When to start feeding?

davej_07(z5 WI)April 23, 2008

Well, the bed cleanup is a moot point as most of my babbies are already about the level of the mulch. I started a batch of alfalfa tea but it needs to 'steep' for another week. Is it too early to feed? If its ok, what would you recommend? I was thinkink something high in nitrogen would be good to promote leaf growth.

Thoughts please,


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greenguy(Zone 5 OH)

wait until after the last possible frost date

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 7:38PM
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I could wear you out with reasons not to fertilize, search my name and fertilize or fertilizer for MY why's and others will disagree. Here are a couple of photos of hosta that have never been fertilized.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 9:14PM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

it's all about throwing out seed and letting the birds poop on them in my yard...lol

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 8:31AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

last frost.. good point of reference.... but i doubt a week or two prior would hurt.. just find it hard to believe it would make a difference ....

i fert ... once in june.. once in july.. and last one in august ... stopping at least 60 to 90 days before frost ...

the issue is.. lush vegetative growth due to fertilization ... is soft.. much more likely to be affected by cold temps.... or frost ...

normal spring growth is thick nad slow .. and created based on the ambient temps.. and presumably more able to withstand native temps...

make them soft with fert.. and you are fooling with ma nature.. and subject to her whim .. a variable i have never been able to control ...


    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 9:32AM
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greenguy(Zone 5 OH)

i would not throw bird seed around due to weeds

but alfalfa and coffee grounds are good

and eo does not use any fert but he does add a lot of organic matter

i try to stay away from synthetic fert's myself

do a search - tons of information

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 11:00AM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

What's fert and what's not? Is alfalfa pellets fertilizer?...blood meal? complst? Last years rotting mulch?
Or are you talking strictly stuff like Osmocote and Mirical Gro?
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 5:04PM
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I have read where the "experts", those that grow and sell hostas for a living do use commercial fertilizers and they apply 20x20x20 in Spring and once more in summer (which I consider to be around the end of June). I can't find that around here, so I use triple 17 twice a growing season and I'm careful with application, working it in a bit and water well all season anyway. Vicki

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 10:06AM
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The "experts" growing for resale are almost always growing in pots, which is like talking about apples and oranges.

Pots do not have the features of the soil and probably do need to be fed.

Even those growing in the soil have moved the soil about and broken down the natural process and they will only be growing in the soil for 1-3 years so adding fertilizer could be called for. Don't take this to say fertilize the soil for a permanent planting because the sooner the soil returns to a purely natural process the better and fertilizer can and often does interfere with the process.

If you plant a hosta and plan to leave it then all you need is organic matter.

20-20-20, 17-17-17, 10-10-10 represent the percentage of the NPK (only) by weight and the cheapest way to get NPK is the best. A 40lb bag of 10-10-10 has 10% NPK of 40 lbs while 20-20-20 has 20% so the question what is the cost per pound each of NPK. Now, 10-10-10 has 10% NPK plus an inert "carrier" so you may pay the shipping and bagging cost of the inert carrier. Back to figuring out the cost per pound of the NPK not the bag cost.

One of the inert carriers is limestone, which may not be good for your particular soil. Back to question of which bag to buy, the cheapest way to get a pound of NPK is the best such as buying high concentrations like 30-30-30 urea and whatever the highest concentration of phosphorus, etc and make your own mix.

DonÂt waste your money on trace elements which may be needed in a pot but mulch will deliver trace elements to the soil.

Is this more than you wanted to know, or do you know the time and donÂt really want me to build you a watch?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 2:01PM
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esther, every time i see pics of your hostas and house, I swoon for hours, so today is a good day. THANK YOU!
SE Mich

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 3:36PM
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Thanks Pat
Although the house was built some 200 yrs ago, we did add the rooms with the rock face. The lay of the ground from God eons ago or about 5,000 yrs ago depending on you view.

I planted a few plants and try to stay out of God's way while they grow and plant in such a way that they don't take away from the house or land.

BTW, after last year it looks BAD, I mean BAAAAAAAAAD.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 5:04PM
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