>> Wednesday, September 22, 2010
It has been awhile since I last posted. No, it isn’t that my interest in gardening has waivered. It’s just that life’s demands have forced my attention to be focused in other directions, and I will spare all of you the details.
Earlier in the year, our area was hit by frost that killed off my newly set-out tomato plants, not once but twice! This can be expected to happen and I should have known better, but not being able to focus 100% on the task at hand will often bite back hard. Predicting weather never has been an exact science, and the lesson learned is that I need to cover everything when temperatures have a chance of dipping below 40F. Hopefully, problem solved.
Anyway, I only planted tomatoes this year and dispensed with plans to grow anything else. This allowed me time to focus on my other, more pressing, non-gardening issues.
I planted the usual Juliet Grape tomato which has always proven to be a big performer and this year was no exception. The other tomato was a Roma I found at some box store. I’m a bit ashamed to admit I didn’t buy this from a garden center but there you have it. It was just crying out to be taken home so I did. While it didn’t produce a bounty of tomatoes, and they were only slightly larger than the Juliet grape tomatoes, I did manage to make sauce for several spaghetti meals.
Over the course of the summer the average high temperatures were in the 90’s and my lawn (and my neighbors lawn) conspired to retake territory that I took for flower beds, those being the ‘non-raised bed’ variety. So, over the next week, the chore of re-pulling all of this grass will be a priority.
Now on to new stuff. I have decided to try my hand at propagation. Since starting from scratch five years ago, I now have several shrubs and plants that have established themselves and so the time has come to attempt to make more. The task seems a bit daunting right now, being behind the learning curve, but I think it will be interesting to learn the various ways in which plants can be propagated. I’m not a total stranger to this, I have been rooting houseplants in water for years with a good bit of success. However, outdoor plants may need a slightly different approach such as, placing cuttings in soil (or soiless medium) to layering to dividing and more. Research will allow me to select which type is best according to which plant I want to multiply.
Some plants I have and want to reproduce are Forsythia, Spirea, Caryopteris, Bee Balm, Daylily, Phlox, sedum, mums, and Lamium.
One thing I find most thrilling and fascinating about plants is that every plant cell has the ability to duplicate all parts and functions of the plant. By taking a cutting of a leaf or stem and creating the right conditions, you can create an entirely new plant.
I bought rooting hormone, potting soil, perlite, and I already have loads of plant containers to re-use, so my new adventure will soon be under way. For the next 4-6 weeks I am going to diligently watch over my little charges and hopefully they will become new plants in the spitting image of their parents.
Stay tuned for updates.