Garden Basics with Farmer Fred

Too Many Tomatoes? Here's What to Do.

July 28, 2020 Fred Hoffman Season 1 Episode 32
Garden Basics with Farmer Fred
Too Many Tomatoes? Here's What to Do.
Chapters
00:01:14
AmpleHarvest.org
00:16:25
Roasted Tomato Recipe
00:24:30
Raised Bed Specs
00:27:20
Let It Flower! With Debbie Flower
Garden Basics with Farmer Fred
Too Many Tomatoes? Here's What to Do.
Jul 28, 2020 Season 1 Episode 32
Fred Hoffman

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 Valentine. Still, my wife is the one who has to do something with all those tomatoes. So, after spending the better part of a Sunday in a hot kitchen roasting tomatoes, I can understand her point of view.

Are you suffering from tomato burnout? Zucchini overload? A cornucopia of cucumbers? If so, you are not alone. If you’re a long time listener to the Garden Basics podcast, you might be asking yourself as your lugging in another bucket full of backyard produce…"didn’t I hear an episode about food banks and food pantries that gladly welcome excess garden produce?"
Here then, for you, and for many many others in the weeks to come, an expanded encore edition of our interview with Gary Oppenheimer, the founder of AmpleHarvest.org. For everyone else who will be consuming their own tomato harvests, here's a link to that nifty garden wagon pictured on today's podcast...perfect for hauling tomatoes to the kitchen.

Maybe afterwards I can get my wife to share her roasted tomato recipe on the air with us. And after listening to it, you just might be in the market for a convection oven. And a water bath canner.
More information about safe water bath canning.
In today's Q&A segment, a listener is wondering about the dimensions and materials of the raised beds pictured on the Garden Basics title page. Wonder no more...
Debbie Flower talks about what to do when your cool season vegetables begin to bolt when the weather gets too warm. You could enjoy the beneficial insects that visit those flowers of the bolted crops; or, serve up those flowers in meals! Here's a link to safe plants to munch on.

More episodes and info including live links, product information, transcripts, and chapters available a the home site for Garden Basics with Farmer Fred  https://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

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 Valentine. Still, my wife is the one who has to do something with all those tomatoes. So, after spending the better part of a Sunday in a hot kitchen roasting tomatoes, I can understand her point of view.

Are you suffering from tomato burnout? Zucchini overload? A cornucopia of cucumbers? If so, you are not alone. If you’re a long time listener to the Garden Basics podcast, you might be asking yourself as your lugging in another bucket full of backyard produce…"didn’t I hear an episode about food banks and food pantries that gladly welcome excess garden produce?"
Here then, for you, and for many many others in the weeks to come, an expanded encore edition of our interview with Gary Oppenheimer, the founder of AmpleHarvest.org. For everyone else who will be consuming their own tomato harvests, here's a link to that nifty garden wagon pictured on today's podcast...perfect for hauling tomatoes to the kitchen.

Maybe afterwards I can get my wife to share her roasted tomato recipe on the air with us. And after listening to it, you just might be in the market for a convection oven. And a water bath canner.
More information about safe water bath canning.
In today's Q&A segment, a listener is wondering about the dimensions and materials of the raised beds pictured on the Garden Basics title page. Wonder no more...
Debbie Flower talks about what to do when your cool season vegetables begin to bolt when the weather gets too warm. You could enjoy the beneficial insects that visit those flowers of the bolted crops; or, serve up those flowers in meals! Here's a link to safe plants to munch on.

