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Avant Gardener – 102813

Hosts Derek and Carolyn Fell describe conditions at their Pennsylvania test gardens, where light frosts have occurred, and also their frost-free test garden on Sanibel Island, where Derek has been picking muscadine grapes, bananas, coconuts and Meyer lemons. He describes the new October issue of their Avant Gardener newsletter on-line, including a report about the success of Vermont-based High Mowing Seeds which has increased its sales from $18,000 to $4.2 million in just 11 years. The Fells’ guest is Gail, inventor of the Green Cycler pre-composter, a handy gadget that fits on your kitchen countertop and chews up kitchen waste into small pieces for faster, more efficient composting. Gail explains the need for pre-composting and how soil organisms like earthworms and beneficial microbes can manufacture essential plant nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potash and trace elements. In the email segment of the show Derek tell a listener how to decide whether to invest in a free-standing greenhouse or a lean-to model and the important difference that glass can make compared to clear plastic panes. For another listen he recommends some early-flowering magnolia varieties include two new yellow varieties, and advises a third listener on the best way to store seeds gathered from flowers, like Cosmos and vegetables, like pole beans and why it is important to differentiate between seed gathered from non-hybrids and hybrids. Also, whether it is legal to save and grow from seed that is patented.