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Re: About this "having a war" business.... eBay, nematodes, and maybe Hostas...

  • Subject: Re: About this "having a war" business.... eBay, nematodes, and maybe Hostas...
  • From: "Andrew Lietzow" <andrewl@hostahaven.com>
  • Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2001 12:16:14 -0500

Hi Bob and marvelous list,
Thanks for the post, Bob.  And, I will apologize in advance, but this is a
long reply--a tome as Mike Lemke likes to call them.  (And if you don't read
this, Bob, you're going to miss my apology hidden deep inside this).

RE:>>"If I need to apoligize to him for that, fine". Andrew told me himself
he was having problems because he sold plants on ebay that he hadn't got
from a tissue culture lab.
---------
I was thinking this was a problem on the supplier's part, not mine. You are
correct. A long time ago, in what seems like another lifetime, I was naive
enough to think that if a nursery supplier was a really big one, their
chances of being very reliable were good.  I was mistaken.  I learned that
lesson.  It was as much my fault as theirs because I have been a consultant
to the W/D durable goods industry for 15 years and implement systems to
prevent such inventory nightmares.  I expect people to post "out-of-stock"
if they are on top of things, or advise people if an out-of-stock condition
continues for long, but this did not happen.   If you are going to list it,
but don't have any in stock, you're only going to make your customers angry,
so why do it?   If you will look at my posting on eBay now, you will see
that we try very hard to list ONLY product that we are 99% sure we have in
stock at the time we list it.  And, while I have no trouble whatsoever in
purchasing well-rooted liners as a plant for my garden, I know some in the
industry frown on this and we have voluntarily chosen to limit such
listings.  For those in the industry that have a problem with selling liners
because they might die over the winter, I lost plants last winter that I've
had for multiple years but had few problems with my liners.  Guess the voles
saw the bigger ones as a bigger meal? Winter and voles happen.

I have discovered that not everyone agrees regarding the definition of a
well-rooted liner when it is shipped from a supplier.  There is no industry
standard--well, maybe there is, yet how does one enforce such a standard?  I
now know that it is not anything that is universally followed and may even
be ignored, though stated as policy.

IMO, the main reason Bob and I have ANY problems at all is that we are too
much alike.  Scary thought I know, but it's probably reality.  When I came
to Waukon and saw what you were doing, working on a computer in your
basement, purchasing the latest plants and falling in love with them, but
more than willing to share them with other Hostaholics through sales and
even as gifts, I started to see that you and I were entirely too much alike.
Yikes!!!  I looked in the mirror and I saw... . YOU!  Oh NO!!!   (Shoot, I
even enjoy that computer generated music on you web site!)

Then, there is the deal with the shoes.  I saw those shoes as a simple
solution to a problem I have with my wife about coming in to the house with
dirt on my feet.  They were simple, slip-on canvas shoes, but I wanted a
pair for myself.  When I got home, I was on a quest to find them and so I
now have a pair just like them.  Oh, I wasn't saying "I want to be like
Bob", but our personalities appear to be just too darned similar.  So
unfortunately, my good Hostaman from Waukee, we look like the Bobbsie Twins.
We're both in the computer business and we both sell Hostas.  Now that I
have said that, you'll probably go out outside, throw up and go buy a
different pair of shoes. I think people who understand psychology know what
a problem it is when you try to force two abstract random thinkers to get
along.  Ain't gonna happen.  It's okay; we can deal with it.

As for feedback on eBay, it's the toughest way to sell Hostas of which I am
aware.  EVERY SINGLE TRANSACTION is scrutinized and the buyer gets to
comment on every single purchase.  Do we know how challenging that is?  If
you go and purchase a Hosta at XYZ outlet, you get to see what you are
purchasing.   To take it home and NOT like it you would have to admit that
you are a moron!  Cognitive dissonant prevents this from happening.  The
plant is right before your very eyes and you know you'll love it.

When you purchase mail order you don't get to see the actual product and you
are trusting the seller and their reputation. If you don't like it, you talk
to the vendor and you get it straightened out, but you don't typically blab
that all over the internet (although that is changing, too).  With eBay, and
now with the HL.org auction, things are totally different.  Your service HAS
to be exemplary and your plants have to be excellent.  Perfect?  Probably
not, but you should see the discussions that people have about ONE little
plant from this seller or that one (e.g. Gardenweb.com forum) .  And Helen
is right, the news travels quickly and it IS spread all over the internet!!!
And Helen is right again because it is MUCH worse than taking out an ad in
the newspaper.  On the internet, such comments are archived and people can
find them for weeks or even years.  In the paper, hardly anyone would notice
and fewer would even try to find the comment.

