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Basil is one of those crops that almost everyone wants to grow. It's relatively versatile and it is one of the most productive crops per plant that you can grow in your garden. In this episode Hilary is joined by former Seattle Urban Farm Co. colleague and farmer, Skip Mackintosh to discuss their time-tested techniques for making the most of the space you've dedicated to basil.

HOW TO LISTEN:
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SHOW NOTES:
  • Basil needs pretty warm conditions and a ton of light to get started, I would not recommend trying to propagate this crop at home unless you are a relatively experienced nursery grower. It is definitely not the easiest crop to start out with in the home nursery.
  • Wait to plant basil until temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees F, including at night!
  • Cold damage on basil comes in a few forms: often you will notice gold or brown colored spots on the leaves, which then after being damaged in this way will begin to rot. If you have otherwise healthy plants, keep an eye out for discoloration like this and remove the affected parts if you can. Cold nights can also lead to stem rot and fungal growth on the stems of the plant. A common site in spring or late in the fall is a basil plant with dark coloration on the stems which quickly leads to grey mold and usually a dead or severly damaged plant. In Seattle, we don’t plant basil outside in the garden until June, which seems really late in the spring, but Basil grows very quickly, so it is possible to get in a great harvest even if you get a late start.
  • One key to success with delicate crops like this is the willingness to replant if plants get damaged by cold weather or pests. 
  • Regular harvesting is key to a productive basil plant! I recommend using a pair of scissors to snip back the top of each stalk on your basil plant. What you'll notice is that, if you snip back the stem just above a leaf node, the stem will branch out from both sides of the node, producing two stems from one (see top photo!).

Left to right: Flowering basil and trimming basil




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photo by charity burrgraaf

More about this weeks guest expert:

Skip worked at Seattle Urban Farm Co for over 4 years. Skip spent his first few years at SUFCo installing edible gardens, and later moved on to managing our 4-acre restaurant farm outside of Seattle. Before working with SUFCo he worked at Let Us Farm, a farm located in Oakville, WA that specialized in lettuce and basil. 

About the Host:

Hello, I’m Hilary Dahl. Outside of this podcast, my job is to help beginning and experienced growers create beautiful and productive gardens. I have the unique experience of working in on a wide range of projects, from small backyard garden plots to multi-acre vegetable farms. I also work in my own garden every day when I get home. This podcast is an opportunity to discuss seasonal garden topics and share the the joy of growing your own food. 

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We're talking cauliflower! This crop is notoriously difficult to grow compared to other plants in the Brassica oleracea family. In this episode we discuss why and steps you can take to maximize your cauliflower growing success.

HOW TO LISTEN:
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SHOW NOTES:
  • Cauliflower is an annual crop in the Brassica oleracea family. We talk about this plant family a lot because it contains many popular home-grown vegetables including Broccoli, cabbage and kale. These are all what we classify as half-season crops, which mean that they take roughly 1/2 a season to mature. Depending on where you're growing and how you're planting your space, often times you can plant two or more successions of these crops per growing season. 
  • Cauliflower heads resemble that of a broccoli head, but they are actually different parts of the plant. A broccoli head is the immature flower and a cauliflower head is the inflorescence meristem.
  • Cauliflower thrive when grown in the cooler part of the season. Temperatures ranging from 60-70 degrees F are ideal. Sharp spikes in air and soil temperatures can quickly stress out the plants.
  • Consistent watering is key! Consider installing a drip irrigation system on an automatic timer.
  • Be sure to fertilize your beds before planting, and then again at 3 and 6 weeks after planting.
  • Unlike broccoli, cauliflower will not send out side-shoots, so you'll want to pull the plant after harvesting to make room for something else!

Left to right: Harvesting cheddar cauliflower, Grafitti cauliflower, a giant Snow Crow and normal Cheddar cauliflower.




Books By Colin McCrate: By Colin McCrate, Brad Halm By Colin McCrate, Brad Halm  

Like what you hear? Please share our podcast with a friend. Subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast player so you never miss a beat. And we'd really appreciate you showing us some love by leaving a rating and review on iTunes. 

Have a topic you'd like see us dig in to? Leave us a note in the comment section below or #EBpodcast on Instagram and Twitter!

