Garden Basics with Farmer Fred

Garden Basics with Farmer Fred

Tips for beginning and experienced gardeners. New episodes arrive every Friday. Fred Hoffman has been a U.C. Certified Master Gardener since 1982 and writes a weekly garden column for the Lodi News-Sentinel in Lodi, CA. A four-decade fixture in Sacramento radio, he hosted three radio shows for Northern California gardeners and farmers: The KFBK Garden Show, Get Growing with Farmer Fred, and the KSTE Farm Hour. Episode Website:


September 29, 2023 39 mins

Electroculture Gardening vs. the Scientific Method (at 3:08 of podcast)
Growing Avocados in Marginal Climates (27:54)

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

Previous episodes, show notes, links, product information, and TRANSCRI...

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How do you plant seeds in a garden bed full of mulch? America’s favorite retired college horticultural professor, Debbie Flower, and I quickly answered that and then veered into a very scenic bypass - as is our custom. This time: we rank garden mulches from best to worst. If you want to know the best products to use for a mulch - and the ones to avoid - you’ll want to listen. 
Also: what the worms in your worm bin are trying to...

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• Fall Vegetable Soil Preparation (at 2:08 of podcast)
• Fall Fruit Tree Care (9:54)
• Fall Rose Care (17:23)
• Preserving Tomatoes (27:40)
• How long do garden pesticides last? (35:24)

It’s all right here, in episode number 283,  Fall Garden Preparation; and, How Long Can You Store Pesticides?

Previous episodes, show notes, links, product information, and TRANSCRIPTS  at the home site for Garden B...

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September 8, 2023 43 mins

Renee Shepherd of Renee’s Garden talks about the "cut and come again" leafy green garden, how anyone can be enjoying fresh lettuce, spinach, chard, cabbage and other nutritious greens on a daily basis, no matter how small your yard.

Want to make your own mulch? We have tips for purchasing a chipper/shredder - the features that it should have for a hassle-free experience. 

It’s the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast, bro...

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September 1, 2023 45 mins

 What does it take to have the best cool season organic garden in your neighborhood? The best soil! We have tips. Also: advice for controlling tomato hornworms.

It’s the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast, brought to you today by Smart Pots and Dave Wilson Nursery.

Previous episodes, show notes, links, product information, and TRANSCRIPTS  at the home site for Garden Basics with Farmer Fred, and at Buzzsprout.


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August 25, 2023 45 mins

Shade Cloth Basics (1:45)
Fall Lawn Care, Organically (18:42)

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

Pictured: Shade Cloth on Blackberries at Fair Oaks Horticulture Center

Subscribe to the free, Beyond the Garden Basics Newsletter https://gar...

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August 18, 2023 51 mins

Despite the triple digit temperatures of late August and early September, this is the time to be planning your fall garden, including starting the seeds of some of the healthiest, most nutritious vegetables that you can grow. America’s favorite retired college horticultural professor, Debbie Flower answers the fall garden questions of a college student who wants to try to grow a cool season garden for the first time.
And, nurse...

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August 11, 2023 53 mins

Wherever you garden, you have had to endure days and days of sizzling summer temperatures. Your garden is trying to survive those heat waves, as well. Today, Debbie Flower and I  have tips for getting your garden through triple digit heatwaves and a lot more. Recorded live  at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center in Sacramento on August 5, 2023.

• Why you don’t want to use garden soil in containers. (7:02)

• The best potting mix to use ...

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You’re looking at your crowded kitchen counter and wondering, what the heck are we going to do with all these tomatoes, peppers and zucchini?  Hey, you grew it, now eat it! Today, we explore tasty recipes for your abundant summer harvest. (01:31)
Also, we have tips for sharpening your garden tools. (16:00)
And, we explore one ingredient of fertilizer, phosphorus. Is it radioactive? (25:01)

It’s all in today’s episode, number...

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July 28, 2023 65 mins

If you’re currently growing roses in containers, or are thinking of adding a few potted roses to your patio or balcony, this is the episode for you.
• We get the tips from a professional rose grower, Ben Hanna, owner of (at 1:22).
• Also, Master Rosarian Debbie Arrington solves some tree rose woes for a listener
( 27:30).
• And, I chat with a local garden club about the need to keep an eye on soi...