More episodes and info including live links, product information, transcripts, and chapters available a the home site for Garden Basics with Farmer Fred  https://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. Those of you who are familiar with my garden radio shows here in Northern California, which I've been doing since 1982. might be wondering, well, what's the reason for this podcast? Well, even though I'm fond of saying all gardening is local Garden Basics with Farmer Fred will be reaching out to gardeners wherever they may happen to be. With garden tips and growing advice that apply just about anywhere, will strive to explain garden jargon and terms anyone can understand. And we'll be talking to garden experts from throughout the world who will share their vast plant and soil knowledge with us. And we'll be answering your gardening questions. Think of us as your one room schoolhouse. You're growing your backyard garden of fruits, vegetables, and oh yeah flowers that attract the garden good guys, beneficial insects and pollinators. And we'll have some fun too. Let's get started. 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 will sternly approach me and say, "next year don't plant so many cherry tomato plants." Now, in my defense, there were only five cherry or grape size tomato plants in the ground: sun gold, sweet million, gardeners delight, Juliet and Valentine. Oh, maybe a few big size tomatoes, what seven or 10 other plants. But who's counting? Still, My wife is the one who has to do something with all those tomatoes. So, after spending the better part of a Sunday in a hot kitchen roasting tomatoes I can understand her point of view. Maybe you, too, are suffering from tomato burnout. Maybe there's zucchini overload in your household. Maybe it's a cornucopia of cucumbers. you are not alone. If you're a longtime listener to the garden basics podcast, you might be asking yourself about now as you're lugging in another bucket full of backyard produce, "did I not hear an episode about food banks and food pantries that gladly welcome excess garden produce?" Yes, you did. Here then, for you and for many, many others right now who want to know, here's an expanded encore edition of our interview with Gary Oppenheimer, the founder of ampleharvest.org. And maybe afterwards I can get my wife to share her roasted tomato recipe on the air with us. Every day in every corner of the United States, children and adults are worrying about finding enough food to put on the dinner table while thousands Tons of pounds of food are being thrown away from backyard gardens from small farms. Millions of Americans are unable to get enough fresh food to maintain proper health. The United States has a malnourished population that needs more than processed foods in order to thrive. So many incredible food banks, pantries and other hunger organizations are working tirelessly to alleviate hunger in our communities, but they consistently lack in donations of fresh produce. Luckily, you can help by making regular donations of unused fresh produce to your local food pantry, you can be a part of the solution to increase the health of people in your neighborhood. And you can donate food that you grow or food that you buy. It's easy. The trick is finding the food pantry nearest you. And you can do that through an incredible site called ample harvest.org. We're talking with Gary Oppenheimer. He's with ample harvest.org he's The founder It's a unique nationwide resource that is eliminating the waste of food, the outcome being a reduction in hunger and malnutrition. Along with an improved environment. There's something like 42 million Americans who grow food in home gardens, community gardens, and their small farmers as well, who could easily donate their excess harvest to one of over 8600 registered local food pantries spread across all 50 states. And Gary, I want to tell you first of all about my experience with your website, Ampleharvest.org. There is a page there where you can go and find the food pantry nearest to you and I set a search of 15 mile radius around my house and up popped. I'm counting 14 food pantries I never knew existed, including one that is within walking distance. And it's amazing how easy it could be for people who have an excess of tomatoes or squash or pepper burgers or melons or fruit, where to take it to and how convenient that is? What was your inspiration? Gary for starting Ampleharvest.org?

Gary Oppenheimer :

That's a great question actually. Either two things or two pieces of inspiration. one was I grew up with don't waste food. My grandparents always told me you know, finish what's on your plate. Kids are starving in Europe. So not wasting food was always inculcated into me. But as an adult and a master gardener, I was growing more food than I can use. And I couldn't. I didn't want to go to waste. My wife said, You can't bring in any more of this stuff in the house. And I struggled to find a place to donate the food to. Turns out I found a battered women's shelter in my town. I'm in northern New Jersey. But when I had gone on Google to find out where their food pantries Google said the nearest one was 25 miles away in another city. And I had an epiphany in March of oh nine and I realized, wait a minute. This is an information problem. This is not a food problem. People aren't hungry. Because America doesn't have enough food we actually throw away half the produce never gets consumed. The problem gardeners across America have always had was Mis- and missing information. The misinformation was what we were all told that food drive that you can only donate jars or cans or boxes but no fresh food we gardeners took away from that you can't donate the extra tomatoes. The missing information was where is a food pantry and what's a good day of the week and time of day to donate it. When I realized that this was the information problem. I realized the solution was a web based internet based program that would both educate gardeners about their capacity that they can indeed donate food and to where to donate it near them. And the optimum day of the week and time of day that timing is super important because if you if a food pantry for argument's sake was distributing food to hungry families on Sunday afternoon The ideal time for you to bring it in the Sunday morning, which means the ideal time for you to harvest is your Sunday morning or Saturday night. So the food would go from your garden, to the food pantry to a hungry family in hours. Number one, the food pantry didn't have to buy refrigeration and number two, the hungry family was getting food fresher than you and I combined a supermarket it's truly garden fresh food. And the whole thing came together for me in a one hour session on my computer. And seven weeks later, with the help of two volunteers may 2009 ample harvests still rolled rolled out and it's been growing and reach and impact ever since.

Farmer Fred :

We're gonna be using a couple of terms here that people may get confused. I find it confusing as well. Maybe you can explain it we will be talking about food banks and food pantries. What is the difference?