We need your support to keep this podcast going! Any amount helps, so consider support us one of two ways:  

Become an Encyclopedia Botanica Patreon

OR

Make a one-time contribution to the EB podcast

More about this weeks guest expert:

Colin McCrate is the founder of the Seattle Urban Farm Co. He has been growing food organically for over 15 years and has designed and has managed projects ranging from multi-acre farms to small backyard gardens. The author of two books; Food Grown Right, In Your Backyard (Mountaineers Books, 2012) and The High-Yield Garden Planner (Storey Publishing, 2015); he believes that urban food production can help increase public awareness of environmental, health, and social issues.  

About the Host:

Hello, I’m Hilary Dahl. Outside of this podcast, my job is to help beginning and experienced growers create beautiful and productive gardens. I have the unique experience of working in on a wide range of projects, from small backyard garden plots to multi-acre vegetable farms. I also work in my own garden every day when I get home. This podcast is an opportunity to discuss seasonal garden topics and share the the joy of growing your own food. 

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Backyard beekeeping of honeybees is a great way to increase the number of pollinators in your garden, learn about how pollination works and, of course, the hives provide you with your own source of local honey. One thing that is not commonly discussed is that honeybees are not native to North America. While honeybees are very beneficial, there are also many species of native bees that could use help too. Today we are going to talk a bit about native bees and why its important to create habitat for native pollinators, especially if you're a backyard honeybee keeper.

HOW TO LISTEN:
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  • Listen right now in your browser by clicking above.
SHOW NOTES:
  • Backyard beekeeping of honeybees is a great way to increase the number of pollinators in your garden, learn about how pollination works and, of course, the hives provide you with your own source of local honey. One thing that is not commonly discussed is that honeybees are not native to North America. While honeybees are very beneficial, there are around 3,600 different species of native bees that could use help too. 
  • Originating from Europe and Asia, the honeybee is not native to North America.
  • Honeybees are not able to pollinate all flowers. For example, honeybees do not pollinate tomatoes because they cannot get the pollen from the flowers and because the flowers do not produce nectar. Many native bees, however, know the trick to extracting tomato pollen and are, therefore, valuable pollinators.
  • Honeybees live in large colonies and are heavy feeders. If you introduce them into your garden or farm, they'll compete for resources with the native bee populations. If the resources are limited, the honeybees could end up pushing out your native bees, so it's important to add additional pollinator habitat if you're keeping honeybees in your backyard. 

Below: Ground nesting bee or a "Tickle bee"

Photo by Mace Vaughn

Excellent books by The Xerces Society:

Attracting Native Pollinators: The Xerces Society Guide, Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies By The Xerces Society 100 Plants to Feed the Bees: Provide a Healthy Habitat to Help Pollinators Thrive By The Xerces Society Farming with Native Beneficial Insects: Ecological Pest Control Solutions by Xerces Society, The (2014) Paperback Storey Publishing, LLC Gardening for Butterflies: How You Can Attract and Protect Beautiful, Beneficial Insects By The Xerces Society

Like what you hear? Please share our podcast with a friend. Subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast player so you never miss a beat. And we'd really appreciate you showing us some love by leaving a rating and review on iTunes. 

Have a topic you'd like see us dig in to? Leave us a note in the comment section below or #EBpodcast on Instagram and Twitter!

We need your support to keep this podcast going! Any amount helps, so consider support us one of two ways:  

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Make a one-time contribution to the EB podcast More about our Guest Expert:

Mace Vaughan serves as The Xerces Society’s Pollinator Conservation Program Co-Director and also as a partner biologist and Pollinator Conservation Specialist with the USDA NRCS West National Technology Support Center in Portland, Oregon. Mace has led Xerces’ Pollinator Conservation Program since 2003. During his tenure at the Xerces Society, the pollinator program has grown from a small pilot project on California farms to a national, multi-million dollar program, implementing pollinator conservation projects across the US.  Helping to oversee a team of twenty-four pollinator conservation specialists and several consultants across the U.S., Mace now helps to manage the largest pollinator conservation team in the country.

Mace has written numerous articles on the conservation of beneficial insects, and is co-author of several books, including Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies and Farming with Native Beneficial Insects. He was a lecturer on honey bee biology and beekeeping at Cornell University, from which he holds Degrees in Entomology, Natural Resource Management, and Teaching.

