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            1. Showing posts with label Propagation. Show all posts
              Showing posts with label Propagation. Show all posts

              Tuesday, September 3, 2013

              Basil, the Unexpected Flower Arrangement

              Create uniquely aromatic and visually interesting flower arrangement with Basil. Use the herb Basil by itself or mix it in with other flowers for several weeks of interest. White flowers slowly open toward the tip as time passes. Mix different varieties to create different aromas and contrasting leaf colors increase visual interest.
              Sweet and Spicy Basil flower arrangement 
              I grow both sweet and spicy Basil. I like to mix them in arrangements for the color contrast  as well as the scent combination. The primary reason I grow Basil is for use in cooking, but come to my house and you will find bouquets of Basil tucked away in various parts of the house.  Just rustle the leaves when ever you pass for your custom scent combination to be released over the next hour or so.

              All you need to do is snip some stems that are close to flowering. Then place the stems in a glass or vase and presto, you have a quick flower arrangement to keep or share with friends.

              Also, by snipping the stems and keeping the flower from blooming on the plant you keep the plant young and flavorful while at the same time encouraging bushiness.

              Typically you grow Basil from seed, however I have found that you can also take a cutting from a non blooming stem and in about a week you will have roots.  Just keep refreshing the water for a few weeks and then you can plant the stem with roots and leaves in a potting mix. This produces a larger plant quicker, but you must have a Basil plant already established before you can use this method of propagating.

              These are the two varieties I grow and share.
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              Monday, August 26, 2013

              Quick & Easy way to Plant up Strawberry Runners

              If you have grown strawberry plants before you probably know that they spread like crazy very quickly.  They spread by sending out runners as soon as the strawberries start to slow in production.  If your plants are grown in the ground keeping up with these runners can become a pain very quickly.

              When we started our Strawberry plants a few years back I told our son that he was in charge of them.  He had to water them, pick them, and best yet... share them with the family!  The strawberries grown in a pot on our back porch have proven to be a fun gardening adventure for him and especially our toddler.

              Strawberry Runners Ready to Pot Up
              We have managed to create a fun and easy way to keep up with the runners, maintain easy
              maintenance, keep our small porch clutter free, and share our plants.  Here is what we do...

              Materials Needed:
              3 or 4 small pots
              potting soil

              When a cluster of leaves form on the end of a runner, or several runners this is your Que that it is time to begin.  You will need 1 pot for each runner.  You will be placing the smaller pots inside of the larger pot (containing the mother plant).  If you have more runners than you can fit pots just snip off the extra runners. Many more runners will form and you can pot those up after the first batch finishes.

              First fill your small pots with potting soil. Then one at a time take the leaf cluster and push it into the soil in the pot. Next move some of the leaves in your big pot and set your small pot inside your big pot.  Just repeat this until you have all your runners potted and placed inside your big pot.  The picture above shows strawberry runners ready to pot up.  It also shows 3 pots inside of the larger pot!

              When you water your main pot you will also be watering your babies.  You will also have a clutter free patio... well at least from starter pots.

              Strawberry Plants ready to have Runners Cut
              You will wait a few weeks and then you can gently wiggle the baby plant to make sure that the roots are growing well.  Generally after about one month the roots will be substantial enough that you can then cut the runner between the mother plant and the new plant.  You might even find that after a month roots are growing through the baby plant's pot down into the dirt of the mother plant.  This is a sure sign that your plant is ready to cut free!

              As soon as you cut the new plants free, share them with friends or pot them up in a new larger pot to increase your strawberry production next year.  Don't forget to start this process again to keep those runners in-check!

              Be sure to save your small pots from other plants so you can reuse them.  If you don't have any small pots on hand you can repurpose plastic or styrofoam drink containers. Just make sure you poke holes for drainage.

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              Wednesday, July 24, 2013

              Eat your Radish Seedpods!

              Have you ever munched on Radish Seedpods? Radish Seedpods are wonderful to eat and great for you. However they aren't found on restaurant menus. Believe it or not these pods when eaten young and fresh are great!  Even those who dislike radishes enjoy these pods I have discoved.
              Eatable Radish Pods
              The taste is slightly spicy and the pods have a crunch texture. You want to pick them soon after they form on the plant. These pods are only good before it gets hot outside. After it heats up the pods take on an earthy taste and are fibrous.

