Davis Garden Show

Nursery pro Don Shor has been gardening and selling plants in Davis for more than three decades. Join Don and co-host Lois Richter as they discuss and answer your questions on all things for the garden. To submit a question (or a brag!) send to gmail.com for DavisGardenShow.

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Davis Garden Show, Oct. 14, 2021 -- Leafy greens, lawns to meadows, weed management

This is the time to plant those leafy greens to eat all winter long. Other winter vegetables include brassicas and root crops like carrots. You can plant in the ground, or in a barrel by the back door, but not INSIDE -- veggies are not grown as houseplants because they need more light. Could you build a greenhouse inside? Well, yes, but it requires grow lights and structures and ...  It's just so much easier if you can grow them outside instead.

Lois asks "Suppose I fill that barrel out back with leafy greens. Do squirrels and rats like salad?"  Well, yes; but it's not hard to make a cover to keep them out.

Davis Garden Show, Sept. 30, 2021 -- Winter flowers and bulbs

Things to plant in October, November ...

  • Leafy greens -- lettuce, kale, NOT basil -- continue to plant all winter.
  • Brassicas (where we eat the buds or heads) get planted earlier than  leafy greens (where we trim the leaves but the plant continues to grow).
  • Bulbs -- plant most bulbs now, some later. "Full sun" in winter can be under a deciduous tree, which shades that spot in the summer. PERFECT for many bulbs.
  • Winter flowers -- cheery annual flowers to plant now.
  • Perennials with winter blooms -- plant anytime, they last for years!  -- Camellias, Euryops, Gazania, Hellebore, Hardenbergia, etcetera.

Davis Garden Show, Sept. 23, 2021 -- Leucadendrons

Do native bees, pollinators, and other beneficials NEED to have only NATIVE plants? No, for most. But yes for a few. The "Pipevine Swallowtail" butterfly needs the California pipevine for its larva to feed on (other pipevine species won't do). Monarch butterfly larva feed only on milkweed plants. But most local insects will be happy with many garden plants. Having a diversity of plant species is a good way to attract and help beneficial insects.

What is "planting with natives?" If "native" means "originally existing in the local plant community," then we are extremely limited in Davis. If "native" means "native somewhere" (that is, it's not a hybrid), then anything goes! If "native" means "naturally occuring in some political region" such as California, then native-ness has no relationship to how well something will grow in my yard -- because California contains so many different climate zones. Perhaps it would be better to look for "locally adapted" plants -- species which originated in climates like ours (such as the Mediterranean, coastal Chile, parts of Australia, southern Africa, etc.), and so will grow well in OUR climate.

Today's questions include: Should we be "pinching" broccoli? (Don doesn't.) That's bacterial Citrus Blast -- exacerbated by a few days of humid weather in August. Why Don's 32-year-old orchard is being taken out (lifespan of the trees vs. changing economics vs. climate expectations).  How farmers decide what to plant where. And what some people expect to happen to our local climate in the next 20-50 years.

Davis Garden Show, Sept. 16, 2021, Brassicas -- a one-plant wonder

'Tis a time of CHANGE!  Weather is cooler, season is later ... For some folks, it's time to cut down the cucumber vines and plant some brassicas. For others (like Don), there are still tomatoes ripening to harvest into October. What's your plan for a winter garden? Now is a good time to plant peas, lettuce, brassicas, and other cool seaon vegetablees.  You can also plan to put "cover crops" on the portion of your summer garden that you don't plan to plant for the winter -- to keep down weeds and improve your soil.

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Comments

Lois,

Hi! Thank you for responding to my question. I look forward to listening to what Don has to add to your response. The listener in Sacramento was right, you and Don are very interesting to listen to and very helpful even to us in Southern California. I would also like to add that my young daughter has become an even more enthusiastic gardener now that we have a backyard. Her potted garden has grown and is thriving (as are mine and Eric's plants. A great microclimate here.) She has also helped me plant seeds in the yard includeing some of her own seeds. She has some very unusual plants for a young child. Two types of sages, Swiss Chard in multi colors which she grew from seeds, a Californis native wildflower (also from seed), columbine, etc. My young daughter picked all of these plants and seeds herself. I thought you might find this interesting to know.

Robin in Southern California

Don and Lois,

Hi! This is to add to what Eric said about New Zealand Flax and pruneing. I keep seeing the tips to the top quarter of New Zealand Flax pruned off. I swear people (and some gardeners) must not have enough to do if they keep doing this unnecessary pruneing. These poor plants look horrible. This unnecessary pruneing (and other unnecssarily pruned plants) is a pet peeve of mine too.

Robin in Southern California

Don and Lois,

Hi! What is the best type of pot to plant an African Violet in? Sorry that this is so short.

-Robin in Southern California

Don and Lois,

Hi! Thank you for answering my question about my father's blackberry plant. I thought your answer about feeding the plant a great suggestion. I also want to clarify a few things. The blackberry plant is very thorny. I have been pricked by it's branches and leaves so many times, yet the sting from each of those times would hurt for many minutes afterward. This does not happen to me with roses. As for our new backyard, I have been busy choosing plants for it (still have more room to add) and some of those plants are for our neighbor's cat who I noticed eats our spider plants. This leads to a question. Do spider plants cause problems for the cats who eat them?

-Robin in Southern California

I thought miniature fruit trees were compact plants, smaller than dwarf, that I can grow in my small backyard, but all I can find in local nurseries are dwarf varieties. What are miniature trees and where can I find them?

Thanks!
Nitin
San Ramon, CA

Don, thank you so much for answering my question, and thanks for the link to Bay Laurel.

I have tried to order plants online in the past from out of state nurseries but most won't ship to California. Any idea why this is so?

Thanks again.
Nitin

Don and Lois,

Hi! Thank you Don for answering my fish water question. That brought up more questions about fish water. If the medication is the all natural type such as Betta Fix and Betta Remedy, could these harm plants? Betta Remedy is blue and stains things it comes in contact with blue, which sometimes does not come off of what it stained. Could this turn plants blue and would that be harmful or like those science fair experiments with plants and food dyes, cause the plants to look really interesting? By the way, we are moving to a new home with an actual backyard. This yard has a need of spruceing up. Eric and I are looking forward to this challenge. My current plants will be a real help in doing this. We are happy to have two balconies with our current home, but really look forward to having a backyard. My young daughter will enjoy playing in it. She has been wanting a backyard and now we will have one. Here's to new gardening challenges in a new year!

-Robin

Don and Lois,

Hi! I hope you have both managed to stay healthy what with these colds going around. I know that you have not heard from me in awhile, however I have a follow up question to the one I asked about fish water. Is fish water (old aquarium water) with fish medications in it harmful for plants? I decided not to save any of the medicated water for Eric to use on plants until I heard from you first. I hope you both had a good Thanksgiving. We celebrated a day early for reasons I will not go into unless you ask me. Have a Merry Christmas! And if I do not get to say it, a Happy New Year too. By the way, my young daughter's garden has expanded with two new and very different sages that she chose by herself. Her garden is also thriving.

-Robin
in Southern California

Hi Don and Lois, thanks so much for the ever timely and informative show!
I have a question for Lois. Lois I'm hoping you could spend a couple of
minutes and highlight for me the Best birds to have in your vegetable garden
and the Worst birds to have in your vegetable garden and why. Maybe you could
help define Gleaners and Salliers too, and wheather all of the birds in these
groups are beneficial?
Thanks ever so much,
Your Faithful Listener in Central Calif., (San Luis Obispo)
Lori

Excellent questions, Lori. We'll get to these as soon as possible.
Don

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