Website: xerces.org
Instagram: @xercessociety
Facebook: @xercessociety

About the Host:
 

Hello, I’m Hilary Dahl. Outside of this podcast, my job is to help beginning and experienced growers create beautiful and productive gardens. I have the unique experience of working in on a wide range of projects, from small backyard garden plots to multi-acre vegetable farms. I also work in my own garden every day when I get home. This podcast is an opportunity to discuss seasonal garden topics and share the the joy of growing your own food. 

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Photo courtesy of Angela Judd, Growing In The Garden

In this episode, Phoenix area based gardener, Angela Judd and Hilary will be discuss how to grow citrus.

HOW TO LISTEN:
  • Subscribe in iTunes , Stitcher, or any of your favorite podcast players to have new episodes sent directly to your device.
  • Listen right now in your browser by clicking above.
SHOW NOTES:
  • Citrus should be planted in a sunny, wind-protected area. 
  • Spring is the best time to plant container-grown plants.
  • If you're growing in a region when citrus can live outdoors year round, you can also plant citrus year round. 
  • Standard-size grapefruit and orange trees can grow 18 to 22 feet tall, whereas dwarf varieties only grow 8 to 12 feet tall. Some smaller 
  • Like most fruit trees, citrus trees will usually be grafted. Buy trees from your local nursery to ensure that you end up with variety that is well suited for your growing region. When planted the tree from the pot you've purchased it in, be sure you don't bury the graft.  
  • Citrus prefer deep, infrequent watering. 
  • Fertilize your citrus plants 3-4 times per year. If you're growing in a container, you might fertilize more often, but use less fertilizer with each application. 

Below, left to right: Open citrus flower showing the stigma (large yellow central filament) and the stamen (smaller surrounding yellow filaments); Bees will do the pollinating when citrus fruit is grown outdoors. 



Like what you hear? Please share our podcast with a friend. Subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast player so you never miss a beat. And we'd really appreciate you showing us some love by leaving a rating and review on iTunes. 

Have a topic you'd like see us dig in to? Leave us a note in the comment section below or #EBpodcast on Instagram and Twitter!

We need your support to keep this podcast going! Any amount helps, so consider support us one of two ways:  

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Make a one-time contribution to the EB podcast More about our Guest Expert:
 

Angela Judd is an avid vegetable, flower and fruit tree gardener in Mesa, Arizona. A mother of five children, she enjoys growing and preparing food from the garden for her family. She is a certified Master Gardener. She shares inspiration and tips to help home gardeners successfully grow their own garden on growinginthegarden.com

Website: growinginthegarden.com
Instagram: @growing.in.the.garden
Facebook: @growinginthegardenaz

About the Host:
 

Hello, I’m Hilary Dahl. Outside of this podcast, my job is to help beginning and experienced growers create beautiful and productive gardens. I have the unique experience of working in on a wide range of projects, from small backyard garden plots to multi-acre vegetable farms. I also work in my own garden every day when I get home. This podcast is an opportunity to discuss seasonal garden topics and share the the joy of growing your own food. 

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In this episode Mark Macdonald of West Coast Seeds joins Hilary to discuss growing the grain quinoa. While many grains are impractical to grow in a home garden or smaller farm, the dense seed heads on quinoa plants provide high yields in compact spaces and provide a great option to those who might be interested in growing grains at home. 

HOW TO LISTEN:
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SHOW NOTES:
  • Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa), is an annual grain crop from the Andes Mountains. It's part of the plant family Amaranthaceae, and is related to the popular flower/grain crop Amaranth. 
  • Quinoa plants needs 100 days from seed to harvest. Optimal soil germination temperatures range from 18-24°C (65-75°F), and in that range seeds should germinate in 4-10 days.
  • Plants can grow up to 6' tall and may require some staking. I'd recommend growing along a fence or in a block so that you can easily wrangle the plants with some stakes and twine. 
  • The varieties that are currently available as seed tend to be better adapted for milder growing climates, but the grain is grown all over the North America. 
  • Watch out for slug damage when the plants are young, but once your seedlings are established your quinoa crop should be relatively low maintenance. 
  • Late in the summer, the seed head on your quinoa plants should turn from green to the color of your finished crop. At this point, if you touch the seed heads and grains start to drop, you know your plants are ready to harvest. 
  • Harvest your grains while the weather is still warm and dry. Hang plants to dry for a few more weeks after harvest and then thresh the grain. 
  • Store threshed grain in an air-tight container such as a jar or ziplock bag. 
  • Rise grains before cooking, and enjoy!

