Avant Gardener – 061013

Hosts Derek and Carolyn Fell report a good start to the planting season, with warm season crops such as peppers making good growth. After some tips on varieties to choose among both sweet bells peppers, such as the cold tolerant Gypsy hybrid and hot peppers such as the mild Anaheim which is the kind used for stuffing with cheese, chopped onions and chopped meat in Mexican restaurants. Their expert this session is Kirk Hammond, director of marketing for Wolmanized wood products who agreed to the interview in place of Huck DeVenzio, recently retired from the company. Kirk confirms that the ingredients used to make treated lumber last longer (up to 40 years) are completely safe for garden structures such as raised beds because the ingredients mostly stay in the wood, and in any case are non-toxic, following a decision by the industry to discontinue potentially dangerous chemicals. Kirk recommends a planting depth of at least 8 inches for raised beds and units that measure 4 x 8 inches for easy access to the plants. He also comments on the suitability of treated lumber for other garden structures such as arches, arbors and pergolas, also bridges, benches, boardwalks, gazebos and fences. Answering emails, Derek offers advice on dividing bearded irises, growing cushion chrysanthemums from seerd, and whether the Encore series of azaleas really can produce several flushes of flowers each season. The fells also remind listeners that their monthly full-color newsletter titled the Avant Gardener is available on line at avantgardener.info and timely questions can be sent to derekfell@verizon.net..