Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January 2016 Edition 1

My year begins in January with ...
Projections, Pests, and Purged Information!

Opening Words 

Here we sit in the middle of the winter (Northern Hemisphere) and uncharacteristically I'm thinking gardening!  I normally wait until March or so to think about the garden.  Some of you might be thinking what could I possibly be thinking at this time of year!  Well there are a few things that come to mind, and one of them reared their head last fall.  Before we get started let me do a fast recap of last year!

Last year. I started the year (2015) with 34 hosta in my very small space.  Over the year I was able to take out 5 hosta and move them to a retaining wall in front of my living space to give them more sunlight.  I made several shifts and repurchases of that hosta I had.  By the end of the year I had removed 8 varieties and somehow had still had 29 varieties in the raised bed and 5 varieties in on the wall.  Two of which being duplicates of each other.

My records show that my success rate looks like:

Year       Success : Total  Percent Success
2013          10 out of 18  55%
2014               19 : 21  95%
2015               28 : 34  82%

The goal for the next 3 years looks something like this:

2016    Total         : 31 Two duplicates between gardens
    Raised Bed        : 28
    Retaining Wall    :  5

2017    Target        : 27
    Raised Bed        : 22
    Retaining Wall    :  5

2018    Target        : 21
    Raised Bed        : 16
    Retaining Wall    :  5

Yes, I am thinking this far ahead!  I ended the 2015 year with the following varieties in my collection.  The numbers are this years ID numbers for the plants.

Raised Bed (28 varieties)
1a.    Imp
2.    Lemon Lime
3.    Empress Wu
4.    Sum and Substance
5.    Snake Eyes
6.    Fire and Ice
7.    Liberty
8.    Dancing Queen
9.    Gorgon
10.    Gemstone
11.    Hacksaw
12.    'kinbotan'
13.    Stiletto
14.    The Razor's Edge
15.    Vulcan
16.    Popcorn
17.    Chartreuse Wiggles
18a.    Holy Mouse Ears
19.    Frosted Mouse Ears
20.    Teaspoon
21.    Dragon Tails
22.    Little Devil
23.    Tortifrons
24.    Church Mouse
18b.    Holy Mouse Ears
25.    Rainbow's End
26.    Dixie Chickadee
27.    Masquerade
28.    'venusta'

Outer Wall (5 varieties)
29.    June
30.    Golden Tiara
31.    Faithful Heart
32.    Little Sunspot
1b.    Imp

Pending Arrival  (1 variety)
33. White Feather

My longer term goal is to bring this down to 15 to 17 varieties in the raised bed all doing well.  Like any hosta grower that's the goal!

Thought #1
This year I open with an unexpected and very new problem.  Last fall I acquired Fire and Ice, healed it in, and then moved it to where it is now.  When I planted it I discovered a rodent burrow beneath.  I had noticed over last years growing season that Gorgon and Sum and Substance had been 'pushed back' for some unknown reason.  This discovery certainly would account for why this would be happening.  I spoke with the management company from the the building I am in and they say they will send pest control about March or April to look at the problem.  If the pest can be dealt with AND if any of the plants are left they will recover at some point.  We'll see what happens this spring.

01/19/16  Pest control will be visiting tomorrow for an introduction to the problem.  Nothing can be done until the thaw comes later this spring.

The cause and effect of this unwanted visitor is one that I can't predict.  Gorgon, Sum and Substance, Fire and Ice, and Liberty are all adjacent to this burrow, and I do not know if they will be coming up this spring.  In the larger scale will others be effected if the visitor expands their living quarters (generally done in the spring for rodents).  We'll see what happens and where this leads.

Thought #2
Historically my garden does not do well on the south side and the front right side.  This year again I will be watching these areas for what comes up - if at all.  Last year I replaced and supplemented the following hostas in those areas:

New Additions

  • Empress Wu
  • Teaspoon
Added to
  • Popcorn
  • Dancing Queen
  • Dixie Chickadee (6 plants!)
  • Vulcan
Moved (each plant acquired in 2014)
  • Hacksaw
  • Masquerade
  • Rainbow's End
It will be interesting to see if the trend continues for this season.  I've warmed up to the coloration of Rainbow's End and as such it is one plant I'ld like to see come back this year.

Thought #3
In the late winter I pull out my databases and diagrams, and begin getting them prepared for the next season, adding new fields, and rearranging things for better use.  I was a bit taken back to discover that a whole swath of information turned up missing from last years database.  So much so that I had to redesign the thing again from nearly scratch.  I can not imagine that I would have wipe a database clean but there it is. With a little less data and a little redesigning its back in place to work with for the 2016 season.

Closing Words 

St. Paul, Minnesota might get a moment of above freezing weather this weekend (January 23rd and 24th).  This seems early for the thaw to begin so I am guessing that this a brief, momentary shift in temperature.  Hints of the real thaw usually begin early March with my Hosta first spiking between  April 11th and 28th.  Will see you all then when the REAL thaw begins to come!

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