Gary Oppenheimer :

Oh, this is a fun question. All right. For most of America for all of America, a food bank is a large industrial warehouse type operation, around 200 of them in America. They're part of the Feeding America network. These are large warehouses real large amounts of food come in and large amounts of food are then redistributed out to the local programs where hungry families go. Those local programs and where hungry families go there around 33,500 across America are usually called a food pantry and in some states a food cupboard or food shelf or food closet. The exception, as far as I know, was Oregon and Washington where those local programs are also called food banks. And you said a little bit ago that I think in Sacramento they're also sometimes called food banks. So in the vernacular and the common language of food banks, we were where hungry family gets food but in the real system, the distinction and the reason I had to create ample harvest.org was because when the food went from food drive to a food bank, To a food pantry it took too long. But when it went from a food drive or my garden for that matter to a food pantry could happen in 15 minutes. So, this was an architectural discussion. This is this is great for linguistic nerds. But if people want to use the word Food Bank, that's perfectly fine, but I'll use the word food pantry just to be more correct.

Farmer Fred :

Ampleharvest.org is geared to a wide range of gardeners. You've got home gardeners, new gardeners, farmers and food producers, master gardeners and school gardens. And boy, I'm thinking about food waste and all of a sudden, wow, school gardens. I wonder what they're doing with all that excess food that they're growing in their little school, especially when it may be happening in the summertime and there isn't anybody there to harvest it.

Gary Oppenheimer :

school gardens. You're absolutely right. It's also camp Gardens by the way, but a school garden you've planted the stuff and then the kids are gone for the summer and who's harvesting for the camp. They can't pay garden and come the end of August or September when kids go back to school who's harvesting. So they have the opportunity to also donate the food. By the way, as do other places that don't think of themselves as gardens, you might have a golf course that has citrus fruits raining down, you might have a public park, for example. So there's lots and lots of opportunity for food to be donated from different places. The work we're doing is to enable as much wholesome, healthy, fresh, locally grown food to get to food pantries as possible, because that not only reduces hunger across America, but it also improves the nation's health and well being. The healthier your diet obviously, the healthier you are. I'll just give you one number which blew me away when I learned about it. Cisco Systems the internet company did an analysis of Ample harvest org years ago, and it's online at Ample harvest org slash study. If you want to see it. and Their analysis was if every gardener in America knew that he or she could donate food. So there's our food. And if every food pantry in America that was on Ample Harvest dot org was able to receive the food, the nation's health care costs would drop $58 billion a year.

Farmer Fred :

I always believe that the word pharmacy should be spelled FARMACY. Because healthy, homegrown or fresh farm food is one of the best ways to get your health back.

Gary Oppenheimer :

Absolutely. And when you think about two of the leading causes of ill health in America are obesity and diabetes, which are both costly in terms of your own well being and cost in terms of just the medical care involved. Those are both diet impacted diseases you improve the diet, you reduce those diseases you have a healthier and thank you by extension a wealthier nation.

Farmer Fred :

One of the categories you have that you're appealing to is called New gardeners. But there's a subset of that that we were talking about before the interview called the accidental gardener, and they can also participate with Ampleharvest.org.

Gary Oppenheimer :

Yeah, I wrote a blog article about that earlier this year, the accidental gardener and people ask, well, what's an accidental gardener? Either you're a gardener or you're not. And I had realized that if you buy a house, and the house came with a fruit tree that somebody previously planted apples, oranges, what have you, you may not think of yourself as a gardener if you don't get your fingers dirty and garden but the reality is that every year the tree is raining down on you all this wonderful food, the apples and the oranges or what have you. And so I describe that person as the accidental gardener. That person too has the opportunity to donate the food. I was named CNN Hero in April 2010. The day I was named cnn here, I received An email from somebody in the southwest who said that before the prior year before it heard of Ample harvest org he had thrown away 855 gallon drums of citrus fruit because he didn't know he could donate it. This is a huge opportunity for the country, and realities. We haven't even started tackling that yet. So the $58 billion number was based on the gardener's who know the garden, not the accidental gardener. So these numbers are gonna be subject to change. And I also want to give you as a one other number subject to change. You started this with thing there 42 million gardeners in America. That's pre COVID. The data we're now seeing from partners in the industry speaks to 58 million people and it may well be growing higher as millions more people start their own gardens, and I strongly believe that when we get past COVID-19 most of the people who started gardening are going to continue to garden. That means more people gardening, and more healthy, fresh food for hungry families on a permanent basis, look at one of the things really important when you grow a garden and have my own garden, you're growing it for your own enjoyment. And for your own family, you should be enjoying that food first. The food however that you grow, that's in excess of what you can use, or preserve or share with friends should never be going to waste. That's the food that should be donated to a local food pantry. And that's whether you're a backyard gardener or maybe you got herbs going in a kitchen window or in a community garden, it doesn't really make any difference. And by the way, also, the amount of surplus is not terribly important either. Don't feel bad if I only got five tomatoes to donate, donate your five tomatoes. It'll be commingled with all the other people with five tomatoes and 500 pounds of tomatoes. at the table. The important thing is that the food is eaten by somebody and nourishes somebody in the community. It's good for the community. Frankly, it's good for the planet because food waste is a contributing factor to climate change. And it's a wonderful way of people helping their neighbors in need by reaching into their backyards when they can't afford to reach into the back pocket. Today we are at work as you would said in 50 states in about 4200 communities. And today we're approaching 9000 food pantries, which is about a quarter of America's food pantries, which is great. That means we have three quarters of America's food pantries yet reach, engage and work with and work with those surrounding gardeners. So we have a lot of work ahead of us. Your dollars certainly get us a long way toward succeeding on that.