              How do you prepare the pods?
              Pick the the pods of the plant within a couple of hours of serving. The fresher the better.  Rinse the radish pods under cold water and set them out on the table to enjoy. They don't need any seasoning, because they are a tad spicy on their own. The larger pods were more spicy than the smaller pods.

              Radish left to flower
              How do you get these pods for yourself?
              Go ahead and grow some radishes, harvest some to eat and grow some to form pods.  One plant will yeild an appetizers worth of pods, although not all pods will be ready at the same time.  So, let a few plants bloom and then go to pod. That way you will have several days of radish seed pod appetizers!  An added bonus of growing the pods is that you will enjoy beautiful flowers two weeks or so before the pods begin to form.

              When to plant:
              You can plant radishes in the spring and fall.  Normal harvest time from seed to radish is about three weeks. Time from seed to pod is going to be closer to two months.  Depending on your zone, you may be able to grow radishes though the winter by using row covers or even a cold frame.

              Don't forget to let some of the pods remain on your favorite plants so you will have seeds for the next growing season.

              Related previous posts:
              Grow Vegetables in your Lawn
              Plant your Tomatoes and Let your Radishes Bolt!


              Monday, May 27, 2013

              Indoor Onion Garden in a Glass

              Indoor Onion Garden
              Did you know that you can reuse your Green Onions by growing them again & again? Have you ever heard of re-growing onions in your kitchen window?  

              It is very simple and really quite amazing to watch. You can keep reusing the same green onions over and over again. Just cut off what you need and watch the onion regrow within a few days right before your eyes!

              If you didn’t grow any green onions in your garden this spring, just pick up a pack at the store. This is a great way to keep the ones you buy at the store fresh until you need them.  Your kids will be amazed by the onions that you can see regrow 1/2 an inch to 1 inch overnight!

              Materials Needed:
              Green onion bulb with roots
              Glass or container

              Place your green onions in a container with just enough water to cover the roots and a few millimeters up the bulb.  When you have a recipe that calls for green onions, or you just want a snack, cut off the amount you desire.  In order to regrow the onion make sure to leave ¾ to 1 inch of the white bulb and roots.

              Change the water and prune your onion garden in a glass every week to keep it fresh and mold away.
              If your container is too deep you can ad some rocks to the bottom. This helps them stand up also.

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              Wednesday, May 8, 2013

              Plant your Tomatoes and Let your Radishes Bolt!

              Tomato Seedling with first set of true leaves
              The weather has finally changed here in Oklahoma and it now appears to be safe to plant your tomato plants outdoors!  We have had an incredibly long winter with record breaking freezing temperatures into May.  All that looks to have passed and we are clear to plant tomatoes and other heat loving crops now.

              Early Scarlet Globe Radish Seeds

              With that being said, I am saying goodbye for now to our radishes we have been sharing and enjoying.  I am letting a few of our favorite varieties “bolt” (meaning – letting them flower and produce seed). The seeds I will harvest from the seed pods and replant in the fall.  The seed pods of the radish plant are also edible, and from what I have just recently learned quite good eaten raw, directly off the plant.  More to come on this, I promise...

              Related Articles:
              Eat Your Radish SeedPods
              Grow Vegetables in your Lawn

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              Tuesday, April 9, 2013

              Grow vegetables in your lawn

              Mess with my lawn? What? You must think that I am off my rocker. In America most of us think of our lawn as the green grassy area of beauty that must look better than our neighbors. Why or how would I grow vegetables in my lawn? 

              Grow Radishes in Lawn

              You may be looking out the window and seeing weeds in your dormant lawn. Before you run to the store to buy Roundup, remember that as summer rolls in most of those weeds die back and your grass takes over.

              Planting in your yard follows the same principal, except with vegetables you want instead! However, this only works if you haven’t put down pre-emergent on your lawn. This works well for cool season vegetables such as radishes. Once your grass is fully out of dormancy this method will not work well because the grass roots compete for water, not to mention you will need to mow.