    Check out West Coast Seeds stunning quinoa varieties here!

Like what you hear? Please share our podcast with a friend. Subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast player so you never miss a beat. And we'd really appreciate you showing us some love by leaving a rating and review on iTunes. 

Have a topic you'd like see us dig in to? Leave us a note in the comment section below or #EBpodcast on Instagram and Twitter!

We need your support to keep this podcast going! Any amount helps, so consider support us one of two ways:  

Become an Encyclopedia Botanica Patreon

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Make a one-time contribution to the EB podcast More about our Guest Expert:
 

For the last ten seasons, Mark Macdonald has been growing, tasting, photographing, and writing about the ever-expanding selection at West Coast Seeds. Mark’s product descriptions, photos, and growing instructions are featured on the company’s seed packets, print catalogue, website, and Garden Wisdom blog. He is a passionate evangelist of sustainable organic growing systems, and promoter of biodiversity on small farms.

Website: https://www.westcoastseeds.com/
Instagram: @westcoastseeds
Facebook: @westcoastseeds

About the Host:
 

Hello, I’m Hilary Dahl. Outside of this podcast, my job is to help beginning and experienced growers create beautiful and productive gardens. I have the unique experience of working in on a wide range of projects, from small backyard garden plots to multi-acre vegetable farms. I also work in my own garden every day when I get home. This podcast is an opportunity to discuss seasonal garden topics and share the the joy of growing your own food. 

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In this episode Hilary and Michela Colley continue their conversation on Seed Saving for the Home Gardener. This week they'll talk more about the practice of seed saving and share tips on how to best to utilize your space, timing your crops for seed saving, and the types of plants you might want to start with.

HOW TO LISTEN:
  • Subscribe in iTunes , Stitcher, or any of your favorite podcast players to have new episodes sent directly to your device.
  • Listen right now in your browser by clicking above.
Foundational books on seed saving: Seed Savers Exchange By Suzanne Ashworth  

Like what you hear? Please share our podcast with a friend. Subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast player so you never miss a beat. And we'd really appreciate you showing us some love by leaving a rating and review on iTunes. 

Have a topic you'd like see us dig in to? Leave us a note in the comment section below or #EBpodcast on Instagram and Twitter!

We need your support to keep this podcast going! Any amount helps, so consider support us one of two ways:  

Become an Encyclopedia Botanica Patreon

OR

Make a one-time contribution to the EB podcast

More about this weeks guest expert:

Micaela Colley leads OSA’s research and education programs focused on organic seed production and organic plant breeding. She is the author of several publications. Micaela frequently teaches and speaks on organic seed topics and collaborates on research projects nationally. Micaela is also pursuing a PhD focused on organic and participatory plant breeding under Dr. Edith Lammerts van Bueren at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

https://seedalliance.org/
Instagram: @organic_seed_alliance
Facebook: @organic.seed.alliance

About the Host:

Hello, I’m Hilary Dahl. Outside of this podcast, my job is to help beginning and experienced growers create beautiful and productive gardens. I have the unique experience of working in on a wide range of projects, from small backyard garden plots to multi-acre vegetable farms. I also work in my own garden every day when I get home. This podcast is an opportunity to discuss seasonal garden topics and share the the joy of growing your own food. 

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This Q+A Episode is all about seed starting! We answer questions about starting sweet potato slips, grow lights, and when to move your transplants outside. 

HOW TO LISTEN:
  • Subscribe in iTunes , Stitcher, or any of your favorite podcast players to have new episodes sent directly to your device.
  • Listen right now in your browser by clicking above.
SHOW NOTES:
  • Coming later this afternoon...
Books By Colin McCrate: By Colin McCrate, Brad Halm By Colin McCrate, Brad Halm  

Like what you hear? Please share our podcast with a friend. Subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast player so you never miss a beat. And we'd really appreciate you showing us some love by leaving a rating and review on iTunes. 

