A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 89 – Skunk Cabbage

SkunkCabbage

“Symplocarpus foetidus – Skunk Cabbage” – Spring 2013 – Frick Park – Pittsburgh, PA – Blooming right now in my neck of the woods…

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…

Tomorrow is the last day of Winter!

I know what your thinking… Skunk Cabbage? Not exactly a plant you would expect with only two posts left in this series… Symplocarpus foetidus is not exactly what most people would consider an interesting plant… Well… I intend to change that with this post…

Symplocarpus foetidus… Commonly known as “Eastern Skunk Cabbage”… Or simply “Skunk Cabbage” is one of the nastiest smelling plants I have ever come in contact with… The leaves when broken emit a foul smell similar to the smell of rotting meat… A few years back I decided to test this… I stomped a clump with my shoe and put my nose near it… It burnt so bad I had to go home… It was probably 4 hours before my sense of smell came back…

Skunk Cabbage is one of the first plants to bloom in the spring… Its flowers are produced on a long spadix contained within a spathe… 4-6″ tall and purple in color… The nasty odor of this plant is used to attract pollinating flies that are also active this early in the season…

Skunk Cabbage is one of the few plants that exhibits thermogenesis… Because this plant blooms so early in the year it is not uncommon for this blooming period to occur when the ground is still frozen solid… SC has developed the ability to generate heat… Often reaching temperatures 95 degrees F above air temperature… This helps melt the ground around the rhizome and allows the plant to flower whenever it is ready… It is also thought that this area of warmth also helps attract pollinators…

Believe it or not… Skunk Cabbage is also edible… Kinda… The leaves can be dried and then cooked… Raw they will apparently burn your mouth… SC was commonly used in medicine in the 19th century… Today it is common in water gardens… Though I have to caution… The rhizomes often attain a thickness of 12″ or more… Removal can be difficult…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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

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 88 – Hyacinth

HyacinthOnSide©

“Hyacinth Breeze” – Spring 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…

2 Days to Go

Hyacinth… I wanted to save it till late in this series because it is high up on my list… There’s something about the sweet scent of Hyacinth… Something about the way it travels in the breeze… In fact… “Hyacinth Breeze” is something I am constantly writing about… When fully blooming in the perfect atmospheric conditions the scent will knock your socks off… And by perfect I mean those days in early spring when the air is predominantly still and slightly humid… These conditions allow the scent to accumulate on the moisture drops… When the wind blows the scented moisture in the air travels around the house…

Growing Hyacinth is ridiculously simple… Plant them in the fall… 4 to 6″ deep… The bulbs are poisonous so squirrels will not dig them up… Hyacinth is a perennial bulb and will provide blooms for many years… The offspring will also bloom… But they rarely bloom as profusely and in fact resemble the wild version closely…

I wanted to share a few poems from the past… Hyacinth related of course…

Hyacinth Breeze – I may rewrite this one… I can do much better now…

Garden Prayer #1 – Not Hyacinth related… But written in Spring…

The Eyes of Spring – One of the first…

Garden Prayer #3 – I have actually written close to 100 garden prayers… But I have only shared 4… Some are better than anything I have ever posted… Some of them were written on paper and placed underneath whatever I happened to be planting at that time… My garden prayers are special to me… Some are meant for you… Some are meant for me… And some are meant for the trees…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyacinth_(plant)

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 87 – Tomato

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“Hanging at the Community Garden” – Summer 2013 – Hamnett Place Community Garden – Wilkinsburg, PA – I don’t know the variety… But this was the only tomato in the whole place that wasn’t showing the final stages of late blight…

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…

3 Days to Go

Allow me to start this off by saying I am working on a series of posts dedicated to tomatoes… It was originally intended to be just a single post but has blossomed into so much information I have no choice but to break it up… Consider this post a teaser…

Tomatoes are the most popular garden plant grown today… In fact… I think it is safe to assume that if you have ever grown a vegetable garden… You have grown… Or attempted to grow tomatoes… Currently “heirloom” and “grafted” varieties are trending… Heirloom varieties in particular were at one time only available from specific seed catalogs and specialty nurseries… Now I regularly see them at the big box stores… Furthermore… I find them in the discount box stores… And I have to admit… They are relatively decent plants given the fact that they are ALWAYS cared for by inexperienced people who don’t give a damn about the plant…

Which brings me to my first two points… Heirloom or Conventional?.. And the much more recent option… Own-root or grafted?..

