Garden Basics with Farmer Fred

224 Mushrooms. Roses for the Heat. Soil Improving Tips.

August 30, 2022 Fred Hoffman Season 3 Episode 224
Garden Basics with Farmer Fred
224 Mushrooms. Roses for the Heat. Soil Improving Tips.
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What are those mushrooms doing in my garden? How do I get rid of them? What are the best roses that thrive in hotter climates? We answer those questions on today’s podcast. Also, we have tips for improving your garden soil during the upcoming fall season.  It’s probably the most important part of having a successful garden next year. It's all about the soil!

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 we will do it all in a little over 30 minutes. Let’s go!

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: Backyard Mushrooms
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Smart Pots
Dave Wilson Nursery

Why Are Mushrooms Popping Up in My Yard? (UCANR)
Mushrooms and Other Nuisance Lawn Fungus (UCANR)
San Francisco Mycological Society (mushroom advice)
Beyond the Garden Basics Newsletter: Roses for Hot Climates
Beyond the Garden Basics Newsletter: Improve Your Soil With Less Work

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GB 224 TRANSCRIPT Mushrooms. Hot Roses. Soil Tips.

Farmer Fred  0:00  

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 slash Fred for more information and a special discount, that's

Welcome to the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast. If you're just a beginning gardener or you want good gardening information, you've come to the right spot.


Farmer Fred  0:31  

What are those mushrooms doing in my garden? How do I get rid of them? What are the best roses that thrive in hotter climates? We answer those questions on today’s Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast. Also, we have tips for improving your soil during the next couple of months, especially if you won’t be planting a cool season garden. It’s probably the most important part of having a successful garden next year. Believe me when I tell you, it’s all about the soil.

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 we will do it all in under 30 minutes. Let’s go!


Farmer Fred  1:17  

We like to answer your questions here on the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast. We bring in the big guns, Debbie Flower, America's favorite retired college horticultural professor, to help us out with these vexing situations gardeners have. Here's a question from Santa Rosa, California, here in Northern California, USDA zone nine. And it's from Sally and she says, “Hello, Farmer Fred and America's favorite retired horticulturist Debbie Flower. I have some questions about mushrooms in the garden. As you can see in the pictures, I had quite an abundance of mushrooms popping up. I actually just removed them. Should I have left them alone? And by watering too much was it okay to throw them in the compost bin? Thanks for your time. I love the podcast and the newsletter. Sally.” Thank you, Sally. Yeah, for all that shrooms, Debbie. Yeah, happens in these parts, usually in spring and fall when the weather is damp and shady,

Debbie Flower  2:16  

Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of certain types of fungi. So the fungus is growing underground. And when conditions are ripe for mushrooms  for fungus to reproduce, they produce the mushrooms and in the mushrooms contain under the cap, spores and the spores are released. And they need water to travel and to mate and all that good stuff. And so that's how baby mushrooms are made or more of the fungus is made. So typically we see it only when it is moist. And Sally asked if she was watering too much. And that is a good question. Since we don't know any specifics about where these mushrooms occurred. She did say in her garden, but we don't know whether it's a sunny spot, a shady spot a high spot a low spot. I would suspect that there is probably too much moisture in that location. Fungus that's producing  is probably feeding on some type of wood underground, like buried construction debris or dead plant roots, dead plant material of some sort. And the conditions are just right for the fungus to produce these mushrooms and reproduce. Was it harmful to really remove them? Absolutely not. There are mushrooms that are poisonous to animals and humans, and if there was a little kid visiting and bit into it, that would be a dreadful thing. Or if the dog went out and chewed on it, and it was a poisonous mushroom that would be very sad. So removing them is fine. Should she have composted them? She could  if it is a poisonous mushroom. you'd want it to be in a hot compost pile, which means it's one that's tended regularly, turned regularly. Check the moisture, check the temperature, so that it breaks down very quickly. If it's a benign mushroom, one that is not poisonous, then it's certainly can go in the compost pile. But you have to know the difference. Yeah, not easy. 

Farmer Fred  4:09  

Exactly. Sally, over in your area, in Santa Rosa, there are a lot of people who like to spend their weekends crawling on their bellies through the forests near Santa Rosa, looking for mushrooms. They’re mycologists. That area has a very popular Mycological society where people spend their weekends doing that. And they don't taste mushrooms unless they know exactly what they're dealing with. And they have extensive resources to find out if that mushroom they're staring at is poisonous or not. You do not want to try to figure it out by tasting it.

