Sunday, February 22, 2009

Token's Cloning machine.....

I am putting this here because it is valuable information. I plan to make a copy of Token's cloning machine myself.

Copy and paste into your browser if it doesn't link.

I hope you fine it valuable too.

Monday, December 31, 2007

I am playing today...

sI pulled out some seeds today, and found several cardboard rolls from tissue and paper towels that I have saved. Do all gardeners save all kinds of stuff, or is it just me?

Anyway, I use these rolls to make little disposable pots for starting seeds or cuttings.Step one is to fold the cardboard roll flat, and cut a slit on each fold, a little over 1" long. Then match the slits you made, and fold it flat the opposite way. Cut a slit there, and it will look like...

THIS!!! Four slits on one end.

Then you fold it, opposite flaps together, to make the bottom, and tape it. I usually use masking tape or freezer tape, (is there a difference?) as it seems to last better with moisture.

I will use a big rubber band to bind them together, or place them in a 1 gallon pot like from the nursery, so they are nice and snug. This is especially effective if I am trying to start seeds of something like peppers, which like it hot to germinate. Seeds like tomatoes like the protection from the wind that the 1 gallon pot affords too.
You could cut the rolls from tissue in half to make nice short, fat pots, or cut the rolls from paper towels to the length you need. They are especially good for starting cuttings that have a long distance between nodes, and you want at least 2 nodes per cutting.
Just put some medium in the bottom of a long (deep?) pot, insert your prepared cutting, then fill in around the cutting to the top. Water to wash out air pockets.
These will last a long time! When time to plant the transplants, I just remove the tape and push the plug of soil out. Or, you can cut them.....

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Safely handling peat moss....

Peat is used as a medium in my gardens and greenhouses a LOT! I usually buy it by the bale, and I always think it will last forever, but it is gone before I know it!

I mix my soils and medium in a big OLD cement mixer. It doesn't even have a motor on it, but it turns so fast by hand, I don't need a motor. I don't know that it ever had a motor on it.
I mix the mediums in the mixer, then park a wagon in front of it filled with pots. It is a snap to fill the pots then, just almost pour it from the mixer. Setting up pots is one of my least favorite jobs, so I am happy with anything that helps me get this done.

~Back to the facts about Peat~

As a rule, it takes dry peat a long time to absorb water. If you have cuttings in peat/perlite medium, you need to take care to not let them dry out. Water will bead up on top ot the medium, and seems to evaporate quicker than it is absorbed. It will hold water well, if you don't let it dry out to start with.

It is not good to be breathing the dry peat, either!

When I get a bale or a bag of peat in, I always poke a hole in the package and insert the water hose. Let the water run on low volumn until the peat is damp. Then mix it with perlite, vermiculite, sand or whatever you are using.

Much better to be safe than sorry.

Monday, December 10, 2007

An Easy Propagation Chamber

I make a little propagation chamber that is so easy, and so reliable for me that I thought I would share the idea.

This is what you will need.
A plastic shoebox, with a lid. They come in various sizes, any will do.

Soil less potting mix, half peat, half perlite, or whatever is your favorite medium.
A little clay pot, with the drain hole plugged with caulking or silicone. If this is a new pot, scrub it with some steel wool to be sure it doesn't have a sealer on it. You want the water to seep through it.
Rooting hormone powder or liquid, or salix solution from the willow tree.
Plant material,
Snippers, or pruning shears.
I am going to pot some Plectranthus (a tall swedish ivy) and a Joseph's Coat, 'Red Thread'. I already have some succulents rooted in this box. I will take them out and pot them up later.
You can see here, I hope, that I fill the clay pot to the top with rain water, well water, or distilled water. I just don't use our tap water, too much chlorine and a ph that is out of sight.

I pour a little of the hormone powder out on a paper plate or a piece of paper, so that I don't contaminate the whole package of powder. And these little 'snippers' are the best for taking this kind of cuttings.

When your box is full, and I always like to pretty much fill the box, just put the lid on it, and set it in the shade. You don't ever put this box in the sun. You wind up with boiled cuttings. YUK!

Check the cuttings every few days, and refill the reservoire as needed. Don't let it dry out. If you happen to get too wet, just prop the lid open with a pencil for a little while.

This is a very good method of propagation, but I don't do roses in these. The thorns just make it hard to pack the box full. All kinds of other things can be done in these.
You can use deeper boxes if you want to do taller cuttings, or bigger boxes, if you want to do lots of cuttings. If you use a bigger box, be sure to add another little pot. One will not be enough.

neat stuff

Use this trick to keep your cuttings fresh until you can stick them.

Wrap cutting ends in damp paper towels, place in a gallon size zip lock bag. Close the bag, except for a small space at the end of the 'zipper'.

Blow into the bag, causing it to expand, like a balloon. Quickly close the bag 'zipper'.

Plants need carbon dioxide to live. We inhale oxygen, exhale carbon dioxide. Therefore, you are giving them a good supply of what they need when you blow into the bag.

The cuttings will stay fresh for a long time.

Making violet babies

Propagating violets is so easy and so rewarding! Anyone can do it, with minimal equipment and almost no effort.

Supplies needed include a healthy violet plant.
1 styrofoam cup, 1 plastic disposable cup (as shown),
a wooden skewer
about 1/3 cup perlite
about 1/3 cup vermiculite.
Rooting hormone powder
Distilled water, if you have 'city' water.

With the wooden skewer, poke 4 holes in the side of the styrofoam cup, close to the bottom. Do them opposite each other. Then poke a row of holes about 1 1/2" up from the bottom, about 1/2" apart.

The bottom holes are to allow the rooting medium in the cup to pull water into the cup. The top row of holes is for drainage. If the water gets that high, it should be able to drain out.

Pour the vermiculite into the styrofoam cup. Pour the perlite on top of the vermiculite. Place the styrofoam cup inside the plastic cup (as shown), and add water up to (but not above) the top row of holes. Cut a leaf from the mother plant, including as much stem as possible. Dip the stem in rooting hormone, tap off the excess, and stick into the perlite in the cup.
Set the cup on a sunny window sill, but not where it will get direct sun on it. Bright light is needed here, not hot light. I use a window on the SE side of my house. Just remember to keep the plant watered.

After 6-8 weeks, you will see little leaves like this coming up through the perlite. I usually let them grow out a bit before I transplant them into their very own violet pot.
It is amazing how many different violets there are. Smooth leaves, curly leaves, flowers of all colors. Try this, it is fun.