Garden Basics with Farmer Fred

060 Unusual Cool Season Vegetables. Snail Control Tips.

November 06, 2020 Fred Hoffman Season 1 Episode 60
Garden Basics with Farmer Fred
060 Unusual Cool Season Vegetables. Snail Control Tips.
Chapters
1:28
Unusual Cool Season Vegetables
12:31
Smart Pots!
13:24
Controlling Snails and Slugs
Garden Basics with Farmer Fred
060 Unusual Cool Season Vegetables. Snail Control Tips.
Nov 06, 2020 Season 1 Episode 60
Fred Hoffman

If the idea of growing cool season vegetables makes you yawn, we’re going to wake you up today with interesting, unusual, colorful and tasty varieties of fall and winter vegetables that you may not know about, that are worth a try in your garden. Unusual radishes (such as the "White Icicle" radish, pictured) and beets, colorful lettuce and cabbage varieties, different, easy to grow broccoli-like plants, and tasty cool season flowers that should be part of your edible garden. We talk about those with local nursery manager Quentyn Young, who is famous for stocking his nursery shelves with unusual edibles. Plus, we will attempt to stave off a pest that may want to munch on those goodies, snails and slugs. Our favorite retired college horticulture professor, Debbie Flower, has some tips.

It’s Episode 60 of the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast, brought to you by Smart Pots. And we will do it all in under 30 minutes.…let’s go!

Garden Basics comes out every Friday during November through January. We’ll be back to a twice a week schedule in February.  More info including live links, product information, transcripts, and chapters available at the home site for Garden Basics with Farmer Fred.

Got a garden question? E-mail: [email protected] or, leave a question at the Facebook, Twitter or Instagram locations below.

Links:
Smart Pots!
Fair Oaks Blvd Nursery
Broccolini
Chinese Broccoli
Sprouting Broccoli
Guylon Chinese Broccoli
Beets for Greens
Chioggia Beets
White Beets
Watermelon Radish
Icicle Radish
Black Spanish Radish
Salanova Lettuce
Dandelion Greens
Fava Beans
Bell Beans
Farmer Fred Rant: Controlling Snails and Slugs
Snail Control Tips from the University of California

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
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases from possible links mentioned here.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

If the idea of growing cool season vegetables makes you yawn, we’re going to wake you up today with interesting, unusual, colorful and tasty varieties of fall and winter vegetables that you may not know about, that are worth a try in your garden. Unusual radishes (such as the "White Icicle" radish, pictured) and beets, colorful lettuce and cabbage varieties, different, easy to grow broccoli-like plants, and tasty cool season flowers that should be part of your edible garden. We talk about those with local nursery manager Quentyn Young, who is famous for stocking his nursery shelves with unusual edibles. Plus, we will attempt to stave off a pest that may want to munch on those goodies, snails and slugs. Our favorite retired college horticulture professor, Debbie Flower, has some tips.

It’s Episode 60 of the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast, brought to you by Smart Pots. And we will do it all in under 30 minutes.…let’s go!

Garden Basics comes out every Friday during November through January. We’ll be back to a twice a week schedule in February.  More info including live links, product information, transcripts, and chapters available at the home site for Garden Basics with Farmer Fred.

Got a garden question? E-mail: [email protected] or, leave a question at the Facebook, Twitter or Instagram locations below.

Links:
Smart Pots!
Fair Oaks Blvd Nursery
Broccolini
Chinese Broccoli
Sprouting Broccoli
Guylon Chinese Broccoli
Beets for Greens
Chioggia Beets
White Beets
Watermelon Radish
Icicle Radish
Black Spanish Radish
Salanova Lettuce
Dandelion Greens
Fava Beans
Bell Beans
Farmer Fred Rant: Controlling Snails and Slugs
Snail Control Tips from the University of California

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
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases from possible links mentioned here.

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.

Farmer Fred 2:

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.

Farmer Fred:

If the idea of growing cool season vegetables makes you yawn, well, we're going to wake you up today with some interesting, unusual, colorful and tasty varieties of fall and winter vegetables that you may just not know about. And they're worth a try! Unusual radishes and beets, colorful lettuce and cabbage varieties, different, easy to grow broccoli-like plants and tasty cool season flowers that should be a part of your edible garden. We talk about those with local nursery manager Quentyn Young. He's famous for stocking his nursery shelves with unusual edibles. Plus, we'll attempt to stave off a pest that may want to munch on those goodies, snails and slugs. Our favorite retired college horticulture Professor Debbie Flower has some tips. It's Episode 60 of the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast, brought to you by smart pots. And we'll do it all in under 30 minutes. Let's go.