To answer the first question there are a few misconceptions I must answer… Heirloom varieties are touted for being available in cool colors and sizes… And they come in many variations of texture and flavor… And personally I will admit… As anyone with experience in heirloom tomatoes will tell you… The flavor of a vine ripened heirloom tomato like “Cherokee Purple”… Or my absolute favorite “Brandywine” is unequalled by any of the “standard” variety tomatoes available today…

Heirloom variety seeds were often handed down through generations until they were at some point discovered by horticulturists… These seeds were collected and studied until they eventually became available to the public… Some varieties have skipped the science step and have gone from grandmas cupboard to the seed catalogs rather hastily…

There is just one little problem with many of these varieties… The most common issue you will run into is many heirloom varieties are not heavy producers… I am currently thinking of the variety “Cherokee Purple”… Although this variety grows some of the most incredible tasting tomatoes you will ever eat… It only grows a few tomatoes in a season… Albeit they are very high-quality tomatoes…

This brings me to my next question and point… Own-root or grafted?.. For this I am going to again reference my “Cherokee Purple”… The purpose of the rootstock is to make the plant more vigorous… And Honestly… This is a “non-problem”… I don’t know about you… But I don’t have a problem with my tomato plants not growing fast enough… Or vigorous enough… In my own experience the grafted varieties grow really fast… But they are often attached to heirloom varieties that do not produce a ton of fruit… So what you often end up with is an extremely green and large plant… But it will still only grow as many fruit as the same variety on its original root… Grafted varieties tend to get unruly faster than own-root plants…

So to sum that up… I am anti-grafted tomato plants… I believe they are trendy… That’s all they are now and that is all they will be… Don’t waste your money… Heirloom varieties on the other hand I am all for… I will say this… Do some research… Do not go to the nursery without an idea of what you want… It is easy to get lost when you are surrounded in varieties…

The nursery at the end of my street sells over 100 varieties of heirloom tomatoes… If you don’t know a thing about the specific nuances of a variety you will end up buying plants you don’t want… Make a list and go prepared… Otherwise… You may end up with the plants that aren’t selling well… And trust me… Out of the hundred varieties available up the street… I would say only 10 are true stars among the crowd… If that…

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“Night of the Living Tomato – Late Blight” – Summer 2013 – Hamnett Place Community Garden – Wilkinsburg, PA – The ugly face of late blight…

Another very serious issue associated with heirloom variety tomatoes is the lack of blight resistance in many varieties… Blight has become increasingly common in my neck of the woods… So much so in fact that last year we experienced a mortality rate of nearly 100%… Not to say we didn’t get our hands on a few here and there… But by the end of the summer almost every tomato plant I saw looked like the plant in the photograph above…

I predicted this would happen a few years ago… The problem being caused by the nursery up the street… Now… It’s important to mention that I am not saying they caused the blight… What I am saying is the availability of tomato plants in my neighborhood has meant that everyone has at least a few… A side product of the love of organic gardening is the love of composting… Again… Not really an issue… But when an inexperienced gardeners plants die of blight they often have no clue what it is… Or how to deal with the dead plant… They very often throw it in the compost heap where the disease festers for the winter… The next year the disease is already present in the yard… And as a result late blight is a guarantee…

Plants that have late blight should be pulled immediately… Once you see signs it is too late… The plants should be disposed of as opposed to composted… This should be done in bright sunlight because apparently the spores are killed by UV light… Never handle blight infected plants in the rain… Again… Bright-sunshine only…

I have so much more information… And I owe much of it to the fact that over 100 varieties are available right up the street… For those interested… The name of the place is – Garden Dreams Urban Farm and Nursery – If you happen to go please tell them I sent you…

This post has gotten out of hand… Sorry… I will start releasing my larger series closer to tomato season…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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

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 86 – Veronica

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“Reaching – Veronica spicata” – 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…

4 Days to Go

I have a ridiculous amount of stuff to do today… Starting with this blog post… And ending with a fruit tree maintenance and theory workshop I will be presenting this afternoon… Depending on time I may even demonstrate a few grafting techniques…

Veronica… More specifically… Veronica spicata… “Spiked Speedwell”… Is a flowering perennial plant known for its spikes of tightly packed flowers commonly available in blue, pink, and white…

Veronica spicata is a very easy plant to grow… It grows from a slowly expanding crown… I prune mine twice a year… Once after the spring blooms die… And again at the end of the season… I don’t recommend pruning in early spring as it tends to eliminate the early spring blooms…

I have had considerable luck digging this plant out of the ground and dividing the root mass into 4 parts… I have had a 100% success rate with this method as long as each piece has some of the crown attached…

I believe this plant produces sterile seeds… I have tried to save and germinate without any luck… Also I have let it self seed on its own… Again… No luck… This post has more info relating to Veronica spicata than Wikipedia so I am not even including the link to the plant photographed above… The link provided below is for the plant genus…