Farmer Fred :

If you've got excess food, you know where to go: Ampleharvest.org will aim you to the food pantry nearest you. Gary Oppenheimer is the founder of Ampleharvest.org. Gary, thanks for a few minutes of your time.

Gary Oppenheimer :

It's my pleasure. Thank you very much, everybody. Please stay safe. And we'll leave you with one final note. In these COVID times, we have guidance on the site for the gardener on how to be great COVID safe when they're both growing the food themselves and making the donation of food. So when you come to Ampleharvest dot org or take a moment, read the couple of bullet points on there that'll keep you, the food, and the food pantry staff safe so that the good you're doing really is good and nobody gets sick. So thank you very, very much.

Farmer Fred :

roasted tomatoes add so much more tomato flavor to any recipe you prepare that calls for tomatoes, you can put it in pasta sauce, whole tomatoes or diced tomatoes. It's an easy way to preserve the harvest For you throughout the year, either canned or frozen. Now to preserve the most flavor, you need to roast them at a low temperature for a long period of time. Now, my wife, Jeanne, is here and we have a convection oven our convection oven gets down to a pretty low temperature doesn't it?

Jeanne Hoffman :

It gets down to about 300 degrees

Farmer Fred :

and that's where you want to roast tomatoes for a rather long period of time. All right now you hauled all the tomatoes up to the kitchen, you literally had the buckets full of tomatoes. And what's nice, I mean, what made it a little bit easier for you is the fact that we were using cherry tomatoes. And they didn't have to be peeled,

Jeanne Hoffman :

Correct. I wouldn't use cherry tomatoes if I had to peel them.

Farmer Fred :

Okay, well yeah, you wouldn't. But even with a larger tomatoes, you don't have to peel them either. Do you when you roast tomatoes?

Jeanne Hoffman :

Correct. It's wonderful.

Farmer Fred :

All right, and you're doing this on cookie sheets. Is that right?

Jeanne Hoffman :

Yes.

Farmer Fred :

And you put down parchment paper on it?

Jeanne Hoffman :

Yes.

Farmer Fred :

All right. Now how thick Do you slice the tomatoes? With cherry tomatoes I guess you'd only what cut them in half.

Jeanne Hoffman :

You try to cut the cherry tomatoes in half and your other larger tomatoes about a quarter and a quarter of an inch thick, approximately.

Farmer Fred :

And any sort of special preparation when you lay them out on The cookie sheet?

Jeanne Hoffman :

I just try to get as many as I can on one sheet to minimize how long I have to cook items.

Farmer Fred :

Are they in a single layer?

Jeanne Hoffman :

Yes.

Farmer Fred :

Okay. And then do you do any preparation as far as anything else you add to that?

Jeanne Hoffman :

if we have fresh basil in the garden, I will go collect some of that, chop it up and add it to the mix. And if you have your favorite herbs, you can certainly add it to the mix.

Farmer Fred :

Do you use any olive oil?

Jeanne Hoffman :

Well, olive oil goes on at the end and you drizzle that on and...

Farmer Fred :

at the end of the cooking process?

Jeanne Hoffman :

no at the beginning. Before you start cooking.

Farmer Fred :

Alright, so as before you stick it in the oven, you put at least olive oil on it, and then what other whatever herbs you would like.

Jeanne Hoffman :

correct.

