Avant Gardener – 041513

During this segment Derek and Carolyn present more tips on starting seeds, including those with a hard seed coat like okra, morning glories, sweet peas and cannas, and also fine seeds like carrots and lettuce. Their guest interview is with Byron Martin, owner of Logree’s Greenhouses, Connecticut. Logees produces a colorful mail-order catalog with unusual house plants, especially fruiting kinds. This includes various kinds of banana to fruit indoors, citrus, dwarf papaya, dwarf avocado, and even a dwarf mango – all suitable for growing in pots. Among e-mail questions answered is one from a lady wanting to know what variety to plant for fruits the size of a peach like she sees this time of year in the supermarket, and whether it is necessary to remove flowers that form after planting a strawberry, and if so for how long to remove the flowers, and why. Another listener asks about growing hardy kiwi vines and how to help them survive a severe winter, while another fruit grower wants to know of any raspeberries that can crop more than once a season. For a listener wondering about planting a bluegrass lawn, Derek instead recommends improved perennial ryegrass like Manhattan II developed by Rutgers University, and used as a mix with bluegrass in most lawn grass packages. The ryegrass will germinate ahead of the bluegrass and establish a thick turf that is more drought-resistant and hardier than bluegrass, with the bluegrass filling in only in spots where the ryegrass fails to establish itself.