Debbie Flower  4:43  

No you do not. Sally’s pictures are of  a distinctive mushroom, it looked, I want to say like, a bunch of fingers. I was gonna say little eggs like that. Yeah, I was gonna say fat fingers. There are some mushrooms that have common names that have to do with fingers. This wasn't them. I have seen this in my yard. This was something that was white, it was quite distinctive and a picture to a mycologist might help her know what it possibly is and whether what it might be feeding on.

Farmer Fred  5:11  

I think most mycologists, though, if they get emails with pictures, they might say, not enough detail.

Debbie Flower  5:17  

Not enough detail. You need a lot of detail to get it right.

Farmer Fred  5:20  

Yeah. And you can destroy those mushrooms fairly easily with a rake. Yes, you just rake them up. Toss them down. That's all you have to do. So yes, you did the right thing of removing them. Yeah, Sally good job there with the mushrooms. And it is a problem for most people that will go away as the weather changes as the weather warms. If you have a consistent problem with mushrooms, consider the shade Do you have heavy shade from a nearby tree and may want to thin out that tree to allow more light in to help reduce the incidence of mushrooms. Maybe if it's in a lawn situation, reworking the lawn rehabbing the lawn either in the fall or in the springtime with dethatching and aeration. And overseeding can help cut down the mushroom population along with maybe watering less, too.

Debbie Flower  6:13  

 Check the heads, the irrigation heads, when they're running, and see if some extra water is coming to that location for some reason.

Farmer Fred  6:21  

There you go. It's all a matter of shade and water and like you say, dead trees underneath the ground.

Debbie Flower  6:27  

It’s food for the fungus. 

Farmer Fred  6:30  

All right, and eventually, it will stop producing mushrooms. Right. All right. Thank you, Debbie. You're welcome, Fred.


Farmer Fred  6:33  

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Farmer Fred  8:34  

We're here at Harvest Day, it's put on by the Sacramento County Master Gardeners here at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center. It’s a big public event, showcasing the beautiful gardens. Here at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center. There are practical gardens that can be applied to your own yard. If you ever get a chance to come to Harvest Day or one of the monthly workshops here at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, you ought to do so because you're gonna get a lot of good tips for your garden. We're talking roses with Debbie Arrington, Master Rosarian. She's answering rose and apparently tomato questions here today at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center during Harvest Day. And fortunately for us, it was still early morning when we're doing this recording and it's not going to be fortunately as hot as it has been. But don't tell that to the roses on the south side of the house because they just seem to be suffering. Everybody in the United States is having unprecedented heat waves. So the question is, Debbie Arrington, which roses are best compatible with high heat situations?

Debbie Arrington  9:36  

The roses that do best in high heat tend to be lighter colored roses, the darker roses, your red roses, they absorb all those sun rays and it just fries them to a crisp. And so you've probably seen your red roses not looking very well. This summer. Olympiad, Chrysler Imperial, mr. Lincoln, all your classic reds. They  absorb all that that extra heat and they just get fried. So it's the lighter colored roses that tend to do better, such as your yellows and pinks. Now a lot of yellows tend to fade in sun anyway. But my yellows that I like best in high heat, and they're doing really fine this summer, are Julia Child and Shockwave. Those are two are floribunda roses. Julia Child is a beautiful butter yellow, and it tends not to fade. And because of the lighter color, it doesn't absorb as much heat. And  it seems to be holding up to this hot summer just fine. And Shockwave is a brilliant, bright yellow, that doesn't fade either. And both Julia Child and Shockwave hav beautiful bright green foliage that's disease resistant, and stays nice, all summer long. So those are two floribundas I highly recommend for summer heat. Another floribunda that looks fantastic in heat or cold and looks great this summer, it’s the best looking rose in my garden right now. It is a floribunda named Daybreaker. And Daybreaker gets its name because it looks like early dawn with different shades of orange and yellow and pink. And no two blooms are the same. They're all very individual. And it also has very clean, bright green foliage, and it's quite heat resistant of the larger roses in my garden. Well the larger hybrid teas, because the roses are bigger, they are suffering in the heat the most. Some of them seem to cope with the heat better than others. And the one that's doing best in my garden right now is an old timer. It's called First Prize. And it's a bright neon pink. It's a very, very bright pink, hot pink, but they're very big roses, and they have a very nice form to them. And that one seems to be doing better than others. Also doing well are the landscape roses, shrub roses, such as the Drift series, and those are roses that are grown to stay close to the ground and be easy care.  They're self cleaning, which means that the blooms, once they're spent, just drop off so you don't have to deadhead them. And because they stay smaller and compact, they aren't suffering in the heat as much as some others. Another good landscape rose is one called Homerun and it's part of the Knockout series. So you know, knockout, homerun,  make sense. And it is a single hot pink rose, it has about five or six petals, with real pronounced gold stamens in the middle. It's blooming its little head off, it doesn't seem to mind the heat at all. And another good one is the one that is the favorite parking lot Rose of California, iceberg. And Iceberg is a old floribunda, it's been around forever. But the white blooms are resistant to heat. And they're often resistant to pollution, which is why I see so often in parking lots and along roadways and things like that. But it's a it's a very hardy rose and the white stays pretty clean too. a lot of white roses just look really crispy in high heat. But Iceberg seems to still stay it's nice pristine white, no matter how hot it is.