Farmer Fred :

All right. How long do you cook that tray of tomatoes?

Jeanne Hoffman :

I have discovered with our convection oven with cherry tomatoes. It's about 45 minutes before I switch trays. The other on the larger tomatoes it's about an hour before I switch trays.

Farmer Fred :

what do you mean by switching trays?

Jeanne Hoffman :

So when I switch trays, we have two trays in our oven. And at the halfway mark I moved the top sheet down to the bottom rack and the bottom sheet up to the top rack and then cook for another hour for the larger tomatoes or 45 minutes at the smaller tomatoes.

Farmer Fred :

So it's 45 and 45, or 90 and 90 minutes if there's a larger tomatoes,

Jeanne Hoffman :

the larger tomatoes normally be an hour when I'm doing the second round. I always cut the time a little lower and give it a check. If I have to go 10 more minutes I can but I don't want to burn them.

Farmer Fred :

Okay, so total time in the oven then for those two trays is what an hour and a half to two hours.

Jeanne Hoffman :

Yes.

Farmer Fred :

Okay. Now what is what are the tomatoes look like when they're done?

Jeanne Hoffman :

They've shrunk up a wee bit. They still have a little bit of moisture there. Not dried. Yeah, they're kind of wet. They're they're still wet.

Farmer Fred :

And the whole house the whole house smells like tomatoes. Yes.

Jeanne Hoffman :

It's not a bad smell.

Farmer Fred :

Okay. Now what do you do with them? That's the beauty of this, of preserving these tomatoes, is you've got choices. Now what you can do with this big batch of roasted tomatoes? By the way, it was very impressive to what a small amount actually it comes out to be. how many trays did you do Sunday?

Jeanne Hoffman :

I believe we did about eight to 10 trays. and those eight to 10 trays ended up, we filled a one gallon freezer bag,

Farmer Fred :

A one gallon freezer bag after eight to 10 trays. hour and a half to two hours per two trays, four times. That's eight hours you spent in the kitchen.

Jeanne Hoffman :

Well, the oven was going for eight hours. Yes. All right. Now the beauty of this particular process that I like As I'm not forced into canning right now, I can freeze my tomatoes throughout the year. And then at the end of the year, after I'm all done, I can then do a massive canning batch.

Farmer Fred :

And how would you start that? you've got this big lump of bag of frozen roasted tomatoes? How would you prepare them for canning?

Jeanne Hoffman :

defrost and then decide what recipes we're going to do or whether we're going to make a pasta sauce, We're going to make soup, we're going to just dice and can, so we need to make a decision what we're going to cook.

Farmer Fred :

All right, do you have to process those tomatoes any further? Do you put them through a food processor?

Jeanne Hoffman :

I'll run up through the Cuisinart food processor

Farmer Fred :

okay. with the big blade?

Jeanne Hoffman :

Yeah, yes.

Farmer Fred :

And as you said, then we can make pasta sauce or it's a candidate for soup, and it would be an easy soup, wouldn't it, because when you're ready to grab a jar of that on a cold winter day... The only thing you need to add is water or milk.

Jeanne Hoffman :

If we have it some cream, but milk would work. Cream makes it really yummy.

Farmer Fred :

All right, and that's tomato soup and of course pasta sauce. We go through a lot of pasta sauce. So, at the end of the season, you can mix those roasted tomatoes with other things from the garden like peppers, garlic and onions.

Jeanne Hoffman :

Yes, and basil.l you can add more basil if you need it.

Farmer Fred :

Okay, anything else?

Jeanne Hoffman :

Yes. If you are going to do your large tomatoes, your preparation needs to include coring that tomato, whereas with cherry tomatoes,, it's just taking off the little green top and you're ready to go.

Farmer Fred :

coring a tomato, the core, there's really not that hard of a center, and that's fairly easy to take out, isn't it?

Jeanne Hoffman :

Sure, just with the small paring knife.

Farmer Fred :

which tomatoes do you choose to use?

Jeanne Hoffman :

You know we're doing a process to provide our family with really high quality future sauces, soups, etc. Use the best fruit you have. Don't use really damaged fruit; or at least cut off the damaged portion and that way you start with good quality, you'll end up with good quality.

Farmer Fred :

Alright, so nothing that's overripe and nothing that's still a little too green.

Jeanne Hoffman :

Correct.

Farmer Fred :

Anything more you want to add?

Jeanne Hoffman :

I'm good.

Farmer Fred :

Okay, good. Good. Well, thank you very much for your efforts in this behalf.

