Garden Basics with Farmer Fred

050 Fall Planting Carrots, Peas, Broccoli and More

September 28, 2020 Fred Hoffman Season 1 Episode 50
Garden Basics with Farmer Fred
050 Fall Planting Carrots, Peas, Broccoli and More
Chapters
1:20
Fall Planting Carrots, Peas, Broccoli and More!
18:09
Smart Pots!
20:06
Rubber Mulch for Your Landscape?
Garden Basics with Farmer Fred
050 Fall Planting Carrots, Peas, Broccoli and More
Sep 28, 2020 Season 1 Episode 50
Fred Hoffman

We continue our discussion of easy to grow cool season vegetables with Master Gardener and vegetable expert Gail Pothour. Last episode, we discussed the easy greens to start in your garden now in USDA Zones 7, 8 and 9. This time, we talk about easy root crops to grow, like carrots, turnips, beets and radishes. Plus tasty fall and winter above ground vegetables like sugar snap peas, snow peas and broccoli. Gail has a list of her favorite varieties to grow for gardeners just starting out. Also, we bounce around the topic of using rubber mulch in the yard, with our favorite retired horticulture professor, Debbie Flower.

It’s Episode 50 of the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast, brought to you by Smart Pots,  and we will do it all in under 30 minutes.

Garden Basics comes out every Tuesday and Friday. It's available wherever podcasts are found.
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.

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 Farmer Fred website: http://farmerfred.com
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Farmer Fred Garden Videos on YouTube
More podcast info including episodes, live links, product information, transcripts, and chapters available at the home site for Garden Basics with Farmer Fred

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

We continue our discussion of easy to grow cool season vegetables with Master Gardener and vegetable expert Gail Pothour. Last episode, we discussed the easy greens to start in your garden now in USDA Zones 7, 8 and 9. This time, we talk about easy root crops to grow, like carrots, turnips, beets and radishes. Plus tasty fall and winter above ground vegetables like sugar snap peas, snow peas and broccoli. Gail has a list of her favorite varieties to grow for gardeners just starting out. Also, we bounce around the topic of using rubber mulch in the yard, with our favorite retired horticulture professor, Debbie Flower.

It’s Episode 50 of the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast, brought to you by Smart Pots,  and we will do it all in under 30 minutes.

Garden Basics comes out every Tuesday and Friday. It's available wherever podcasts are found.
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
More podcast info including episodes, live links, product information, transcripts, and chapters available at the home site for Garden Basics with Farmer Fred

Farmer Fred :

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 SmartPots.com slash Fred for more information and a special discount, that's SmartPots.com/Fred. If you're just a beginning gardener or you want good gardening information well you've come to the right spot. We continue our discussion of easy to grow cool season vegetables with Master Gardener and vegetable expert Gail Pothour. Last episode we discussed the easy greens to start in your garden now, in USDA zone seven, eight and nine. This time we talked about the easiest root crops to grow like carrots, turnips, beets and radishes. Plus tasty fall and winter above-ground vegetables like sugar snap peas, snow peas, and broccoli. Gail has a list of her favorite varieties to grow for gardeners just starting out. And we bounce around the topic of using rubber mulch in the yard with our favorite retired horticulture Professor, Debbie Flower. It's Episode 50 of the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast. And we'll do it all in under 30 minutes. Let's go. Recently, we were talking with Sacramento County Master Gardener and vegetable expert Gail Pothour about cool season vegetables. And we only got as far as the greens that can go in this time of year that are so tasty. There's root crops and flowering crops that also are healthy for your family and are easy to grow. So Gail, let's talk about some of those root crops that can do well, if planted now.

Gail Pothour :

Sure, probably one of the easiest to grow is radishes. It's also something fun to grow with kids now that the kids are home so much, because the seeds are a little bigger than than some cool season crop seeds. They're a little easier for them to handle. And they grow so quickly. In 25 days, you've got a mature radish, and they're colorful, there's varieties that are red or white or purple. So it's a fun one to grow with kids and they grow very quickly.

Farmer Fred :

And the trick though, with radishes is to thin them out so that they're, What, about five inches apart?

Gail Pothour :

Maybe not that big, but it kind of depends on the variety you're growing, some are more icicle shaped, and they're more long and slender. So it depends on the variety, but I would generally give them at least three inches apart. If they're too close together, they won't size up. So you'll have all the leafy top and you pull them out and it's just a skinny root. So if you want them to get the nice little round ball a little, give them some room to grow. So three inches, four inches.

