An Alameda Garden: Wrapping Up Propagation Month

Friday, May 02, 2008

Wrapping Up Propagation Month

After taking a couple days off from the trials and tribulations of trying to propagate something different every day, I thought I'd post some conclusions I've come to:
  1. Of all the different seed-growing methods I tried, one stood out as a clear favorite. If you're going to plant anywhere but directly in the ground, then soil blocks are definitely the way to go. Jiffy plugs suck. They really do. Forget about them. And sowing in flats is convenient for storing on a greenhouse shelf, but it makes transplanting the seedlings more time-consuming and traumatic for all the little roots. Seed blocks on the other hand make transplanting a breeze, plus you can control the soil mix, plus you don't have to worry about having a bunch of little pots or cell-packs laying around. More control, less stuff, happy seedlings. What's not to like?
  2. It really does seem that just about all of my seed-starting adventures would have been greatly helped if I'd had a heating mat or two. Heat can really make seeds pop.
  3. Those gel-rooting cups I tried to root salvia and catmint cuttings in? Don't waste your money. Every one of the cuttings got funky, and even though the package says you can just take out a cutting that isn't rooting and put in a new one, there's no point in putting a fresh cutting into what's supposed to be a sterile gel when it's obviously contaminated.
  4. Actually, I had a hard time with almost all of the cuttings I tried to root and I think the problem is that they just weren't staying hydrated enough. It's just so much easier to root cuttings with a mist house. I did some searching on the Internet and found a couple of sites describing small mist houses that people built for under $100 using a set of shelves, some plastic sheeting, and some inexpensive misters and a timer. I'd like to try putting something like that together one of these days.
  5. There are a couple things I didn't get around to doing that I still hope to get done. One is to air-layer the camellia at the side of my house (or maybe the really pretty white one at my friend Mark's house). The other is to do some budding on my cherry tree.
  6. Lastly, I have to say that I had a lot of fun doing all this propagating and I look forward to doing it again next year.
I'm afraid that May, however, will have to be Weeding Month. That I'm not looking forward to.

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