Now about these pests and predators of Hosta....

As you recall, I was discussing this with you, Bob, in private and now it is
public.  Now that it is public, let me say this about that.  I have visited
with people all over the country about this issue.  Any commercial grower
who is not aware of the potential problems with nematodes, especially with
crops raised in the ground, is living under a rock.  Now, it is likely that
Bob is 100% correct and all of your/his buyers are 100% correct, that
they've never had any sign of nematodes.  Rather than blowing this all out
of proportion, however, I had preferred to take a scientific approach to
this issue.  Want to put some serious focus on an effort to combat this
problem, whether it be shared or exclusively mine with just a couple of
plants.   Alerting you only AFTER I knew what I was talking about was my
preference.

Nemotodes are all over.  There are nearly 20,000 described species.  They
are in the most of the ground you walk on while in your garden. Fortunately,
very few species attack the foliage of Hosta.  Aphlenchoides fragalaria
(from memory, so possibly spelled incorrectly), is listed as the primary
culprit for Hostas.  There are many curative measures that allow humans to
control their populations, or maybe even eradicate them, though this might
be too extreme a course of action.  Zerotol and Nemacur are options for
those who are chemically inclined.  If you are not chemically inclined, then
you can do like some growers recommend--throw your plants away, sterilize
the soil, then start over.  IMO, that also is too drastic a measure because
Nematodes tend NOT to kill Hostas but simply make their leaves look ugly.

I believe with Zerotol you do not need a chemical applicators license. With
Nemacur you do, as it is a restricted use pesticide.  I took Dan Nelson's
advice and obtained a Chemical Applicators License, paid the $250 for a bag
of Nemacur, bought the jump suit, and am ready to mount an assualt should
the need arise.  They tend NOT to infest Hosta that are growing in
containers, so this should not be a problem for that type of product (but
those who grow in containers have other problems, primarily crown rot this
for another day).  In your gardens, after a wet spring, look for them.  As
we are having a very wet spring, likely be followed by a hot dry spell, the
probabilities for infestation are getting much higher.  In Iowa, and I
believe in many parts of the country, the occurrance of foliar nematode
infestations is on the increase because of our decreased use of other
pesticides.

I know there are all types of people on this list, from beginners to
full-fledged Hosta mavens who will be recorded in the annals of history for
their contributions to the field.  I have learned a lot from the folks on
this list serve, and I am very open to learning more.  When I offend people,
it is not on purpose.  I ask a lot of questions, I make mistakes, and I
hopefully learn from them.  I believe most people on this list are simliar
in their desire to learn.  One old adage that I really like is, "To be
successful faster, just make your mistakes quicker!".  Isn't that the truth?

While I was watering at the greenhouse yesterday, I thought about this "war"
with Bob, how Bob was reacting to it and how some of you folks are reacting
to this. Bob and I are like magnets that are both North poles--perhaps like
Jim Hawes and Ben Zonneveld.  Maybe that is okay because what would some of
you do for entertainment were it not for such embroiled discussions?!?
Sure, we should get divorced, but since it's an open list and we both like
Hostas very passionately, we'll probably have more feuds in the years ahead.
Don't worry about it because I believe we'll both forget about it and drive
on.   And, we learn from these types of interactions!  What a boring world
if all of the scientists were to agree, all the computer jockeys, all the
doctors, all of the Hosta gardeners, etc.  Who wants everyone to be devoid
of passion?  Not I.

I want to publicly state this to Bob.  I know it took strength to write that
last message, and I appreciate it.  But I wonder if you KNOW just how much
you are changing the world from your little oasis up there in Waukon,
Iowa--at least the Hosta world.  Please accept MY apology for asking so many
questions that tick you off.  I don't do it for any other reason than having
a voracious appetite for learning.

And one last thing, for Bob, or others who might have made it down this far:
RE:>>I would be in hot water then as well.

Bob, if you aren't in hot water, and rather frequently, you aren't making
much happen.  It's a fact.

Hosta la Vista!

Andrew Lietzow
#1 Plantsman at http://HostaHaven.com
1250 41st Street
Des Moines, IA 50311-2516

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