Farmer Fred :

And when it comes to root crops, we should point out that they would do better in a sandy soil than a heavy clay soil. But if you're blessed with heavy clay soil, maybe build a raised bed or even use a large planter to put them in.

Gail Pothour :

with a good potting soil in it because that's pretty loose and friable. So it would do really well. radishes typically aren't very long rooted, unless you get some of the varieties that are long and slender. They're usually you know, round and so they don't take up a lot of space. So they don't need a real deep container. But they do grow well, as long as you keep them irrigated. You know, don't let them dry out because they can crack and don't let them get too big as they can get woody. So you know, maybe a large marble to a golf balls size, maybe not even that big, but just keep them evenly moist, with most, if not all of the cool season crops. They want to have continual moisture, not waterlogged, but they don't want to dry out because then you can have problems with splitting or off flavors bitterness or they get Woody. So just keep even moisture. And in the wintertime, hopefully we'll get rains and then we don't have to do a lot of irrigation on our own. But if the rains are late coming, be sure to keep your irrigation system on or hand water them so that they germinate well and then they grow quickly.

Farmer Fred :

Some of the tasty radish varieties that are out there include champion, watermelon, Crimson giant, cherry Bell. Do you have any favorites?

Gail Pothour :

Yeah, actually we do. At the Fair Oaks horticulture center we try to showcase All America Selections. We are in a display garden. And so last year we started growing two all America selection radishes. One was Roxanne and the other was Rivoli. They're both a typical red radish. But they grew very well. nice flavor. we harvested them about two inches in diameter one to two inches in diameter and they were great. They were not too spicy. Of course with radishes. They are spicier If the weather is warmer, so you want them to mature in the cool season. Also, if you don't water them enough, they can get a little bitter but these were two excellent varieties, Roxanne and Rivoli.

Farmer Fred :

Now you said something very important there that they have to mature in the cooler weather, but you could plant radishes now even though there might be a heat wave or two left and you'd still be okay.

Gail Pothour :

Oh yes, because they grow so quickly. They can be ready in with depending on the variety 30-40-45 days, and you can then plant another crop, you can plant them in with other cool season vegetables, they'll grow quickly before the other vegetables get large. So you can you know, scatter them around other things you're growing, and they do very well as long as you don't let them mature in the heat. So next year, you know, if they overwinter, be sure to harvest them before it starts getting more warm.

Farmer Fred :

Is radish one of those crops that you should plant from seed not from transplant?

Gail Pothour :

You know, I've never actually seen radish transplants at a garden center or nursery. Typically they are grown from seed and they are so easy to grow from seed. I don't know that it would be worth paying for a six pack of radishes when it would cost less to buy a whole packet of seeds. But typically that's just grown from seed. There are some that you can grow from transplants. Carrots are not one of those, those have to be direct seeded. And but beets, those are typically grown from seed, direct seeded but I have been successful, growing them from transplant back more successful from transplant than growing from seed because I have issues with cutworms and things like that, that tend to eat the plant as it comes up. So I start my beets in a flat and when they get a couple of true leaves, I gently loosen them out and I will put them in either another container until a little bit later or directly in the soil. It's worked out fine for me.

Farmer Fred :

Let's explain that term true leaves. when a seed germinates, it bursts out of its seed coat and sends up a stem and the first leaves you see are called the cotyledons. And that's part of the seed actually, and in many plants they provide photosynthesis as the plant grows. a bit later, a plant will form its first true leaves and those leaves have the appearance of what the plant will look like. Were coming up to the end of beet planting season, but it'll resume for February, March and April. So probably a good idea with beets might be to save it for late winter.

Gail Pothour :

Right? Yes, you don't have your beets in by now or at least in the next couple of weeks, I would say wait until you know next year to plant them in our area. We could plant them in February, March. And because we do have such Warm Springs and have hot summers. It's not something we grow into the summer. But if you planted them in February or March, we would recommend for our area a short season variety. So something that would grow in 50 to 55 days.

Farmer Fred :

You mentioned carrots and this is where that heavy clay soil might work against you. Because if you're thinking of getting a Bugs Bunny style carrot, which should probably be the Imperator which is something that's seven or eight inches long, it needs really sandy soil, but there are a lot of good carrot varieties on the market that get half that size or even shorter things like Danvers half long or short and sweet or the Nantes. And they only grow a few inches, so they do well in the heavier soil.

