Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Plant Propogation Notes from 10/14 and 10/21

Thank you Pam Scott for contributing class notes and photos for this blog:

Wendy holds up plant for root division

Class Notes:  10/14

Growing Plants Through Strikes
-    Taking a strike off of the mother plant – just pull off a piece of the original plant
-    Better than cutting because cell walls stay intact if you pull and let the plant divide
-    Remove all lower leaves – the stem cells can create leaves (which it already did) as well as roots (which it now will have the chance to do
-    Cut top leaves at an angle
-    Stick material into perlite at 45-degree angle
-    Water daily but don’t disturb (by checking for roots) for 6 weeks
-    This is a great way to keep the genetic material of the plant in tact
-    After awhile, though, the vigor of the plant will wear down and need to propagate through sex to remain strong and vital

Mix for Making Good Potting Soil
-    When you start plant from seed, it does not need rich soil; lean, well-drained, retentive soil
•    1/3 natural soil – so that the plant will be used to the culture of the native soil
•    1/3 sifted leaf mold – adds structure and retains water; can also use coco peat or peat moss; vermiculite also
•    1/3 sharp sand – for drainage; not salty Sandy Lawrence
-    No matter what, cut in some native soil from where it will ultimately live; if not, the plant will be in shock when it goes to its final home

Great idea for compost:  Create a ‘barrel’ with chicken wire; fill with oak leaves, in a year you’ll have good soil

Steve and Wendy sift leaf mold

Class Notes :  10/21

NYT ran an article on zero waste yesterday 
SF made it illegal to throw away food scraps 
(very exciting stuff!)

What is propagation?
-    How to grow. How to increase plant material. The many ways plant material can be spread and shared.
-    Sexual propagation – blending of genetic material; annual and bi-annual plants always spread this way; sometime perennials too
-    Asexual propagation – taking a strike or cutting and spreading the same genetic material

What does it mean to cultivate soil?
-    To turn the wheel of life. Culture is a wheel. To create, clean culture in the ground. To go down into the ground, into the depths to dig down into, to weed.

Great suppliers – call for catalogues
1.    Peaceful Valley Farm Supply
2.   Harmony Farm Supply

To Create Strikes
-    Months or weeks before, cut the lead off of the mother plant – encouraging it to send up other major stems to replace it
-    When the plant is in seed, it wants to spread by seed; so look to divide plants when they are flowering but before they’ve gone to seed
-    Now is a very good time to be doing this
-    A good strike (the bit that has been pulled off) should feel woody at the base
-    You want your strike to be no more than 8”, preferably less
-    Remove the lower leaves – roots will grow from these stem cells
-    Create a balanced strike – about ½ will go into the ground, the other ½ above the surface
-    Seeds push material equally above and below ground.  We need to create this same balance when we create plants from strikes.
-    Put at 45-degree angle into perlyte
-    Water daily, water deeply

Root Division
-    Easiest way to divide a plant is to pull it apart.  When not doing that to create a strike, can do by pulling small bits of the plant complete with roots
-    Look for healthy root mass in mother plant
-    Pull off woody base growth (or cut)
-    Cut off most on top – especially biggest bits (more than I would have thought)
-    If root exceedingly long, cut it too
-    Looking to create balance
-    Plant in lunch mix (see below)
-    Fall is the season to be separating plants by root division!
-    Oregano, tarrogon, sage – a lot of the herbs can be separated now

Looking to create a balance of roots and tops

Hardening Seedlings
-    When plants are grown from seeds, one thing to consider is that they cannot be planted outside until they’ve been ‘hardened’
-    This means getting them acclimated to the outdoor conditions – this is after having been raised early on in a green house
-    Harden plants by setting them outside for hours at a time until they spend a couple of nights outside; then they’re ready to be put into the ground
-    Not as important in our mild climates as other places

Wendy puts a strike in perlite

Speedling Flats – made of white Styrofoam; every pocket is cone-shaped; easier for mass planting
-    Planting soil should be peat-based – coco peat (or peat moss – try to avoid using); to help with water retention
-    Cannot use sand because Styrofoam doesn’t absorb water so drainage is not an issue
-    A little bit (not much) of native soil
-    Pinch of perlyte (white stuff that you use for strikes)
-    No compost – it is too rich

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