorns as well. So three different types of structures all there to keep us animals away from from those plants to harvest if we dare get near the plant but have that they have different names and yes roses have prickles

Farmer Fred :

alright so i will sum this up then. thorns are modified stems. spines are modified leaves. and prickles are plant zits.

Debbie Flower :

okay I'll take I want a three page paper on this tomorrow.

Farmer Fred :

there you go the difference between thorns, spine,s and prickles now you people can go in your yard and make some real money now. Gambling on gardening. Right. Debbie Flower Always a pleasure.

Debbie Flower :

Thanks for a few minutes of your time. Oh yes, it always is a pleasure. Thank you Fred.

Farmer Fred :

Garden Basics with Farmer Fred comes out every tuesday and friday and it's available just about anywhere podcasts are handed out and that includes Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, I Heart Radio, overcast, Spotify, stitcher, tune in, and hey, Alexa, play the Garden Basics with farmer Fred podcast. Would you please? Thank you for listening, subscribing and leaving comments. We appreciate it.

Know your soil products
Grow apricots from seed? When to Prune a Peach?
Roses don't have thorns (really!)