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seedlings and learning

Greetings from Columbus OH where it is cold, rainy and miserable -
probably just like where you are, if you are in the midwest.  Too wet to
mow, although the grass is growing faster than I wish.   Had 150 bags of
3 cu ft shredded hardwood mulch delivered - now can't do anything with it
this weekend that would jeopardize my back in this cold weather. 
Cancelled delivery of 8 yds of mushroom compost - who wants "compost
soup" after several days of rain.  What to do??

Answer:  transfer those seedlings which are over due into larger pots. 
Cull, Cull, Cull.  Seedlings have been growing very well under lights
this winter and spring and are healthy.  I had planned on doing this two
weeks ago but got distracted.  Now's the time.  One of the great wonders
of hosta (or any other plant for that matter) is the structure of the
plant, but how often do we get to study it close at hand?  Culls are
great for just that.  You should try it - even grow seedlings just for
this reason alone.  Take that cull and gently peel away each petiole, one
by one.  Notice the leaf bud - or several buds - under the base of each
petiole.  Notice how some of the petioles have split open to let the leaf
bud grow through it.  WOW, neat!!  Note the root structure and how it
differs from cultivar to cultivar.  Some are large fibrous roots, some
small and lacy.  Some long, some short.   Even though seedlings are same
age and about same size above "ground," their roots have great
variability.  Slowly continue to peel away the petioles until you get to
the center/core of the crown.  That is the meristem we all talk about. 
But have YOU seen one up close and personal?  CAREFULLY using a sharp
knife or scalpel, cut some of the crowns vertically (lay the crown on a
board and cut into it so that your hands and fingers are out of the way)
and on some slice horizontally at different levels to see where roots
come out, leaf petioles attach; where leaf buds are.  It is absolutely
fascinating.  Better than any TV show ever was, is, or will be.  Even
though you might not have had a course in plant physiology, you can gain
a wealth of knowledge on your own by exploring.  Now that you have seen
it, done it, felt it, smelt it and perhaps tasted it, you know what
"they" are talking about in the books and seminars you attend.  Now it
makes sense.  Now you understand it.  Now you can ask even more questions
- and understand the answers.

Perhaps we should do this at Hosta College!!  Has anyone else been this
crazy on a cold, miserable Saturday afternoon.

For some of you with whom I have corresponded, yes, I did Rossize ALL the
seedlings that were saved.  Each was sprayed with Benomyl wettable powder
fungicide.  Replanted into a 1/3 ea mix of ProMix, mushroom compost and
"potting soil."  A healthy addition of alfalfa meal was mixed into the
mix.  When replanted, each plant was again sprayed with fungicide at its
base, soaking the soil.  This will give the seedlings/plants a full month
before being transplanted into the out side seedling bed.  Hope it works.

Best to you all,
Charles Tuttle
Columbus  OH   Z5
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