Gail Pothour :

Right. And there's also you had mentioned the Danvers there's also a type called Napoli that grows as a baby carrot so you could harvest it before it gets really long. And then there's the red core chantenay that is one that is broader and kind of wedge shaped and I call it kind of stumpy and maybe only gets about five inches long, but it's wider at the top than the root and it can kind of wedge itself into heavier soils. You really do need to have some friable, well drained fluffy soil that doesn't have rocks and a lot of other debris in it when you grow carrots because you can have issues with forked carrots, you know if they hit an obstruction, it can fork. A raised bed that has you know really loose soil with compost in it, or the short varieties. You can grow in a container, such as the round one called Parisian, or Thumbelina. They're round almost like a beat or a radish, a large radish. So those could grow in a container that's about six inches tall.

Farmer Fred :

Another round carrot variety you might want to try is called Romeo, and that looks like a beet and we should point out that carrots aren't just orange anymore. You're going to find a lot of rainbow colored carrots out there like the circus circus, which is a combination of, of orange and purple and white and something in between.

Gail Pothour :

The round ones we were talking about, the Thumbelina, the Parisian and the Romeo, our orange like the typical carrot. And I tend to not grow orange carrots in my garden because I buy them at the grocery store. what I grow are the yellow or the white, or red or purple carrots. So those are the types that I grow in my own garden and some of my favorites of the yellow are yellow stone or solar yellow. The red ones, I love red samurai, and atomic red is good as well. And then of the white ones, lunar white and white satin, I think White Satin being my favorite. And I tried a new purple one last year called purple snax in a x next, and it did very well. So if you like the rainbow carrots, those are some that are really good. And as Fred mentioned, the the ones that come in a rainbow package, you know, you don't have to buy three or four different packages of carrot. They come all in one.

Farmer Fred :

Yeah, yeah, Rene's garden seed catalog, you can find packages of the rainbow carrots. If you can't find them locally.

Gail Pothour :

I think she has one called Harlequin as well. dark purple carrots in there,

Farmer Fred :

right and oh, and a purple one called purple sun as well.

Gail Pothour :

Yeah, I've done that one, just be aware of the purple, the real dark purple carrots, which I love. They stain like a beet. Hmm. So when you peel them, you'll have purple hands, I made the mistake once of, of boiling some carrots, you know in some water, different color. And I had orange and red and white and purple carrots and all my white carrots turned out pink because of the purple carrot so they will stain your hands. So be aware of that.

Farmer Fred :

All right, another crop you could put in now and probably for even though I've seen this in six packs, I still think you're better off doing it from seed our sugar snap, or snow peas,

Gail Pothour :

they are so easy to grow. That's another one that's good to grow with children because the seeds are so big, and they come up fairly quickly. There are bush peas and pole peas, just like bush beans and beans need to provide some sort of support for them. Even the bush peas, I find need to have some kind of stakes around with string or something to contain them because they'll flop otherwise. But the peas are really easy to grow the snow peas, there's shelling peas like that, you'd have to take them out of the shells to eat and edible pod peas like sugar snap.

Farmer Fred :

But there are other pea varieties to like mammoth melting sugar, and sugar anne, and plant those about two inches apart. And maybe a way to trellis them and it might take a while for them to grow. But once they grow, you should have more than you know what to do with I think the key with with the edible pod peas is you want to pick them and eat them before they're too lumpy looking. you want them when they're sort of flat in the pod.

Gail Pothour :

And the ones where you eat the whole pod like the sugar snap, and the snow peas. You want to eat them before they're too mature because then the pod itself can get kind of fibrous, and then the shelling pea where you actually take the the pea out of the pod. You want to harvest those before they're too mature because it can get kind of starchy.

Farmer Fred :

Alright, let's talk about a flowering vegetable that basically you're eating the flower buds and that would be broccoli,

Gail Pothour :

broccoli, yes. fairly easy to grow it. That is one that I would suggest growing from transplants because growth from seed it just takes us a long time. But broccoli is easy to grow. It is a little bit it can be stressed if you let the plant get too big in the container before you plant it out. So be sure that if you buy a plant at a nursery, that it's not too large for the container because it doesn't want to be rootbound because there are some stressors that can cause some issues with broccoli, but it's fairly easy to grow. Unlike cauliflower, so I would stay away from cauliflower, but try broccoli and there's a lot of great varieties of broccoli as well. One that we grew last year in straw bales at the Fair Oaks horticulture center and did we were astonished at how big the plants were. They were about two and a half three feet tall, had great broccoli heads on them. It was an all America selection variety, called Green Comet, did very well. And we bought nursery transplants and put them in straw bales and they did wonderfully

Farmer Fred :

yeah green comet goes back years and years as an all American selection winner one of their more current winners is called artwork, which was an all America selection back in 2015. And the artwork broccoli has a lot of tasty side shoots so you get more bang for your buck, so to speak.

