A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 49 – Hosta

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“Teeny-Weeny-Bikini” – Summer 2013 – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – A mini/micro variety that grows no bigger than a fist…

“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

Sorry this post is running a little late… I was up late writing… As a result… I kinda slept in… If you consider 5:30 sleeping in… I again want to mention my online Q&A about Plant Guilds on February 14th at 2PM EST… #groundchat on Twitter… This will be my first time doing an online garden chat… Apparently… The audience ranges from 70,000 to a million people… Needless to say I am a little nervous…

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So… You might not know this… But my girlfriend and I are Hosta fanatics… Collectors if you will… Right off the top of my head I can think of 20 varieties we grow… A small number though when you consider the fact that there are around 40,000 named varieties…

A few years ago my girlfriend and I joined the Western Pennsylvania Daffodil and Hosta Society… You may be asking yourself why Daffodils and Hosta… The reason is that the dafs come up early in the spring… The Hosta come up around the exact same time the Daffodils are dying back for the year… The large leaves of the Hosta in effect cover and hide the withering leaves…

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“Earth Angel” – Summer 2013 – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – A larger variet with light green variegated leaves… But the magic does not come from the leaves on this particular Hosta… The massive blossoms are heavily scented… Often reaching the farthest corners of my backyard… Especially after a rain…
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I wrote a poem about this Hosta last Summer – https://chriscondello.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/earth-angel/

Most people don’t know this but Hostas are edible… The tender leaves can be eaten raw… But I suggest you cook them up… The texture is reminiscent of spinach… The taste is really bland… It isn’t exactly something to write home about…

Hostas prefer shade… The large leaves of the plant make it ideal for absorbing little bits of sunlight… This is also the reason this plant does not do well in full sun… The large leaves absorb to much of the light… This results in what I call “sun sick”… Which is when a plant intended for shade is planted in full sun… The plant will actually overdose on sunlight… The result is a thin plant with small leaves… A result of the plant trying to cut down on the available leaf area that is absorbing the sunlight… Plants are smarter than you think…

Hosta propagates readily by seed… Simply leaving the flower stalks on the plants through the winter will accomplish this… This plant will also hybridize freely… The result… The 40,000 (and climbing) named varieties of Hosta we have now…

This year is the year I get my hands on an “Empress Wu” Hosta… The empress grows to 4′ tall and 6′ around… It is the largest hosta… When you see it… It looks like something that grew when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth… Truly a magnificent plant… One that I will buy this Summer… The hard part is finding a place to put it…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hosta

For my Hosta related Practical Permaculture Post – Daffodil and Hosta

These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring when I start writing more… My source (where applicable) is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… You can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com

Remember to tip… My Bitcoin digital wallet address is… 1JsKwa3vYgy4LZjNk4YmPEHFJNjPt2wDJj

Get your own wallet at CoinBase.com

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A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 48 – Comfrey

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“Comfrey at the Peace House” – Summer 2013 – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA

“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

We had freezing rain last night and the entire neighborhood is glazed over… I am going to try to take some photos when the sun comes up… I also wanted to mention that on February 14th at 2PM EST… I will be guest hosting a Q&A on #groundchat… The subject will be “plant guilds”… I will put the details together and update tomorrow… I am also doing a hands on fruit tree maintenance/pruning demonstration (with a short grafting demo if time allows) March 15th at a Community Garden in Bellevue… This is through growpgh… Registration at growpgh.org… Nevermind – Fruit Tree Demo is now SOLD OUT… I was not expecting that…

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Comfrey… You either love it… Or you hate it… I fall somewhere in the middle… Long considered a silver bullet in the permaculture and organic gardening world… And I will admit it is a very useful plant… But in my own personal experiences… I have noticed it is the go-to suggestion for the inexperienced gardener… If you have ever had to remove Comfrey you will know what I am talking about…

At one time Comfrey had a very bad reputation as being extremely invasive… Over time the sexual prowess of the plant has been bred out… The resulting plant “Bocking 14” is sterile… 99% of the Comfrey I come into contact with is in fact this sterile variety… This solved the plants rapid spread by seed… Sure… But it is still damn near impossible to remove… This is the reason I say only the inexperienced suggest Comfrey without a disclaimer…

I consider Comfrey a “borderline” plant… Meaning… It should be planted with care… You really have to take a good look at the gardener’s skill level… Comfrey is not for beginners… Comfrey is not for small spaces… Comfrey is not for the people who are uninitiated with a garden spade… There are other “nitrogen-fixing” options out there…

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“Bocking 14” – Summer 2013 – Whitney Avenue/Hamnett Way – Wilkinsburg, PA

Comfrey… As far as “nutrient accumulation” is concerned… Is really one of the kings or Queens of the plant world… There are very few plants that can compare to the amount of work this plant can accomplish passively… Although I warn of growing it… I do grow it… Just not in my own garden… I personally grow it in the yards of abandoned houses… Two or three times a year I walk around with my garden spade… I take my spade and place it at roughly a 45 degree angle where the base of the plant meets the soil… One good push down will sever the top of the plant… After I have harvested a decent amount… I take it home and mulch my gardens with it… After a few days in the sun black ooze starts seeping out of the plant… That’s the good stuff…

You can also take your comfrey and ball it up in an old t-shirt… When the shirt starts turning black… Throw it in a five gallon bucket of water for a few days… You now have nitrogen tea ready for immediate application…

Removal is a pain in the ass… But it is not impossible… Start digging 20″ out from the crown… Dig to a minimum depth of 12″… I go to 20″… Remove the soil and put it in a wheelbarrow… Go through it with your hands and remove the roots… Comfrey has a very deep taproot… Any roots left in the soil will potentially sprout so I put a layer of cardboard in the bottom of the hole… Backfill and carefully monitor… Persistence will pay off…

Every time the subject of Comfrey comes up… I learn something… Please feel free to add your own experiences to the mix in the comments below…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfrey

If you want my permaculture post on comfrey – Practical Permaculture – Comfrey Cautions

These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring when I start writing more… My source (where applicable) is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… You can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com

Remember to tip… My Bitcoin digital wallet address is… 1JsKwa3vYgy4LZjNk4YmPEHFJNjPt2wDJj

Get your own wallet at CoinBase.com

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.