Jeanne Hoffman :

You're welcome.

Farmer Fred :

The Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast has a lot of information posted at each episode, transcripts, links to any products or books mentioned during the show, and other helpful links for even more information. Plus, you can listen to just the portions of the show that interest you. It's been divided into easily accessible chapters, and you'll find more information about how to get in touch with us. We have links to all our social media outlets, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, And YouTube, also a link to the farmerfred.com website. That's where you can find out more information about the radio shows. You remember radio right? Now if the place where you access the podcast doesn't have that information, you can find it all at our home. podcaster, buzzsprout. buzzsprout.com just look for the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast. You'll find a link to it in the show notes. Well, let's delve into the email you've been sending to Fred at farmer Fred dot com. JOHN writes in. he asks, "I saw a picture of your raised bed planters at your podcast page. I'm assuming those are on your property. Mine are over 35 years old, they need to be replaced or repaired. What are the specs on your boxes? They look awesome. By the way, is that a glass of scotch in your hand? " Let me look, john. Nope, that's not scotch. But thanks for the idea. The beds are about About 16 inches high, some are four feet wide by eight feet long. Some are four feet by four feet, and those are the exterior dimensions. They're constructed of redwood. And the sides are made out of two inch by eight inch redwood on the sides, obviously one on top of the other, but there are four by four inch support posts every four feet in the ground. Those two by eights then are topped with a two by six (laid flat). That two by six gives a really nice area to sit on while you're pulling weeds or pulling crops. And by the way, the reason all my beds are four feet wide or less: that way you don't have to reach too far towards the middle when picking crops or pulling weeds. so try to keep your beds no more than four feet wide. After they were constructed. I treated them with a redwood water seal and each bed contains five parallel half inch drip irrigation lines. The emitters are spaced 12 inches apart and the emitter spacing along the parallel lines are staggered. So, More of the area gets evenly watered. There's a control valve in each bed, too, because in the case of some crops, you want to turn them off before they're ready to be harvested. garlic and onions would be a good example of that. By the way, if you have a gopher issue, you may want to put hardware cloth lining the bottom and the sides before you fill it with soil. hardware cloth is usually quarter inch or half inch mesh, and you got to bring it up the sides to keep the gophers from kind of weaseling their way in. As far as the space between beds: I like to keep about four feet between each of the garden beds. By the way, the entire backyard is mulched. So it's all Arbor chips that are on the ground around the beds. But again, the beds are four feet apart. That's plenty of room for a wheelbarrow going through or bringing a big trash can through or just making your way through with buckets full of tomatoes. Now you don't have to make your raised beds out of redwood you can make them out of cedar Of course you can make them out of brick or rock or or Whatever but raised beds solve a whole host of problems. The soil warms up quicker in the spring so you get a jump on planting; weeds come out a lot easier; and it's much easier to amend the soils. One nice thing about having a garden is after you're done harvesting what you want from a plant is why not just leave the plant in the ground and see what happens. It might just flower. Things like basil, cilantro, carrots, radishes, onions, garlic, they'll produce flowers, Debbie Flower.

Debbie Flower :

they do produce flowers, and sometimes you don't sometimes you go on vacation or your plans change and you're not there to do the harvesting when the harvesting happens, don't beat yourself up about it. Let them go to flower and they will attract some of those beneficial insects that help control the pest population in the rest of the garden.

Farmer Fred :

And by the way, if you grow onions and garlic and they set those flowerheads I'm sure the onions Garlic expert in your neighborhood will tell you you better cut off those flowers because it'll make the bulb very hard. Well, you know, what you could do is maybe leave a few of those flower heads to develop on their own. And they are beautiful. They make good cut flowers messy but good cut flowers, and tasty too. onion and garlic seeds and and the flower the little flower parts are very tasty.

Debbie Flower :

Yes. Throw them in a salad or whatever. Yeah, yeah, yeah, there's there's we're sort of tied to the things we see in the grocery store as being the things that we can eat. But there's a lot more that we're producing in the garden that is edible, that we aren't necessarily taking advantage of.

Farmer Fred :

But check some good sources before you start munching in your yard. Right? because not everything is edible, right? You may find that out on your own. But be careful. Debbie Flower was a pleasure having you here in the studio. It was great to see the studio. I'm happy to be here. All right. We'll do it again.

Debbie Flower :

All right.

Farmer Fred :

Garden Basics with Farmer Fred today 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.

AmpleHarvest.org
Roasted Tomato Recipe
Raised Bed Specs
Let It Flower! With Debbie Flower