Farmer Fred 2:

Here on the Garden Basics podcast, we like to expand your horizons a little bit. And there are a lot of great tasting, cool season vegetables that perhaps you may want to try in your own backyard. These might be vegetables that may be rather hard to find at a supermarket. You might find them, maybe, at upscale restaurants. But when's the last time you were in an upscale restaurant? Hmm. And for that matter, they might even be kind of rare at farmer's markets. Yet these could be available at a nursery near you. We're talking with Quentyn Young. He manages Fair Oaks Boulevard Nursery in Sacramento. Their nursery is famous for bringing in the unusual varieties for people to try in USDA zone nine. And of the cool season vegetables that you brought in this year, Q, what are the popular ones that are flying off the shelves?

Quentyn Young:

I think a lot of the kales are very popular, a lot of the leafy greens, the salad mixes because they're very easy to grow. They don't require a lot of root space. Some of the more unusual broccolis and cauliflowers, unusual Asian greens. Fava beans actually are pretty popular. I like to grow them because I hate spending the money that you have to pay to buy the whole pod at the stores so they're really easy to grow. And they're really easy to shell. So it's a great money saver that way. Onions, garlic, leeks, all of those are doing really well this year.

Farmer Fred:

All right, let's talk about fava beans. Since you brought it up. I know it and we've talked about it on this program as being a great cover crop. But it produces a very edible crop of beans, doesn't it.

Quentyn Young:

Fava beans and then you talked about in the past about eating the tender greens as well. But yeah, they're very easy to grow. Really interesting flower, really interesting to watch the flower attract beneficials. You'll sometimes get some aphids on the fava beans, but I don't mind them because it also brings in the ladybugs in the winter. But they're very easy to grow. You basically just plant them and they germinate within about two three weeks. I soak mine overnight, I think, but they popped up really quickly.

Farmer Fred:

Fava beans, I think is a great crop to get your kids interested for the little ones because it's such a big bean that they can easily plant.

Quentyn Young:

Big beans, easy to plant also very easy to pick, easy to find. I sort of grow mine through my tomato cages to give them a little bit of support. And I do the same with a lot of my I'm always trying different kinds of snap peas. So I also grow those through my tomato cages as well.

Farmer Fred:

And what little kid, and for that matter, what little gardener doesn't like dandelions? I think we've talked on this program about the benefits of actually having dandelions in your lawn, how it helps out the soil and helps water percolate through its extensive root system. Of course everybody loves to blow off the flower head, but dandelion greens... they're a rather ta ty treat, aren't th

Quentyn Young:

They are actually Um, there's, they're used a lot like an Italian cooking there's, you know, there's a kind of section of bitter greens like dandelion greens, endive, chicory but the dandelion greens that we carry at the nursery, they're very decorative. They're not your kind of flat rosettes on the ground. They're very upright. They have a very distinctive serrated leaves with a really pretty red rib almost like a chard. They're very productive. Mine got about a foot tall. It was quite a big bunch to basically just grab and cut. I cut them about an inch above the ground and they basically re sprouted again, but really easy to grow and very easy to grow. And I'm growing some in containers this year.

Farmer Fred:

Can you eat them raw or should they be cooked?

Quentyn Young:

You could eat them raw, small. But as they get bigger, they're a little bit tougher and they do hold up to stir frying or sauteeing or putting in soups.

Farmer Fred:

Alright, and they're available in nurseries as plants or as seed.

Quentyn Young:

In the nursery, we carry it as a plant. I'm sure you could find them online as a seed. We also carry arugala and radicchio as well. So radicchio, endive, those chicories we often will have them as seeds and like most of the leafy greens, they germinate fairly quickly but that's a nice range of other tastes. if you'd like to try them in your salad so some of them actually hold up well to cooking.

Farmer Fred:

And for people who haven't perused the lettuce aisle lately at their favorite local nursery. The Salanova line of lettuce greens is very popular and I've grown it and I can see why it's popular. It's easy to grow and last a long time.

Quentyn Young:

Yeah, and very productive and very, a really interesting range of colors and textures of those reds and greens and kind of you know, flat leaves, Brussel leaf, but very, you know really nice look, they would do well in containers as well. And don't forget to throw in if you want to, you know some decorative pansies or violas or calendula, because those also have edible flowers like nasturtiums and those are things that you might not be able to find in the store. Because you know, obviously if you're growing them yourselves you control whether you use chemicals or not use chemicals, but they're a great way to add some interest to salads, throwing some flowers. Calendula is a great, great flower for salads. It's basically called a winter marigold. Adds a nice either yellow or orange color as well as nasturtium flowers. And then the nasturtium leaves. It's a really kind of nice peppery green and then you've got your pansies and violas as well.