Gail Pothour :

right, and we did grow Artwork as well. And you're right that after you cut off the main head, then side sheets come out so you can be harvesting the smaller little broccoli, almost like broccolini kind of for quite a period of time. You want to be sure to cut them before the buds open up. You don't want those little yellow flowers. But yeah, it did very well.

Farmer Fred :

Another root crop you may want to be planting these days is turnips, and there's a lot of good varieties there too, isn't there, Gail?

Gail Pothour :

Oh, absolutely. And one that we grow every year at the Fair Oaks horticulture Center is a baby turnip called mikado. And it's the little white turnip we usually harvested when it's about an inch, no bigger than two inches. It's sweet. Oh, it's a wonderful flavor and grows really quickly. So that's what I recommend for turnip varieties.

Farmer Fred :

Turnip varieties for here in California. It can be planted September, October, November, depending on where you live, you probably be better to get on it sooner than later.

Gail Pothour :

That's right. And in fact, we are planting turnips, I think next week, so that would be late September early October that we'll be getting ours in.

Farmer Fred :

How do you know when they're ready?

Gail Pothour :

Well, it's just like a radish it kind of pushes itself out of the ground a little bit so it's not completely buried in the ground, you can see the top of it and you can see just how big the diameter is. And it's when it's the size you want you harvest it and the one that I recommended mikado is good as a baby turnip. So you would harvest it when it's small, other varieties that are larger. I think probably a you know two to three inches in diameter is a good, good recommendation for when to harvest. Like most root crops, if they get too large, they can start splitting or they can get Woody, or even hairy for that matter if they're in the ground too long.

Farmer Fred :

And turnips are really a quick crop to grow, too. they're ready to harvest 40 to 55 days after planting, you can harvest the leaves when they reach what four to six inches in height. And you can cut them from the plant when they reach the right size but leave about one inch of leaves above the crown of the plant.

Gail Pothour :

Right and So not only can you eat the root and the leaves tailed turnip greens, the one we talked about radishes You can also eat the radish leaves. They are a little hairy and so it might be a little off putting just the texture of it but you can eat the leaves of a lot of cool season crops that you don't typically eat.

Farmer Fred :

a lot of quick, easy to grow very nutritious, cool season crops you can be putting into your backyard garden right now. As we begin fall and get into the cooler months. It is their prime time. We learn a lot again from Gail Pothour, Sacramento County Master Gardener, vegetable expert. Gail, thanks for a few minutes of your time.

Gail Pothour :

You're welcome, Fred. Thanks.

Farmer Fred :

We're glad to have smart pots on board supporting the garden basics podcast. Smart pots are the original award winning fabric planter. They're sold worldwide. smart pots are proudly made 100% in the USA. I'm pretty picky about who I allowed to advertise on this program. My criteria, though, is pretty simple. It has to be a product I like; a product I use; a product I would buy again. And smart pots clicks all those boxes. They're durable. They're reusable. Smart Pots are available at independent garden centers and select Ace and true value stores nationwide. To find a store near you visit smart pots.com slash Fred. It's smart pots, the original award winning fabric planter. go to smartpots dot com slash Fred for more info and that special farmer Fred discount on your next smart pot purchase, go to smartpots.com slash 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 all 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. We like to answer your questions here on the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast. And for that we get some help. We bring in retired college horticulture professor, Debbie Flower, and Debbie, Joyce is doing a revamping of her yard. She writes, "They've lived in their homes for five years. And they want to upgrade the lawn both front and back. But they plan on rototilling one of the lawns covering it with weed cloth than applying rubber bark, and some type of ground cover in the front yard. The backyard will be rubber bark with a planter in front of the back fence and asks, well, what do you think of that?" I don't think either of us are big fans of rubber mulch.

Debbie Flower :

No, I, I'm picturing being in your yard and smelling rubber.

Farmer Fred :

Yeah, really.

Debbie Flower :

And it's dirty. You know, it gets you get black stuff all over yourself. Maybe they don't intend to be in the yard very much. And maybe that's a moot point.

Farmer Fred :

She doesn't say if that rubber mulch will be in a child's play area, because it's usually reserved for use under things like jungle gyms, where it's greater feature is shock. absorbency, right? Yeah, what does rubber mulch do for the soil?