Have a topic you'd like see us dig in to? Leave us a note in the comment section below or #EBpodcast on Instagram and Twitter!

We need your support to keep this podcast going! Any amount helps, so consider support us one of two ways:  

Become an Encyclopedia Botanica Patreon

OR

Make a one-time contribution to the EB podcast

More about this weeks guest expert:

Colin McCrate is the founder of the Seattle Urban Farm Co. He has been growing food organically for over 15 years and has designed and has managed projects ranging from multi-acre farms to small backyard gardens. The author of two books; Food Grown Right, In Your Backyard (Mountaineers Books, 2012) and The High-Yield Garden Planner (Storey Publishing, 2015); he believes that urban food production can help increase public awareness of environmental, health, and social issues.  

About the Host:

Hello, I’m Hilary Dahl. Outside of this podcast, my job is to help beginning and experienced growers create beautiful and productive gardens. I have the unique experience of working in on a wide range of projects, from small backyard garden plots to multi-acre vegetable farms. I also work in my own garden every day when I get home. This podcast is an opportunity to discuss seasonal garden topics and share the the joy of growing your own food. 

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In this episode Hilary and guest expert Micaela Colley of the Organic Seed Alliance discuss terminology related to seed-saving, including: "open-pollinated", "heirloom" and "hybrid" seeds.

HOW TO LISTEN:
  • Subscribe in iTunes , Stitcher, or any of your favorite podcast players to have new episodes sent directly to your device.
  • Listen right now in your browser by clicking above.
SHOW NOTES:
  • What is the difference between "open sourced" seed and "patented seed"?
    • Open sourced seed is protected from privatization, whereas patented and protected seeds cannot be saved, replanted, or shared by farmers and gardeners. For more on how you can support breeders growing open-sourced seed, visit: https://osseeds.org/
  • "Open pollinated" seed:
    • "Open pollinated" generally refers to seeds that are pollinated by insect, bird, wind, humans, or other natural mechanisms. Open-pollinated seeds will "breed true", meaning that when the plants of an open-pollinated variety self-pollinate, or are pollinated by another plant of the same variety, the resulting seeds will produce plants that are almost identical to their parents. There are no restrictions on the flow of pollen between plants, so open-pollinated plants tend to be more genetically diverse. This can cause a greater amount of variation within plant populations, which allows plants to slowly adapt to local growing conditions and climate year-to-year. When planning to grow out plants for seed, look for open pollinated (OP) varieties.
  • Heirloom seeds:
    • Heirloom seeds are seeds that have been saved by farmers and home gardeners for generations, generally 50 years or more. Heirlooms tend to be open pollinated, but open pollinated seeds aren't necessarily heirlooms. 
  • Hybrid seeds:
    • Hybrid seeds are bread through a controlled method of pollination in which the pollen of two different species or varieties is crossed by human intervention. Hybridization can occur naturally through random crosses, but commercially available hybridized seed, often labeled as F1, are deliberately created to breed a desired trait. These hybridized seed varieties will usually not "breed true", meaning that their offspring will have different genetic traits than the parent plants, making hybrids less ideal for home seed saving. With that said, the seed saved from hybrids is still viable so you can still experiment with saving hybrid seeds. 
Foundational books on seed saving: Seed Savers Exchange By Suzanne Ashworth  

Like what you hear? Please share our podcast with a friend. Subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast player so you never miss a beat. And we'd really appreciate you showing us some love by leaving a rating and review on iTunes. 

Have a topic you'd like see us dig in to? Leave us a note in the comment section below or #EBpodcast on Instagram and Twitter!

We need your support to keep this podcast going! Any amount helps, so consider support us one of two ways:  

Become an Encyclopedia Botanica Patreon

OR

Make a one-time contribution to the EB podcast

More about this weeks guest expert:

Micaela Colley leads OSA’s research and education programs focused on organic seed production and organic plant breeding. She is the author of several publications. Micaela frequently teaches and speaks on organic seed topics and collaborates on research projects nationally. Micaela is also pursuing a PhD focused on organic and participatory plant breeding under Dr. Edith Lammerts van Bueren at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

https://seedalliance.org/
Instagram: @organic_seed_alliance
Facebook: @organic.seed.alliance

About the Host:

Hello, I’m Hilary Dahl. Outside of this podcast, my job is to help beginning and experienced growers create beautiful and productive gardens. I have the unique experience of working in on a wide range of projects, from small backyard garden plots to multi-acre vegetable farms. I also work in my own garden every day when I get home. This podcast is an opportunity to discuss seasonal garden topics and share the the joy of growing your own food. 