              Why do I want to grow vegetables in my lawn?
              You ran out of space in your garden bed
              You don’t have a garden bed, but desire to grow food
              You have weeds instead of grass anyway
              A fun project to keep your involve your kids in

              Plant Cool Season Seeds in Lawn

              All you need to do is part the grass so that you can see bare dirt. Drop a seed down; push it under the ground just a bit with the end of a pencil. Then cover the seed with a bit of dirt and repeat as many times as desired. Make sure you have at least 6 hours of sun in the area you selected.  Also, don't forget the area needs to stay moist; so occasional watering may be needed. Just as seeds from weeds germinate, so will the seeds of your radishes or other cool season crop you selected.

              The reason I highlighted radishes in this post is due to their quick planting to table time of less than 20 days. If you plant your seeds every 7 days you will have a stead crop of radishes for about two months before your grass comes out of dormancy.  In Oklahoma, March & April as well as October –December is prime radish season time!

              Related Articles:
              Plant your Tomatoes and Let your Radishes Bolt!
              Eat your Radish Seedpods!

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              Wednesday, February 13, 2013

              Buying Tomato Seeds

              Here are a few key things to know when you are buying tomato seeds. Not all that appears equal really is!

              Determinate vs. Indeterminate
              Just think of this as do you want all of your tomatoes ripe within a few days of each other, or do you want the plant to produce small amounts of tomatoes all season long?  Determinate plants fruit ripens all at once, so if you want tomatoes all season long you will need to stagger your plantings of tomatoes about two or three weeks apart. 

              If you are participating in The Great American Tomato project and are going to donate plants I highly recommend growing indeterminate plants. That way the family that receives your plant can enjoy tomatoes for several months.

              Seeds per packet
              Some packets will tell you how many plants you can expect to grow from a single packet, and others will only have the seed weight on the packet. So don't be fooled, the least expensive one can actually cost more.

              Hybrid vs. Heirloom vs. Standard Varieties
              From Standard and Heirloom varieties tomato seeds can be kept from the tomatoes and plants just like the one the tomato came from can be grown.  If you try and grow a tomato plant from a hybrid seed that was saved from a tomato, you will not grow the same plant.

              Vine vs. Bush
              Bush tomatoes especially dwarf varieties make great patio plants. Vine varieties need more space than what you can typically provide in a patio pot. 

              If you are participating in The Great American Tomato project both Vine & Bush plants are needed.

              My Related Posts:
              Jelly Bean Tomato Plant Give Away!
              Buying Tomato Seeds
              Are your Jelly Bean Tomatoes Ripe?

              This is the Variety I grow.

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              Monday, February 4, 2013

              What type of tomato plant should I grow?

              Compact Red Robin Cherry
              Deciding what type of tomato plant to grow is a complicated decision. The selection of tomato plants and seeds at the store can be very overwhelming. 

              When picking a plant or seed the most important consideration to take into account is your space. Most other characteristics of tomatoes can be found in either a compact patio plant variety or a full size traditional plant. Once you have made the decision between patio vs. full size plant the other choices are just a matter of preference. 

              Your next decision is to choose between Heirloom vs. Hybrid vs. Commercially available pants and seeds.

              Product Details
              Multi Color Heirloom Tomatoes

              Heirloom Tomatoes
              As the Heirloom name suggests, these are seeds that have been around quite a long time, often passed down for generations.  The seeds from the strongest plants are kept for the next planting season. With the Heirloom verities you have an array of colors and flavors to choose from. Many of these plants do not produce your typical store bought tomatoes. Heirloom varieties make a beautiful addition to any garden and have flavors from very sweet to even smoky meat. These are believed by many growers to have the best and most unique flavors in the tomato world. Heirloom tomatoes also tend to not ripen at the same time, allowing for enjoyment all summer long. These seeds are popping up in seed displays at garden centers and even more varieties are available online.

              Sweetie Seedless Hybrid Tomato
              Hybrid Tomatoes 
              Hybrid tomatoes have been genetically engineered for specific characteristics, such as more yield and earlier bloom time.  The seeds from these plants will not produce plants like their parents, meaning a new packet of seed must be purchased each year. These tomatoes may or may not ripen at the same time. On the seed packet you will see a “h1” or something similar denoting that it is a hybrid variety.