Farmer Fred:

Exactly colorful and tasty to boot. Let's talk about some root crops because they can be grown in a wide variety of climates and there are some that you may not find in the supermarket, like a watermelon radish or an icicle radish.

Quentyn Young:

So yeah, the watermelon radishes are really distinctive. They have sort of a chartreuse whitish green outside you cut into them and almost like a little miniature watermelon. They have a really distinct pink center. to me they're fairly mild but they're very decorative. You see them used a lot in and kind of like on salads as a sort of a side dish. I'm growing a white icicle radish this year. They germinated really quickly. I think they were ready in about 45 days. I picked them when they were about finger length and finger width. And I really liked them they were a spicy radish. I'm not sure if the summer heat had anything to do with that when I sowed the seeds. But those are two really distinct radishes that you may not see in the store as well as the French breakfast radishes. Those are also unique. Then also the really hot black Spanish radish, which are harder to find. And that's another nice one if you'd like a hot radish.

Farmer Fred:

Wow, the black Spanish radish, I guess you could serve it with your leftover jalapenos.

Quentyn Young:

Yeah, I mean if you like them hot, There you go. As well as the daikon radish. Daikons are very easy to grow. You'll often see those in your cover crop mixes but daikon radish, another really easy root crop, though might be a little bit longer before you harvest them.

Farmer Fred:

I think what a lot of people don't realize when it comes to root crops that some of the greens of the root crops are edible, like for beets.

Quentyn Young:

Yeah, beet greens, radish greens, and there's there's a couple of beet varieties that are grown primarily just for the greens and if you grow them for the actual beet, save the greens, you can use those as well. There's quite a few different recipes for how to prepare beet greens and there's quite a few different recipes for radish greens as well. At the nursery we will often have your traditional purple beet, your orange beets. And then we have if I'm not mistaken last week, we had some white beets which were a little bit sweeter. But there's quite a few different varieties of beets as well.

Farmer Fred:

Tell us about the Chioggia beet.

Quentyn Young:

Chioggia beets are really pretty. it looks like a bullseye when you cut into it. It's one of those heirloom Italian varieties. That's another one that would probably be hard to find in the store.

Farmer Fred:

Another crop that people may not be too familiar with would be some of the Chinese cabbages or Chinese kales.

Quentyn Young:

Yeah, so there's quite a few, you know, people are familiar with, let's say Napa cabbage, which is a little bit different than the European traditional large head cabbage. So you've got Got your Chinese cabbages. And then you'll kind of, you can learn or you know, figure out how you want to grow things like bok choy or tatsoi, or the Shanghai toi, those are all different sort of sizes and shapes. And then you get into, like the Chinese broccoli that has that sort of larger stem with no florets is pretty much a stem and leaf. And then there's the Guy Lon (Chinese broccoli) t at has more sort of a purp e color to it often served with the on open or slightly o en the flower buds. And then yo 've got some of the Japanes greens. So there's quite a ran e of those that you can grow b sically, aga

Farmer Fred:

Since you brought up the subject of broccoli. Let's talk about some unusual broccoli varieties. I know one that people are starting to talk about a lot is broccolini.

Quentyn Young:

Broccolini. Sometimes it's called Aspabroc, it just really depends. It's a little bit different than Broccoli Raab. So they're two different plants, but they're both prepared in similar ways. You know, you can saute them, that sort of thing, the broccolini has a distinctive, soft stem that often for some people, reminds them of an asparagus spear on the Broccoli Raab is a little bit more bitter. It has more of the the turnip background in its leaves, but both of those, again, leafy greens that you would harvest. You could also eat the undeveloped flower buttons and open flower buds.

Farmer Fred:

And what about sprouting broccoli? What's its story?

Quentyn Young:

Sprouting broccoli? So most people are familiar with the large head-like Marathon or Arcadia, Green Magic, those have sort of a large the typical what I would say grocery store broccoli on that you can be waiting some time for that flower had to develop the sprouting broccolis on, there's some Italian varieties, I think the DiCicco is one of those; English Purple, and they do a lot of little side shoots. And so you pick those instead of waiting for that large flower head to develop. And there's some cauliflower varieties like that as well.

Farmer Fred 2:

Plenty out there for the cool season garden. Things that you may not be familiar with, things that would be a tasty treat for your family. Give them a try. Quentyn Young is the manager of Fair Oaks Boulevard Nursery in Sacramento, a purveyor of the unusual for his clientele, Quentyn thanks for filling our plate up with cool season vegetables.

