An Alameda Garden: National Gardening Month Becomes Propagation Month at An Alameda Garden

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

National Gardening Month Becomes Propagation Month at An Alameda Garden

You'll be forgiven if you've failed to note this on your calendar, but April happens to be National Gardening Month. If you click that link you can head over to the site sponsored by the National Gardening Association where you'll find a lot of good information and links to National Gardening Month events throughout the country.

Here at the Alameda Garden, however, National Gardening Month means just one thing--propagation. I've come to the conclusion that I am in terrible need of many, many more plants and the money is not there to buy them at nurseries. So for the next month I'm turning my home and garden into a horticultural fertility clinic and I'll be posting about at least one propagation project each day this month. Seeds will be germinated, cuttings will be rooted, plants will be divided. Although a number of these projects will be simple, straightforward, plop-the seed-in-the-dirt kind of operations, I also hope to get into some less straightforward propagation techniques, such as scarification, stratification, air layering, maybe even budding. And in a matter of weeks (if all goes well) this month of propagation will result in hundreds of new plants for my garden, and maybe some more to share.

To get things off to what will hopefully be a good start, the first propagation project will be an easy one--tomatoes. I'm trying out a mega-paste tomato from Burpee called Big Mama Hybrid. These indeterminate plants are supposed to churn out hefty 5" by 3" tomatoes in 80 days. I'm starting them indoors using Jiffy plugs (not because I really like them, but because I have them and I want to use them up). The seeds are pre-soaked in tap water for an hour or so and the Jiffy plugs are soaked in very warm water until they're completely hydrated and plumped up. Then it's just a matter of poking a hole into each plug, popping in two seeds per plug, and covering them up, making sure that the seeds are completely pressed into the soil (not deeply, but completely). They don't need light, but they do need warmth and I may need to move them around a bit in the house to find the best spot for them, but with luck they'll germinate in about five days and after a couple more days I'll move them outside to the mini-greenhouse.

So there's propagation project #1. Twenty-nine more to come!

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