Debbie Flower :

Nothing. covers it, slows down the rain. So when any overhead irrigation, when it hits the rubber mulch will slow down and, and seep into the soil. But it doesn't improve the biology doesn't feed the biology in the soil. And that biology is necessary for healthy plant growth. It also absorbs heat. So when it's hit by sun light, it could get very hot. Now, I don't think that's going to be a problem for the soil itself. But it's going to reflect that heat back to the landscape. And, you know, to anybody who touches it with their hands or feet or whatever. So that can be uncomfortable.

Farmer Fred :

And also what is in that rubber mulch. If it's a recycled tires, you might be releasing toxic heavy metals into the soil or eventually into water as runoff.

Debbie Flower :

Yes, I that's the part that really bothers me. The rubber is made from oil, I believe. So there are toxic chemicals in it. And it's going to erode over time, it's not going to be stable. And it's also rubber tires can catch fire. And when they do it's a very toxic, slow burn, and very hot. So that would be another reason. I would not I know what can catch fire. But what is easy to put out when rubber catches fire, it is not easy to put out. That's another reason I would not wanted around my house.

Farmer Fred :

Yeah, let's talk about the benefits of using a more natural bark instead of rubber bark. I mean, there's a lot of benefits to using chipped and shredded tree limbs or even commercial bark, walk on bark. And I think that would be fine even in a play area.

Debbie Flower :

Yes, the chip tree limbs are free. So it's the financial choice. And they feed the soil. They provide the nutrients that the microorganisms that live in the soil can use. I suspect that one of the reasons that she wants to use rubber mulch is because she doesn't want to have to replace it regularly. And that is something that you do have to do with the free arborist mulch, the chipped trees and shrubs, they do break down over time they release their nutrients to the soil and the plants and the other organisms that live in the soil. And that's beneficial for the plant growth. But it does have to be replaced about every two years. So maybe moving to the mulch that's made just from the bark of the tree that takes much longer to break down it does break down it takes much longer it is not as beneficial to the plants and the micro organisms, but ultimately it ventually breaks down and does feed them and it needs to be replaced much less often. Especially if you start with the bigger chip pieces.

Farmer Fred :

And we'll go back to your original answer. It could smell bad. The rubber mulch Yes, the rubber mulch.

Debbie Flower :

Yes, yes. When it heats up it's going to smell bad. Do we know where she lives?

Farmer Fred :

No we don't know where she lives. So, anytime you send a question into Garden Basics with Farmer Fred, Be it via email that you send to Fred at farmer Fred dot com or to the get going with farmer Fred Facebook page or at farmer Fred on Twitter. Always include where you live. that helps us answer questions a lot more accurately. And like I said she doesn't say if this rubber mulch would be used in a children's play area or not. She may just have a love of rubber I guess.

Debbie Flower :

I know a magazine, send her a subscription.

Farmer Fred :

Probably not much there on mulch, though, I would think.

Debbie Flower :

No, no, no. All right. So I'm assuming she went to a relatively carefree yard and and sees the rubber mulch is a way to do that. But I would if if I didn't want to have to replace mulch on a regular basis, I would go to some other sort of hardscape I think, brick or pavers or something like that.

Farmer Fred :

Right, but not in a children's play area, even though we don't know if this is for a children's play area or not correct. But still, there are a lot of better options than rubber mulch, not in the yard. And as you say, Debbie, rubber mulch does nothing for the soil, right?

Debbie Flower :

Absolutely nothing. In fact, it could be toxic, we don't really know. But yes, as it breaks down and water washes through it, rain washes through it, it could be putting toxic chemicals in oil based chemicals into the soil and that could be toxic.

Farmer Fred :

Mulch. It's a good idea. Just be careful of what you choose for your mulch. All right, Debbie Flower, Thanks for a few minutes of your time.

Debbie Flower :

Oh, it's a pleasure.

Farmer Fred :

Don't forget you can get your garden question into the garden basics podcast give us a call 916-292-8964 You can also text that number to leave a picture and a question 916-292-8964 also email Fred at farmerfred.com dot com. That's Fred at farmerfred.com dot com. And you can also leave a message and maybe with a picture as well at the get growing with farmer Fred Facebook page or on Twitter at farmer Fred. Don't forget to tell us where you live because all gardening is local. Garden Basics 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.

Fall Planting Carrots, Peas, Broccoli and More!
Smart Pots!
Rubber Mulch for Your Landscape?