              Commercially Available
              Commercially available plants are the quick and easy to find plants you will find at Lowes, Walmart or other hardware store that sells seeds and starter plants.  These will produce your typical store bought tomatoes.  These tomatoes often ripen at close to the same time.

              My Related Posts:
              Jelly Bean Tomato Plant Give Away!
              Buying Tomato Seeds
              Are your Jelly Bean Tomatoes Ripe?

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              Monday, January 21, 2013

              Free Plant Seeds

              You can come by free plant seeds a variety of ways.  In fact there are many seeds that you can’t just go to the store and purchase.

              Free Pepper Seeds - 2wks after planting 
              Earlier this month I was eager to start my indoor vegetable garden. I jumped in the car and headed over to my local plant store.  Unfortunately, I was about 2 months too early; they don’t have any seeds or their displays out until early February I was told.

              So, what did I do? Remembering that had been successful in growing bell peppers from the seeds that I had harvested from grocery store bought produce, I broke out the sweet peppers I had in the fridge.  Now you must understand that growing seed from a vegetable that was mass grown is a gamble.  Mass produced plants are often hybridized, or have very specific growing conditions, so don’t set your hopes too high.  But many people, including me, have been successful and happy growing fruit and veggies from seeds collected right out of their fridge.

              Sweet Pepper Seeds in Greenhouse
              Some free ways to get seeds:
              Seed swap with friends
              Collect from raw produce you purchase to eat
              Collect from nature walks
              Collect from your own garden
              Leftovers from last year’s seeds

              Don’t forget to use your pop bottles to make your own free greenhouses.  See my article titled “Make your own Greenhouse out of a Pop Bottle” from January 2013.

              Tuesday, January 8, 2013

              Make your own Greenhouse out of a Pop Bottle

              A 2 liter pop bottle makes a great seed starter and mini greenhouse. Not only does it keep the seeds warm and protected for quick germination, but it also works well as a permanent pot.  As an added bonus with this method, the bottle top allows you to keep your tender seedlings covered longer and requires less maintenance than typical store bought systems.

              You don’t need to spend money on fancy kits, or plastic gardening containers to start seeds or grow plants. Use the instructions below to create your own green house that fits great on your windowsill; perfect for your windowsill garden.
              Pop Bottle Greenhouse Planter
              Materials Needed
              Potting Mix
              2 liter bottle with cap
              Kids – if available

              First, cut the bottle across the center at the point where the midsection is uniform – before and after the curves.  The bottom section will be your pot and the top section will be your cover “green house.”  Now you will want to pre-moisten your potting soil.  I like to do this in the bottom section (pot). Add water until the soil sticks together and stir it up.  Make sure there are no dry spots in your soil.

               Next you will make 2 or 3 small drainage holes – less than the diameter of a straw in the lowest point in the bottom edges of the pot.  You can use the end of a pen or scissors to poke a small hole in the bottom; you don’t need to remove the soil.  Just tip the pot to the side and make the holes. Note: if your soil was really wet, water will drain out when you set the pot upright.

              Now for the top, cut a small slit in the side of the top so that the plastic can slide against itself and the top piece can fit snuggly inside the bottom pot.  This is now your greenhouse & future shield.

              Assembled Greenhouse Planter
              You have a pot with soil ready to be planted. Just plant your seed/seeds and place the lid on top.  If you need to vent your greenhouse, just remove the cap.  Make sure to replace the cap when you have finished venting so that your soil will not dry out. 

              Depending on the type of plant you are growing, you may not need to transplant your seedling at all, just grow it in your 2 liter pot. 
              If you are planning on transplanting your plant outside, you can grow your seedling in your pot longer and larger before you need to plant it outside.  You can then use your top as a shield from the wind outside as you are hardening your plant off, or to protect your plant from a dip in temperature outside.