Farmer Fred  13:19  

One miniature that is doing well in my yard in a very high heat situation is Joy. And it's just doing fabulous. Can you think of any other miniatures that are good for high heat situations?

Debbie Arrington  13:31  

Joy is doing really well in my garden too. And Joy, For folks that aren't familiar with it. It's a kind of a creamy white with a purple pink edge. It's got a Picotee edge on it. It's a real standout bloom other miniatures that are doing well. Oh, there's Edisto, always does well in my garden and Edisto is actually I think there's so many florists because it wasn't released as before, but I think they're changing. It's a pink and purple blend. And it's it's kind of on the reddish side. Even though it's a darker color. It seems to be doing okay, it's coping with the heat well. and one that's it's a white and red blend, is Baldo Viegas. It is named after our local rose expert. And that roses has found fans nationwide. And it's a beautiful white and pink blend.

Farmer Fred  14:21  

Well I know where I can get that. So that's not a problem.

Debbie Arrington  14:24  

It's a mini flora. It's a little white rose, and it's just perfect. And it's a beautiful mini-flora. A mini-flora is between a miniature and a floribunda size wise, so the blooms are about two inches across when they're open. Another good white that's doing well in the heat is Innocence, which is an old time white miniature. It's doing very well.

Farmer Fred  14:47  

A lot of good roses for the heat. You have to know which ones. Debbie Arrington has been providing the names. She's a Master Rosarian so I guess we will be leaning towards the lighter colored roses for those really hot situations.

Debbie Arrington  14:59  

Well, roses like to be facing east. That way they get the morning sun, but then some afternoon shade. And that helps them particularly here in Sacramento and other places where there's a lot of high heat, you know, as in Arizona, and places all over the country right now, that way they get enough sun to keep blooming. But when it's really really hot, they get the shade they crave.

Farmer Fred  15:22  

That's right. Some of the roses have been acting very weird this year in the heat, like smaller flowers, for example.

Debbie Arrington  15:29  

Well, we've had in California, the driest year in recorded history, and that lack of groundwater has really had a cumulative effect on many shrubs, and roses are, you know, they are shrubs. And so this year, my roses are much smaller than usual, particularly my hybrid teas. And a lot of them are also not producing as many petals for flowers. Ones that should have 30-40 petals for flowers, are instead having 10 or 12 and look like a semi double instead of a full rose. And this is all a result of not enough water and too much heat.

Farmer Fred  16:04  

Another thing that's happening to roses and I get this question a lot is, why are their leaves coming out of the middle of the flower?

Debbie Arrington  16:11  

Oh, yes, that happens when plants are stressed. It's called faciation. And it's a weird vegetative state that is caused by stress. And there is so much stress going on right now in plants lives that we see this sort of weird growth coming out of the middle in my garden. Perfect Moment is the one that does it the most. And Perfect Moment is a older orange blend hybrid tea. And it has these monster blooms that look like they're from the Little Shop of Horrors. It's very strange stuff. You will also see that if a plant is exposed to roundup it but it is more severe. And it's not just the one bloom, you'll see it all over the new growth in the plant. It will have very strange to form growth,

Farmer Fred  16:58  

Roundup, just one name for any sort of herbicide that has the active ingredient glyphosate. And that's a whole show in itself,  glyphosate damage on roses. That's another very common question we get. It's something that may not even manifest itself until months later. You may even forget you’ve even sprayed around the roses.

Debbie Arrington  17:15  

They're hypersensitive, and that can also be drift from somebody else's yard. Yeah,  roses and glyphosate do not mix.

