Davis Garden Show, best radio podcast for Southern California gardening

Davis Garden Show, best radio podcast for Southern California gardening

How can the un-local Davis Garden Show be the best one for Southern California? It’s partly that the radio show/podcast is that good, and it’s partly that co-host Don Shor grew up in La Jolla and knows about growing plants here better than we do and kindly remembers to make side notes about how gardening works in our slightly drier and milder neck of the woods.

Last week’s episode perfectly represents why the Davis Garden Show is the best. In this January 5, 2017 episode, Shor talked all about the timely topic of deciduous fruit trees, from bare root planting, to training and pruning, to the meanings of terms like “sucker” and “pollenizer.”

The episode is so packed with information that you’ll want to listen multiple times. Shor articulates the concepts so well that even if they’re not new for you, you’ll enjoy listening to him describe them. But he isn’t reading from a horticulture book. Shor has studied horticulture formally at U.C. Davis, but he has also run a retail nursery, Redwood Barn Nursery, for decades, and he grows just about everything on his large property in the Davis area. When he says he recommends training most fruit trees to a “modified central leader” structure, it’s because he has trained many trees in other styles over the years, and he gives reasons and examples to support why modified central leader is his favorite for backyard growers. (The photo above shows Fuyu persimmon trees that have a modified central leader structure.)

In other words, when you listen to the Davis Garden Show you get not only an education but also ideas that are concrete and with which you can take action.

The Davis Garden Show broadcasts every Thursday at noon, when Shor is usually joined by co-host Lois Richter. You can listen to the show live from the KDRT website, but I always stream or download the podcasts on my computer or phone, which you can do from here or here.

Listen to the January 5, 2017 episode, and also listen to the excellent previous episode about fruit trees from December 29, 2016. From there you’ll probably be hooked like me, and you can browse past episodes for topics of interest, and you can listen to the latest episode for timely topics.

Best resource for growing avocados

While there isn’t a great single resource for growing avocados at home, the best of what’s available is a handbook edited by Gary Bender, former farm advisor in San Diego County. He taught my master gardener class on avocados, and he really knows his stuff. The handbook is split into two “books.”

Book 1 discusses avocado history, botany, variety selection and planting.

Book 2 discusses irrigation, diseases and pruning.

Farmer to Farmer podcast

Gardeners and farmers are kin, and I’ve found myself listening incessantly to a particular podcast where one farmer, Chris Blanchard, interviews other farmers. The Farmer to Farmer podcast has given this gardener wheelbarrows of food for thought.

Some of my favorite episodes are the ones with:

Nigel Walker of Eatwell Farm, from whom I gained a deeper appreciation for soil,

Jim Gerritsen of Wood Prairie Family Farm, from whom I learned a whole new universe worth of insight on potatoes,

Bob Cannard, who challenged me to reassess my relationship with weeds,

and Karl Hammer of Vermont Compost Company, who would be entertaining enough to listen to even if I didn’t care about compost. But maybe the most fascinating thing I heard in the interview was that he raises hundreds of laying hens that live solely off of his mountains of compost.

Grafting avocados, the best how-to resource I know of

Tip-grafted a Pinkerton scion onto a seedling here just last week. If I could do it over, I would try a cleft graft instead of a splice.

Tip-grafted a Pinkerton scion onto a seedling here beside a Hass tree just last week. Buds are pushing through the Parafilm already.


I just found a great resource on grafting avocados. Of course, I just finished doing my grafting for the season, but it will serve me well in the future.

Written by some of the most experienced people in the world, specific to California conditions, called “Propagating Avocados,” the University of California published it.

Avocadosource.com makes it available online HERE.