I am so sorry this has to be a short post… But the sun is now up and I get to go collect scion wood for my demonstration this afternoon… As always…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veronica_(plant)

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 85 – Ironweed

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“New York Ironweed” – Late Summer 2013 – Frick Park – Pittsburgh, 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…

5 Days to Go

Vernonia noveboracensis… But I prefer the common name “Ironweed”… Or in the case of the photograph above “New York Ironweed”… Ironweed is a shade of blue-purple that is a perfect compliment to the golden-yellow color of “Goldenrod”…Being that they bloom at the same time… In the same environment… One could go as far as to say they evolved to grow together… Which they did…

I think it is important to remember that plants that are beneficial to each other typically don’t clash in physical appearance… In my own experience… Companion plants are often complimentary to each other in more ways than just health…

Ironweed is one of the seeds I recently collected and am now germinating… I plan on doing this plant again next Winter with more details… One fact I can tell you… It is downright aggressive in swampy conditions… It will chase other plants out…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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

Photo Specific – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernonia_noveboracensis

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 84 – Kale

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“Herleqiun Shake – Curly Kale” – Summer 2013 – Hamnett Place Community Garden – Wilkinsburg, PA – Harlequin Bug shaking its ass on a stunning Kale leaf… Shake that Brassica… Oleracea…

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…

6 Days to Go

I was first introduced to Kale in the form of a gifted plant… I had no idea what it was… And I had never eaten it before… So I grew it… In fact… I ended up growing lots of it… But I never really tried to eat it… Enough people around me liked it so I basically just gave it all away… That lasted up till two years ago… Simply out of curiosity I steamed some up… Sautéed it with roasted red peppers and onions… And fell in love… This year I plan on growing more than last year…

Kale has a tendency to get buggy… We are not the only creatures that find its leaves delectable… But given the fact that it is the leaves we eat… Spraying with any kind of pesticide… Organic or chemical… Is kind of a gamble… There is no silver bullet to the insect problem… I would recommend diversity as the most organic solution… Flowering plants attract predators… The type of predators they attract are not just based on the type of flowers you plant… But are based on the flowers coupled with the food source available… In this case… Kale and its associated pests…

Although diversity does not mean pest attacks will stop… It does mean your garden will be more biologically prepared to defend itself than if you had only planted Kale… A garden is a system… A system that requires many different parts… When one of those parts gets broken or eliminated the other parts wear faster and fail… It is our jobs as permaculturists to figure out what those parts are and maintain the hell out of them… When we find a missing part… We replace it… In the case of our kale… When a pest is identified we should immediately hit the books… Every pest has a predator… Every predator is attracted to something… Figure out what that something is and plant the hell out of it…

Windcrest Farms Companion Plant List – One of the better lists available…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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

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 83 – Sweet Woodruff

"Sweet Woodruff" - © chriscondello 2013 - Wilkinsburg, PA - Private Garden - Although plants will grow... Don't expect them to be the most prolific bloomers in your garden...

“Sweet Woodruff” – Summer 2013 – Private Garden – Wilkinsburg, PA – One of the few plants that will grow in the shady conditions under a Conifer…

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…

7 Days to Go

Galium odoratum… Common name “Sweet Woodruff”… Is a perennial plant that is built for the shade… It is deer resistant… Drought tolerant… And as the photograph above illustrates… Will flourish in the dense shade and rain shield underneath of a Conifer tree

Sweet Woodruff is a ground-covering plant that grows to about 6″ tall… It produces clusters of tiny white flowers that have a sweet scent… After the flowers comes a profusion of tiny “burr-like” seeds… The seeds are like Velcro… They stick to the fur of animals and therefore tend to get around…

As far as the garden is concerned… Sweet Woodruff is one of those plants that will grow just about anywhere you put it… Though it is happiest… And will bloom the fullest on the edge of full-shade to part-sun… I have also noticed plants exposed to a little bit of sun have a stronger scent than those grown in full shade…

birdy

“Stately – First Photo” – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – So I got a new camera… Canon EOS Rebel T3… This is the first shot I took that wasn’t me just trying to figure the thing out… I absolutely love my new camera…

Purchasing this plant is really not necessary… If you know someone who grows it they will typically be more than happy to share it with you… As far as division and propagation are concerned… I don’t know how to candy-coat it… Grab and handful and yank… Take it home and bury a few inches of the root end… And BOOM!.. Your done…

———————————————————————————————

Yesterday was 65 degrees… Sunny and beautiful… Today it is going to snow… And tonight it is going down to 8 degrees… But Spring is close… You can smell it in the air… And you can feel it in the ground… You just need faith… Faith that there is always a rainbow at the end of winter…

And if there isn’t… Grow one…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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

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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