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In this episode, Hilary and guest expert Justin Wheeler of the Xerces Society will be talking about how to create an effective pollinator habitat in your garden by choosing cultivars that support beneficial insects.

HOW TO LISTEN:
  • Subscribe in iTunes , Stitcher, or any of your favorite podcast players to have new episodes sent directly to your device.
  • Listen right now in your browser by clicking above.
SHOW NOTES:
  • What is the Xerces Society?
    • Xerces Society is invertebrate conservation organization - so they work to promote the conservation of animals like bees, butterflies, freshwater mussels, and insects. Broadly their work is focused on restoring habitat for these animals, protecting endangered species, and making science based recommendations regarding pesticides, land use, and other factors that impact the health of invertebrates. In addition to advocacy and policy work, the Xerces staff is actively conducting research and also creating real-world habitat across the country
  • Wha's the difference between pollinators and beneficial insects? 
    • There's a lot of overlap. In general, pollinators would mainly encompass bees and butterflies as insect pollinators, and "beneficial insect" may be used as a catch-all which would include beetles, wasps, flies and other insects that are seen as predatory as their first "job" and may be seen as pollinators second. The reality is that quality habitat should be supporting all of these insects - both pollinators and beneficials. If you're a gardener however, you may be more interested in attracting butterflies - and plant selections should reflect that. If you are a farmer and are interested in increasing pumpkin pollination for example, or building up populations of beneficial predators to support crop pests you'll want to tweak your habitat design in favor of those strategies
  • Why is it's important to for the home gardener or market farmer to incorporate pollinator habitat into their planting plans?
    • There's been a lot of research in recent years showing that pollinator populations are actually doing better in some ways in urban and suburban landscapes where they are largely protected from monocultures and pesticide use found on ag lands - so homeowners and gardeners are actually really well positioned to make a sizeable impact in promoting pollinators. For farmers the benefits are really clear - more pollinators mean higher yields and higher quality fruit set. Using insects as pest control can further this benefit by not only improving pollination but by acting as a first line of defense against crop pests. 
  • What does the term cultivar mean?
    • The term cultivar is thrown around in the trade to mean any plant that's been bred for a specific characteristic. Some "cultivars" are really just "selections" - by that I mean someone found a phlox growing in the wild that's highly resistant to powdery mildew, so they bred that one plant out into the cultivar called 'Jeana'. The phlox is not really very different than the straight species in terms of its ability to support wildlife - it's just a selection from the straight species that happens to have good disease resistance. Another similar example is Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm'. It's been the most widely bred cultivar of black-eyed susan for decades. Almost any black-eyed susan you find in a nursery is going to be this cultivar. It was bred for shorter stems and for its habit of heavy flowering - but it came from a plant naturally showing these traits in nature.
  • How is a cultivar different than a hybrid?
    • When plants have been hybridized, they are bred to change their bloom or foliage color. Any plant that has been hybridized is going to be sterile, which means its not going to have pollen, and may have reduced nectar available. Some of my favorite cultivars of redbud are completely sterile - which make them useless for supporting pollinators. Lots of echinacea varieties have been bred to change the color of their bloom - which means they may actually flower in colors that pollinators can't see or are less attracted to. Lots of echinacea has also been bred to exhibit double-blooms or more complex flower shapes that pollinators can't even get into.
  • Not all plant cultivars are created equal when it comes to choosing the right plants for your pollinator garden. Why are some cultivars effective in creating habitat for beneficial insects, while others don't?
    • I want to be clear that I'm not saying cultivars are universally bad - but if your primary goal is to provide the best quality plants for pollinators, sticking to straight species or finding cultivars that are as close to the original as possible should be the goal. That said, I'm a realist, and I know that you're generally only going to find straight species native plants at nurseries that specifically specialize in them. I would just caution folks that if they see someting at Lowes or Home Depot tagged "pollinator friendly" - that doesn't mean it truly is, and they may need to do a little research to find out what it was bred for.