Quentyn Young:

Thanks for having me on Fred.

Farmer Fred 2:

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 SmartPots.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. We're now in the season of cool season gardening. All the vegetables that are going in nurseries are reporting big sales. sales bigger than ever. Crops that do well in the fall and the winter in milder areas. Salad greens, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, fava beans, cabbage, chard, spinach, root crops, all sorts of other greens too like kale, collards, mustard, the Chinese cabbages, things like that there. What's a gardener to do, because pests never sleep. So we bring in our favorite pest Eradicator, retired horticulture Professor Debbie Flower. And Debbie, let's talk about the winter pests of cool season vegetables. And I would think that if there is one critter that terrorizes gardens, 12 months a year, especially here in California, it's snails and slugs.

Debbie Flower:

Yeah, that's certainly true. And it's gonna get worse if when our first rains come.

Farmer Fred:

All right. So for snail control, I almost want to go around and just tear out low lying leafy greens of ornamentals like Bergenia and things like that where they tend to hide.

Debbie Flower:

Yeah, slugs and snails. We don't see if we check our gardens during the daytime hours, because they typically come out at night. We don't see unless we're actually Looking for them and to look for them you have to know where to look. And that's the plants that like water and or trap water. The bergenia like shade and moist places. I watched a patch on one of the college campuses for many years and it was at the edge of the building where the downspout came, and the building created shade, the plant would grow right out to the edge of that shade, but not go a step beyond it. So they really need shade. So that creates nice, moist, cool conditions. And that's where slugs and snails hide during the day. They're there. They're just in their nice, cool, moist place. They're actually related to clams and oysters and they need a moisture and moist place to stay. If they come out during the day they would just dry up and die. So we need to go to the places where they would hide and do some control there. You mentioned the bergenia. The other plant that is almost a slug and snail hotel is Agapanthus. Mm hmm. Agapanthus only grows in the warmer parts of the US. We have a lot of it in California. It's a very tough plant. It's used a lot in public landscapes like gas stations, places like that. Very pretty flowers. But if you've ever handled one, to let's say divide, it is full of slugs and snails. So that would be another place to look to control slugs and snails. Another place is the drain holes in any container plants. they can get into those drain holes and spend the day in there and then come out or up onto the containerized plant and chew on it during the nighttime when they do come out. Underneath, if you have pots on the ground, or pots in in saucers on the ground, lift those saucers and I bet you find them under there. So any place that's shady and moist, that's the first thing. find out where they are. The Worryfree or Sluggo brands are iron phosphate baits and realize it's a bait, they're going to come to it. So in my raised bed, I don't put it around the plants, I put it around the periphery of the raised bed itself, because during the day there, they're probably hiding between the wood that's making the sides of the raised bed and the soil where the moisture is in the shade is. And so when they come up from there to go start munching in the garden, the first thing they run into is the bait, you can put it into a bergenia bed or into a bed of Agapanthus. But it's not recommended that it be on the leaves so probably right around the plant. And so the first thing they encounter as they leave that plant is a bunch of the Worry Free or the iron phosphate baits. Read the label, you'll be surprised how little bait it takes. I don't have the numbers, but off the top of my head it's something like a tablespoon per 100 square feet. So in a 10 by 10 bed all you need as a tablespoon of the bait and realize you're not going to see them disappear. All you're going to see is a lack of damage from slugs and snails. The older baits which are very toxic to pets, so I no longer use them. The older baits left when they killed the slug in the snail they left a slime trail all over the garden. And it was somewhat satisfying, I have to admit, to go out and realize that they died last night. But with the Worryfree, the iron phosphate, the Sluggo, you don't see that. they just crawl away and die. So all you see is the reduction in damage. And so if you really want to check, check if you have them and check if if you don't have them, you need to go outside at night with a flashlight when it's moist. So maybe after your irrigation ran that day previous and shady which at night it is and go out with a flashlight and check your leafy greens under them. Lift those up, those leaves and look underneath them. They will like to feed in a place like that to see if you have slugs and snails.

Farmer Fred:

Of course, it's very important to positively identify the pest before you start applying any sort of pesticide and why waste your money on iron phosphate if it's actually something else. So how does a gardener tell the difference in the damage done if they can't find them with a flashlight? Let's say if it's a chewed leaf, is it the snail? Is it the slug? Is it a bird? Is it a cabbage looper?

