The first step in my latest effort to root figs was completed on January 22 and February 2. I had cleaned, wrapped and stored 7 fig cuttings between those two days. The process is simple. Wash the cuttings with antibacterial dish soap, dip in a 10% bleach solution, allow the cuttings to air dry, then wrap with damp newspaper and store in a zip lock bag at room temperature. I kept mine in the basement where it's warmer and the temperature more consistent.
Four Marseilles VS cuttings were done on February 2 with the Black Missions receiving the same treatment on January 22. The Black Mission cuttings have suffered a bit over that time. Roots began to grow, and I'd do something stupid and break them off. I figured it was better to get to the next step before I sap their energy reserves completely.
First, I needed my supplies. The basic premise to rooting figs is simple. Maintain temperature and humidity, provide plenty of moisture and air to the root zone, and wait. I have a storage container, a wire rack built from hardware cloth, clear plastic cups with holes poked for drainage, and the rooting medium. I'm using an orchid mix. It's not what is suggested, but it meets the basic requirements. It holds moisture and allows plenty of air to circulate through the cups. It will also be easy to remove when I'm ready to transplant to a potting mix composed of 60% perlite and 40% peat.
The Black Mission cuttings have plenty of initials.
The Marseilles VS cuttings have a few as well. These are the white bumps on the ends of the cuttings.
This is what a preferred cutting looks like, plenty of nodes and a good 8-10" length.
The Marseilles are a bit shorter and have only two nodes each, but it's what I was given, so I will not complain. It just makes it a bit more challenging to root.
Each cutting is inserted into a plastic cup with the orchid mix. The cups are placed on a wire rack. The purpose of the rack is to keep the cuttings from contacting a cold surface such as a table top. This should help regulate temperature swings in the basement and reduce the chances of condensation which increases mold growth.
When it's finished, I used a white garbage bag to cover the top and placed the lid back on. This is a recycled container that was previously used to build my very first cloner which I haven't shown on the blog before. It worked, so I moved on to the current iteration.
Now, all I have to do is wait. It should take 4-6 weeks for enough roots to form to pot them up in the next step. I'll need to remove the lid once a day while doing my best not to disturb the roots. The cuttings still need air to survive. Once leaves are visible, they'll need light as well. I can handle that with a CFL spot light above this container. I don't have room on the plant rack for these. By the time they've rooted, the cotoneaster and other hardier cuttings will be in the hoophouse, I hope.
Speaking of the plant rack, I've got a bad case of spider mites and aphids. I trimmed the foliage from all the brug cuttings yesterday. It was destroyed in the wood stove. I treated everything with a spray made for spider mites from Spectracide. I'm hoping one more treatment will get rid of them for good.
It's 28 degrees outside, up from 23 overnight. We should reach the upper 40s today. Snow is in the forecast for Saturday morning and possibly Monday. Really. Haven't we had enough rain/sleet/snow this year? Come on!
11:42am - Third cup of coffee. All the usable firewood from the dead oak tree out back is now stacked in the basement. The last load was a good feeling.
Depending on the weather, this will probably last a week, maybe 10 days. At least it will be drier than if I left it in the gully where the water still flows freely through the stream.
It's an absolutely stunning day, if it weren't so cold.
It's 39 degrees.