Farmer Fred  17:23  

Debbie Arrington, Master Rosarian. The proprietor, along with Kathy Morrison, of the Sacramento Digs Gardening blog. If you go to a website, you can find out more information about it, I bet.

Debbie Arrington  17:36  

The easiest way to find us is on Facebook, just type in Sacramento Digs Gardening, that will take you to our Facebook page, hit any of those links that will take you to the blog. All right, and the website itself is . 

Farmer Fred  17:50  

Sacdigsgardening dot com gets you there. Yes. Debbie Arrington, thank you so much.


Farmer Fred  18:05  

 Coming up in the Friday September 2, 2022 Beyond the Garden Basics newsletter, Debbie Flower and I discuss the role of plant hormones. Why should you give a rat’s patootie about plant hormones? Only if you want to be a better gardener. If you want to be more successful at propagating plants, you need to know about plant hormones. Want to grow bigger table grapes? Again, plant hormones can play a role. But there are other steps you can take to grow bigger grapes. And you’ll find out about those steps, in Friday’s Beyond the Garden Basics newsletter. 

Find a subscription link to the newsletter in today’s show notes, or visit our website, Garden Basics dot net, where you can sign up to have the free, Beyond the Garden Basics newsletter and podcast delivered to your inbox each Friday. Also at Garden Basics dot net, you can listen to any of our previous editions of the Garden Basics podcast, as well as read a transcript of the podcast episode you are listening to now. 

For current newsletter subscribers, look for All About Plant Hormones in the next Beyond the Garden Basics newsletter, coming out on the morning of Friday, September 2, in your email. Take a deeper dive into gardening, with the Beyond the Garden Basics newsletter. And it’s free. Find the link in today’s show notes or at garden basics dot net.


Farmer Fred  19:25  

Well, we're going from summer gardening to cool season gardening and maybe you don't want to put in cool season crops. Maybe you don't want to deal with plants that might be killed by a frost or freeze. But don't leave your summer garden intact. In its place. There are some cheap and easy things you can do that will not only minimize pest problems for the following years, but also during the winter. Feed your soil and make it even better for next year. We're talking with Steve Zien, he is Sacramento's organic advocate, an organic gardener. For decades he ran his own organic gardening and consulting company for decades. And Steve, I know we've talked about cover crops before. But going beyond cover crops, if people want an easy way to feed their soil during the winter, they don't want to grow cool season crops, I think one of the easiest things to do, well, two things to do, is a cut down everything to soil level, if you're growing tomatoes, and peppers, just cut them off at the soil level, but leave the roots in the soil. And then,  cover that soil with leaves that are falling from the trees in the fall, grind them up with your mower or a weed whacker or something and just put down six, 8, or 12 inches of leaves on top of that garden bed.

Steve Zien  20:49  

Yeah, it's absolutely wonderful. It regulates the soil temperature, the soil temperature will be warmer. The fact that it's all ground up makes it easier for the biology that's in the soil to come up into that mulch and munch it down. And then the rains will help leach those small little particles down, the worms that are in your soil will come up and feed on that every single day. And you know if it's a thick mulch, even at night, because it'll be dark, and they will be aerating your soil and taking that organic matter material down into the soil. And the nutrients that leach through by the rains will also leach the biology because that'll start composting. The top of the soil. And the biology that's composting will increase in numbers and will end up moving down into the soil as well. So you will get nutrients move down into the soil and increase the nutrient value. And you will get more soil biology. And the more soil biology you have, the more diversity, the more numbers, the healthier your soil is and the healthier your crops will be. I just took a class recently, everybody has been talking about rotating your crops  for decades to reduce pest problems. And they're saying that if you have the right biology and you put down, you either grow cover crops or you put down a thick mulch, you really will have the biology in there, the beneficial soil biology to naturally combat the pest problems. And you should not have to rotate your crops.

Farmer Fred  22:41  

I love it when you're a contrarian and it makes perfect sense, too.

Steve Zien  22:47  

Yeah, if you've got the good soil biology down there. And then you're feeding it with either a cover crop or with a thick mulch, you're feeding the good biology. And so the bad you know, the bad and the good biology will fight it out basically with the bad biology and not allowing them to grow in substantial numbers where it’ll do harm to your plants the following season.

Farmer Fred  23:14  

Now I mentioned earlier about clipping off the tops of the plants and leaving the roots in Place. True or false?