Debbie Flower:

Yeah, that's a good point. The kind of hole that a slug or snail makes is they're what we call rasping eaters. They sort of scrape the surface of the leaf and ultimately get all the way through it. They do eat leaf pieces and that result in holes in the plant. But often the edge of that hole is ragged, because they've rasped so far. Rasping is like sandpaper on a leaf or a cat's tongue if you've ever felt a cat's tongue. real rough tongue like that. On a leaf, they don't have teeth, they can't bite, they just sort of worry it away until they've got this ragged hole. So that's one, whether it's a ragged hole, other things will leave other signs like the cabbage worm will leave eggs would be one thing. And those would probably be on the back. Typically they're on the back of the leaf and on the margins, so and they're often the color of the leaf. So you really have to look carefully for those. But when they become after they've hatched and started eating, then you start to see their poop, which is like black, almost cigarette ash, but black and not, it's not that big. First, it'll be very small, and then it'll get bigger and bigger. And again, look at the back of the leaf to to find the those who are munching away. And you'll probably see the adults, there are a couple of types of cabbage worms, cabbage looper one is a there's small moths, or butterflies. One is white with a black spot on each wing and the other one is sort of nondescript gray tan, with a few stripes. But if you see those adults, the adults will be out during the day, they're looking for a place for the food that they like so that they can lay their eggs on there and their babies can be well fed. So you're gonna look for that during the day. So you've got to look for the actual pest birds. Of course, you'll see during the day, the other squirrels. squirrels can really ravage a winter garden because they like that nice, soft, food. So if you're unsure if you're having squirrels or birds, you might want to put a barrier over the top of the plants, put a cage of some sort. It can be homemade, so that they don't have a place a way to get in and eat it. So I have a friend who's just just put a chicken wire over the top of her raised bed, didn't even hold it down with anything, just put the chicken wire there and that stopped the squirrels from eating. So trying some of your manual controls before you decide you've got slugs and snails might give you some information.

Farmer Fred:

Well, not only that, but you can take it one step further and cover your cool season vegetable garden with a row cover even a frost cloth, a lightweight frost cloth not only you're getting give it a few degrees of protection, but it's also going to keep out the moths it may keep out the snails and slugs, and it may dissuade the squirrels, right?

Debbie Flower:

Yes, a barrier. That's always helpful.

Farmer Fred:

Barriers are good. Another old trick you could try to is to spread some kitchen flour beneath the affected plant if you see that something's chewing on one plant in a row, and you're wondering, well why are they choosing that plant? Maybe before you go to bed, take some kitchen flour, spread it in a circle around the outside of that plant and maybe make it about eight inches or so wide. And then the following morning see if you see any trails or pawprints or or whatever in that flour.

Debbie Flower:

Yes, good idea. Snails feed at night and the cabbage worms will be present at night and feed at night; squirrels and birds go to bed. So, it depends how vigilant you are whether you know when when that eating is occurring when that damage is occurring to your plants. But that's another thing to take into consideration.

Farmer Fred:

And for cabbage loopers they would be more affected by a stomach poison like Bt or Spinosad.

Debbie Flower:

Right? Yes,

Farmer Fred:

Controlling cabbage worms isn't easy.

Debbie Flower:

No, it isn't easy. The exclusion, the barrier is probably your best bet. And if you're going to use Bt, you need to put it on when the before it really before you see the damage. Because it only works on the baby. The baby's cabbage worm goes looper and worm go through complete metamorphosis meaning the adult lays the egg, the egg hatches, and it's a it's a caterpillar, very small to begin with. And it gets bigger and bigger, bigger as it eats more and more and more. And that's when it's very tiny. That's when the BT works the best. When it gets bigger and bigger, it takes too much Bt to kill them. At that point you're hand picking them because you can see them, their poop is really large. You see the poop. Look down below you look up. That's where they're going to be.

Farmer Fred:

If I were to describe the color of a cabbage worm, I would say yeah, it's about the same shade of green as lettuce.

Debbie Flower:

Yes, they seem to become the color of whatever they eat, don't they? Yes, yes.

Farmer Fred:

Well, we've only scratched the surface here of the cool season pests that may be in your garden. I think we will continue this series with more in the weeks ahead. Is that okay with you?

Debbie Flower:

Oh, sounds like a great plan.

Farmer Fred:

Once again, good advice from retired horticulture Professor Debbie Flower. Debbie, thanks for helping us kill.

Debbie Flower:

My pleasure.

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. The Garden Basics podcast is going to a winter schedule, maybe just like your favorite local nursery. November through January, Garden Basics will come out once a week on Fridays. Then, as the weather warms back up in February, we'll return to our twice a week schedule. Thank you for listening, subscribing, and leaving comments. We appreciate that you've included us in your garden life.

Unusual Cool Season Vegetables
Smart Pots!
Controlling Snails and Slugs