Below: Honey bee on flowering cilantro

Books by Xerces Society:  By The Xerces Society By The Xerces Society By The Xerces Society  Related articles: 

Like what you hear? Please share our podcast with a friend. Subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast player so you never miss a beat. And we'd really appreciate you showing us some love by leaving a rating and review on iTunes. 

Have a topic you'd like see us dig in to? Leave us a note in the comment section below or #EBpodcast on Instagram and Twitter!

We need your support to keep this podcast going! Any amount helps, so consider support us one of two ways:  

Become an Encyclopedia Botanica Patreon

OR

Make a one-time contribution to the EB podcast

More about this weeks guest expert:
Justin Wheeler is a Web and Communications Specialist at Xerces Society. He's also an expert gardener and pollinator enthusiast who is particularly well-versed in the types of plants and flowers that are most beneficial to pollinators. 

https://xerces.org/
Instagram: @xercessociety
Facebook: @xercessociety

About the Host:

Hello, I’m Hilary Dahl. Outside of this podcast, my job is to help beginning and experienced growers create beautiful and productive gardens. I have the unique experience of working in on a wide range of projects, from small backyard garden plots to multi-acre vegetable farms. I also work in my own garden every day when I get home. This podcast is an opportunity to discuss seasonal garden topics and share the the joy of growing your own food. 

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This week Hilary is joined by Alley Swiss, the owner of Filaree Garlic Farm. Filaree Farm, which is know for their premium quality garlic seed, has been expanding their offerings to include several new seed products such as shallot sets, seed potatoes, sweet potato plants, and the newest addition, asparagus crowns. This episode is all about asparagus (well..maybe they discuss garlic a LITTLE), so tune in to learn about how to plant, grow and care for this low-maintenance perennial.

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SHOW NOTES:

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How asparagus plants grow
  • How and when to plant asparagus
  • Selecting a site for your asparagus plants
  • Harvesting and fertilization 

Important Take-aways:

  • When is the best time to plant asparagus crowns?
    • Asparagus can be planted up to 6 weeks before your last frost date, but anytime in the spring is fine!
  • In what type of growing conditions does asparagus thrive?
    • Asparagus need full sun, well drained soil, and a well prepared dedicated space!
  • How do I plant asparagus crowns?
    • Dig a 8 in. deep trench, spread out roots of the crown on the bottom of the trench. Space each crown 18 in. apart. Cover with 3-4 in. of garden soil and continue to fill in with soil every two weeks, like you would with potatoes, until the trench is full. 
  • Should I fertilize my asparagus? 
    • Fertilize asparagus plants after you've finished harvesting for the season. The added nutrients will feed the flowering fronds and encourage them to thrive, photosynthesis, and replenish the energy stored in the underground rhizomes. 

Left to right: Asparagus crowns, harvestable asparagus, asparagus fronds.




1st year asparagus in a 18 in. deep wood-framed raised bed. 

For more on growing perennial edibles:  By Colin McCrate, Brad Halm By Colin McCrate, Brad Halm  

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More about this weeks guest expert:
Alley Swiss is the owner of Filaree Garlic Farm, an independently owned grower and supplier of premium quality garlic seed for 30 years. As keepers of the largest privately held collection of garlic in North America, Filaree Farm's mission is to preserve and provide others with the opportunity to grow their more than 100 strains of garlic- collected from throughout the world. In recent years they have added several new seed products including shallot sets, seed potatoes, sweet potato plants, and the newest addition, asparagus crowns.

https://www.filareefarm.com/
Instagram: @filareegarlicfarm
Facebook: @filareegarlicfarm

About the Host:

Hello, I’m Hilary Dahl. Outside of this podcast, my job is to help beginning and experienced growers create beautiful and productive gardens. I have the unique experience of working in on a wide range of projects, from small backyard garden plots to multi-acre vegetable farms. I also work in my own garden every day when I get home. This podcast is an opportunity to discuss seasonal garden topics and share the the joy of growing your own food. 

Read Full Article

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