Steve Zien  23:23  

True. because they will decompose and typically will decompose pretty quickly. Again, if you have an organic, happy, healthy soil. If you've been using pesticides, you've been using synthetic fertilizers, the biology isn't going to be there to break that stuff down. But  if you're growing organically, you've got a lot you'll have a lot of biology in your soil, that stuff most of those roots will will break down very very quickly. And they will create  air channels there and they will end up aerating your soil because where the root was, there's nothing there anymore. And so you've got these big pore spaces. So when you irrigate next spring the water's gonna move in through the soil, the worms can move through the soil better the soil biology, all of the various microbes and beneficial mites and protozoa and all those guys can move through the soil and do their job better.

Farmer Fred  24:21  

And you're also improving water percolation for the years ahead by keeping those roots in.

Steve Zien  24:28  

exactly. because they will  decompose. the biology will basically reduce them to nothing. And they will be large, have large pore spaces where those roots were and so when you irrigate the water will go down very very nicely, which is important if you've got a clay soil, at least here in the Sacramento region, most gardeners have a clay soil.

Farmer Fred  24:50  

I think across the country. There are a lot of gardeners who are dealing with clay soil. Yes. You mentioned a very unusual word here. I'm not sure what it is. So you're talking about to help that mulch layer on top break down, that that rain could do that. What is this thing called rain that you're talking?

Steve Zien  25:11  

I don't know. It's, it's been a long time. And, you know, in the last year, we got, what? Seven inches or something? Yeah.

Farmer Fred  25:19  

Now, that brings up a question if it doesn't if it, man, I hope it rains. But if it doesn't, this fall and winter here in California, and in many areas of the West, if you don't get the fall in winter rain, should you irrigate the top of that mulch like once a week, just turn on a hose and start sprinkling it?

Steve Zien  25:39  

I think it would be a good idea once in a while, I certainly want to know once a week, it's not necessary typically will you know, if you do it once, in the wintertime, it's not very hot. In many cases, it will hopefully be cloudy. Before you irrigate, I would probably irrigate it when you are make sure that that mulch is moist, not wet, but moist, when you put it down or after you put it down. And then before you add more moisture, don't just look at the surface, dig down an inch or two and see if it's dry. And if it's dry, then you might want to add more more water. All right, yeah,

Farmer Fred  26:19  

it's a good point. And to reinforce something we said earlier: the smaller the pieces of those leaves that you're using as mulch, the better the quicker, we can break down and feed the soil. And plus, if you're just stacking 12 inches of unchopped leaves on top of your garden bed, you might create an anaerobic environment.

Steve Zien  26:39  

it would help to grind it up some way. And you know, a lawn mower works well for that. And  you mentioned that another easy way to do it, if you've got a string trimmer is get like a five gallon or get a garbage can and put, you know, a small amount of the mulch in the garbage can. And then run your weed eater down in there and it'll chop it up pretty nicely as well. It's an alternative way to do it. 

Farmer Fred  27:05  

To save wear and tear on that garbage can, make sure it's a metal garbage can, which are still available. They're out there. Yeah, usually a 27 or 32 gallon metal garbage can, and then put those whole leaves like like you said, maybe fill up that can 1/3 and then put your string trimmer in it, turn it on, whirr it around a while and you'd be surprised at how it drops. And then you can pile more in there and then chop it up again and just do it in increments like that.

Steve Zien  27:35  

Yeah. And make sure you have a string trimmer. I know some string trimmers, you can put like metal blades on them. No don't do that. That's gonna pretty much destroy your container.

Farmer Fred  27:49  

Yeah. And wear eye protection anytime you do that. Yes, always. Yeah, and string trimmer not even the plastic blades. But just that the string trimmer is best. Yes. If you're not going to be planting cool season crops this year, then the least you can do for your soil is cover it with mulch, chopped up leaves is great. Just leave it on till spring and you don't even have to remove it in spring. You can just move aside and plant whatever you're going to put in come springtime and keep that as a permanent mulching area. Just make room for your plants.

Steve Zien  28:24  


Farmer Fred  28:25  

Mr. Exactly is with us. Steve Zien is Sacramento's organic advocate, with living resources company. Steve, thanks for the good cool season advice.

Steve Zien  28:33  

a pleasure as always fred

Farmer Fred  28:38  

Garden Basics With Farmer Fred comes out every Tuesday and Friday and is brought to you by Smart Pots and Dave Wilson Nursery. Garden Basics is available wherever podcasts are handed out. For more information about the podcast, visit our website, GardenBasics dot net. That’s where you can find out about the free, Garden Basics newsletter, Beyond the Basics. And thank you so much for listening.

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