Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Propagation chambers.

Last year, I used this wooden box to propagate cuttings outdoors. This was before I knew about the cloner. I made a lot of mistakes. I lost more cuttings than I rooted. However, I did learn a lot. To hold in moisture, I used a large clear storage container turned upside down as a cover.

Over the winter, I've rooted several figs with more showing growth, seven in all. I've also rooted redtwig dogwood and forsythia. The flowering quince and crape myrtles did not root. I think I took them too late as they leafed out immediately after I cut them. The cold zapped them both several times.

Here's this box today. These were stuck in early March, mostly.

Figs putting out new growth.

Rooted forsythia.

For the summer, I need to leave these cuttings in the box for a while. I'll pot them up in late summer or early fall. So I need a new propagation chamber for the summer.

Two Sterlite sweater boxes. These are my favorite. Full of wet sand, they aren't too heavy to move by myself. They handle UV okay with only minimal hazing. And you can drill them IF they haven't been exposed to the sun too long. If they have, they might crack.

One drilled with several 9/16" holes. I use a spade bit.

Hardware screen to cover the holes. I really should use smaller holes, but I want a lot of fine particles to flow out with the water later on.

Filled with sand. I use paver sand from Lowe's. It's the second step bag. At my store, it's in a maroon and clear bag. This sand is tan, not gray.

Filled with water to wash away any small particles or dust.


Almost done.

Using a hand rake I aerate the soil throughout. Careful not to grab the metal hardware cloth.

The undrilled container inverted makes another top. I love these containers. I'll use a short strap I have on hand to keep the lid on after I fill it. The straps cinch close so they are easy to open if I need to water or add/remove cuttings.

I'll give this a day to warm up in the sun before moving it to full shade. The water in the hose was very cold this morning. I'll take cuttings tomorrow morning and stick them. On my list so far is flowering quince, forsythia, crape myrtle, weigeila, and a couple of other shrubs in the neighborhood that I've been given permission to "prune".

The cloner is also made with these sterlite containers.

They're very handy for bottom watering as well. A 10x20 nursery tray fits perfectly. I used them over the winter to water my indoor seedlings and rooted cuttings.

A larger version was used to make a bottom heat contraption using more sand and rope lighting.

I used smaller containers to hold cups of seeds as they germinated. Two containers allowed me to control moisture on some seedlings instead of the entire chamber at once.

6:31pm - 75 and sunny. Beautiful day.

Potted the 15 more butterfly bushes. Moved the rack into the sun. Planted out a few things purchased on clearance: purple queen, variegated yucca, two clematis, May Night salvia. Weeded the potager. Thinned the corn. Pinched some cosmos and zinnias. Took a nap in the hammock. Wandered aimlessly through the yard. Cleaned up the end of the driveway. Still looking for a shady spot for the propagation rack. The driveway is too bright in the evenings.


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Tom ~ You really amaze me with your cloner and your summer propogation chamber. You've inspired me to see what I can come up with. I can't believe you just stick cuttings in builder's sand. It is a treat seeing your gardens progress during the season.


P.S. We've finally been getting some much needed rain. :-)

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Glad you guys are getting rain. We're forecast for showers the next 5 days. The ground around here still squishes in the shade when you walk.

Go to the GardenWeb propagation forum for plants. Janie's container is on the front page. The name of the thread is Easy Propagation Chamber. Blogger won't let me link in comments.

Hers works well, but I prefer sand. I've found I get a lot less rot and fungi. Let us know what you do. Roses are easy to propagate. ;)

Jeff Vandiver said...

Tom - I really enjoy seeing your propagation posts. Thanks for providing so much detail. BTW, the muscadine grape vine cutting is still alive, and I have it in a shed right now....How often/when does it need sunlight? Thanks rock!

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

I would leave it outside. Put it in the edge of the woods in heavy shade. Or on the north side of a building. Let it do it's own thing. You might want to get a ziplock bag or piece of plastic large enough to wrap the whole thing in. It'll conserve moisture and keep the cutting from wilting or stressing. Open it up about twice a week for some air.

Felicia said...

I read about your pot ghetto over on the garden web forums and thought I'd drop in to check them out :)

lynn'sgarden said...

Hi Tom, thanks for sharing your method of propagation..looks like you got the system down pat! Glad you got that nap in!

Unknown said...

thank you for the information on your rooting system. i will definitely be borrowing your ideas..;)