Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor for the Day

Since it is Labor Day, I thought I would give you a little work project that yields big results. I discovered this method of propagating plants a few years ago and have had such wonderful success with it that I would like to share it with you. This plum tree was started last winter in my propagation pot and then transplanted into this pot in the spring. You can definitely see that it is thriving. My daughter is about 5 ft. tall, so you can compare the height of the tree to her. The pit was planted just about 9 months ago.

This propagating pot is so easy to assemble. You will need a few supplies to start.

1 large terra cotta pot (the one I use is 12" in diameter & 10" in height)
1 small 4 inch terra cotta pot

Peat Moss & Sand (mixed in a 1:1 ratio)

2 cork stoppers

First, let me say that the pots cannot be plastic, they must be terra cotta for this system to work. The pots must be porous.

Okay, here's how you assemble the propagation pot:
  • Stop up the holes in the bottom of both pots with a cork. Press it in firmly.
  • Mix sand and peat moss together (do not use potting soil or soil of any kind). The mixture ratio is 1 part sand to 1 part peat moss.
  • Fill large pot with the mixture until it is about 5 inches from the top of pot. Press mix down firmly.
  • Set the smaller pot on top of the mixture in the middle of the larger pot.
  • Surround smaller pot with the sand/peat moss mixture. Stop the mixture approximately 1/2" below the top edge of the smaller pot.
  • Completely fill the small pot with water to its top edge. From now on, the only thing you will need to do to maintain the system is EVERYDAY fill the small pot with water to its top edge.
  • Do not start any cuttings in pot until you have been keeping the small pot filled with water daily for 7 days.

Each fall I take 2 or 3 cuttings from each of my geraniums, dip the cuttings in rooting hormone, poke a hole in the sand/peat moss mixture, and place the cutting in it. By spring the plants have a nice healthy root system and are ready to plant outside. In this way, I have doubled or tripled the number of geraniums I had the year before. I am showing you a picture of the rooting hormone that I use on my cuttings. Any brand will be fine for you to use. Just follow the directions on the jar or package.

Geraniums are not the only plant you can propagate in this manner. Many house plants can also be propagated in this way. Have fun and experiment. For instance, the plum tree was not even started as a cutting. I simply put a plum pit from a plum I was eating into the propagation pot to see if it would sprout. And as you can see, it DID sprout (and with a nice healthy root system).
The steady moisture leaking through the sides of the small pot creates an ideal environment in which cuttings and hard-shelled seeds/pits just thrive.

Also, as long as the weather is nice, I leave the pot outside. I take it in the house before the frost comes and keep it inside for the winter months. When it starts warming up outside in the spring, I move it back outdoors again.

Hope you all have fun with your little project. BTW it's a great home education project for the kids as well.


Mom2fur said...

I have no talent for growing things, so I really admire people who can! My mother looks and tomato plants and gets enough to put up 40,000 jars of sauce.
Thanks for visiting my new blog. I've learned a lot of cool tips from Nancy Zieman's TV shows and books!

Mom2fur said...

Hi! Thanks for the nice comment on my fall doily. Don't worry, I'll put a small pumpkin on it so you can see the stitches!

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