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Avant Gardener – 042213

Hosts Derek and Carolyn begin the show with a discussion about fertilizing and the differences between a chemical fertilizer that might give a high analysis of nutrients (such as 10-20-10) and an organic fertilizer that might list a low analysis (such as 3-4-3), and why a straight comparison of the percentages is not necessarily a good indication of value. Derek explains that the three numbers represent the three major plant nutrients – nitrogen for healthy leaves, phosphorus for flowering and fruiting, and potash for overall vigor and disease resistance. He favors organic fertilizers, even with a low analysis because they are generally more efficient at feeding the soil to benefit plants. The Fells’ guest this session is perennial plant breeder, Dan Heims, of Terra Nova Nurseries, in Oregon. Dan explains the popularity of some of his breeding milestones, such as heucheras (coral bells), kniphofia (red-hot poker plant), multi-colored coneflowers and drought-tolerant sedums. Answering emails, Derek recommends some plants for boggy soils, such as water irises, and gives advice on designs for establishing a decorative herb garden. He also provides a reminder of how the Avant Gardener full-color newsletter can be viewed on line, with a free look at a recent issue.