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Those aren’t little white flowers on your woody perennials and shrubs. Look closer. What is it? It’s not a flower, it looks and feels like a wad of spit!
That would be the cocoon for the aptly named spittlebug. What’s a gardener to do about this pest which can be found throughout North America?

America’s Favorite Retired College Horticulture professor, Debbie Flower tackles that and more of your yuck-inducing garden questions, i...

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America’s Favorite Retired College Horticulture professor, Debbie Flower and myself tackle more of your garden questions today. 

Have you ever wondered, or even tried, planting into a container filled with straight compost? It might work for awhile, but eventually, you’re going to have problems. We have solutions to that issue.

Gardeners and homeowners in just about any section of the country that has faced a drought may be rethinkin...

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July 7, 2023 46 mins

It could be one of the prettiest insects you’ll ever see. It could also be one of the most voracious insects to find in your garden or on your farm. And right now it’s spreading throughout the eastern United states and into the midwest. It’s the spotted lanternfly. What does it look like? What crops can it overtake? How do you control the spotted lanternfly?

Also, Debbie Flower and I tackle more of your garden questions, such as how...

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June 30, 2023 43 mins

Today, America’s Favorite retired college horticultural professor, Debbie Flower and myself tackle your garden questions. And they are all about bugs: Aphids, wasps, gnats, drain flies and for some people - especially if they are allergic to them - bees. And that one serves as an introduction to one of the more vexing questions we received: are there any plants to repel bees?

It’s all in today’s episode 272, Questions and Answers ab...

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June 23, 2023 60 mins

11 Tips for Garden Success, recorded live, at the Lincoln Hills/Sun City (CA) garden club, May 2023.
• All Gardening is Local. (6:04)
• Know Your Soil. (10:27)
• Right Plant, Right Place. (20:47)
• Mulch, Mulch, Mulch. (23:13)
• Mother Nature Bats Last. (26:38)
• What's Old is New Again. (32:06)
• Everything You Know is Wrong. (38:37)
• If It Works for You, Fine. But Keep An Open Mind. (42:40)

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Ready to discover the world of dragonflies and learn how they can benefit your garden? Join us as we chat with Pat Murphy, a Placer County Master Gardener and dragonfly enthusiast, who shares her wealth of knowledge on these incredible insects. With a 95% success rate as predators and the ability to control mosquito populations, dragonflies are a gardener's best friend. We'll also hear from America's favorite retired...

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Imagine reducing the risk of high cholesterol, stroke, and Alzheimer's disease with a simple change in your diet and lifestyle. Join us as we discuss the incredible connection between a whole food, plant-based diet and better brain health, with expert insights from Dr. Laura Varich of

Dive into the power of leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and microgreens, and how they can help protect our bra...

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Tired of pesky ants ruining your garden beds and invading your home? Join us as we chat with Debbie Flower, America's favorite retired college horticultural professor, who shares her personal formula for getting rid of these unwanted pests. We'll uncover the secrets of boric acid ant bait and explore why it's crucial for it to reach the queen in order to wipe out the entire colony.

We also have a conversatio...

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May 26, 2023 44 mins

• Have you ever wondered how to attract more birds to your yard? We have a tip to bring more birds, using sound. (07:28)
• Thinking of removing all or part of your lawn to save water, or  expand your garden? Now’s the time to take action, and we will show you how. (10:05)
• Are there cures for common tomato problems, such as flower drop or blossom end rot? Yes, and no. We explain.  (20:02)
• How much should you water yo...

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May 19, 2023 53 mins

According to one recent national poll of backyard gardeners, cucumbers are the second favorite crop for growing. In a poll conducted by the National Gardening Association, 86% of gardeners cited growing tomatoes as their favorite, and cucumbers came in number 2. 

We’ve talked about tomatoes extensively on this podcast. But, how do you grow and enjoy cucumbers? We’ve got the varieties, the growing techniques, the harvesting tips and ...

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