              Related Articles:
              Buying Tomato Seeds
              Make your own Greenhouse out of a Pop Bottle

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              Saturday, December 22, 2012

              Grow tomatoes on your windowsill

              Do you miss the taste of fresh home grown tomatoes in the winter? Have you read my post titled, “Windowsill Gardening: Your Indoor Vegetable Garden?” Are you eager to plant some tomatoes to grow indoors but aren’t sure what to plant?
              Orange Pixie Tomatoes
              Red Robin Cherry Tomatoes
              These are a few of the varieties that are suited to grow on your windowsill:
              Toy Boy
              Small Fry
              Tiny Tim
              Red Robin Cherry

              How to Grow Tomatoes on Your Windowsill 

              Materials Needed:
              Potting Mix
              Well lit windowsill
              You will want to start a couple of seeds just as you would with any seeds. Place the seed in the potting mix covered with a bit of the mix (per package instructions).  Keep potting mix damp, but not soggy.  The seeds should sprout in 5 to 10 days. 

              To help aid germination, you can create a greenhouse (trapping heat) effect by keeping your pot covered with a translucent plastic cover. You could use the top ½ of a Coke bottle over your pot until your seeds sprout. 

              After your seeds spout, make sure the seeds get plenty of light from your windowsill and that you turn the plant regularly. Also, make sure that the temperature in the window doesn’t drop below 50 degrees at night. If it does either move it to another location at night or try a different window (does only the North window drop below 50 degrees and maybe the South one doesn’t?)

              If you have room or plan to grow more than one plant and are keeping it for yourself, you will want to start the seeds a few weeks apart in order to space your production of tomatoes.

              What should you do with your remaining seeds? Are you participating in the Great American Tomato Project? If you are able, germinate a few of your remaining seeds and give the plants away to someone who needs food assistance.

              Related Articles:
              Buying Tomato Seeds
              Make your own Greenhouse out of a Pop Bottle
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              Thursday, December 20, 2012

              Windowsill Gardening: Your Indoor Vegetable Garden

              If you have a lighted windowsill somewhere in your home did you know you already have a mini greenhouse just waiting for you to plant some vegetables?  All sorts of plants can easily be grown in your windowsill throughout the winter months.

              I bet you are wondering what exactly you can grow in your mini greenhouse?  
              Herbs In Ceramic Pots
              Patio Tomatoes, Patio Peppers – think small bush varieties
              Herbs (mint, basil, thyme, chives, flat & curly leaf parsley)
              Winter Lettuce
              Dwarf Citrus
              Compact Carrots & Turnips

              One word of caution, you also want to make sure that your mini greenhouse (windowsill) doesn’t get below 50 degrees F at night if you choose to grow easily stunted plants like tomatoes.  If it does you will either need to move your plant in the evening away from the window or be more selective about what you grow. 

              I bet your next question is how much light is enough?
              My kitchen window faces north and doesn’t get much light, so it isn’t a candidate to grow vegetable producing plants (although I do overwinter two of my pond plants there). But, my bathroom window faces south and is filled with lots of sunlight.  Just check the lighting requirements on the seed packets and try to match that with your windows lighting. Salad leaves as well as tomatoes and other plants will provide fresh produce provided your windowsill gets plenty of light. Some herbs such as thyme & parsley are more forgiving and will grow in indirect light – although they may become stringy or elongated.  But hey they are just herbs, so give it a shot if you don’t have much direct light.

              These are two varieties I grow and share.

              Related Articles:
              Basil, the Unexpected Flower Arrangement

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              Wednesday, December 19, 2012

              Using Snake -Layering to Propagate Plants

              I just finished up reading what I consider a must have book, Grow Your Food for Free (well almost) by Dave Hamilton. In his book he takes the throw down a branch technique I wrote about in, Want a new plant? Get it Free by Propagation, a step further.  

              Snake-Layering that Dave teaches in this book is simply repeating the step of touching the same branch to the ground except doing it multiple times.  You will need a longer branch to do this of course.  He recommends doing this with longer vines such as kiwis. He points out that layering is one of nature’s natural ways to propagate plants by itself.

              Materials Needed:
              Bush or Plant you wish to propagate

              Begin by using the detailed method outlined in my article “Want a new plant? Get it Free by Propagation.” Now add Snake-Layering by pegging down (with rock) two or three sections of the vine and cover them with dirt.  *Note, you do not have to have leaves showing between your pegged down spots. Leaves will eventually grow between there.

              Each section will eventually root and at each point that it does, you will have a new plant.  Make sure to check each section for adequate roots before you snip away the new plants from their mother. This process will generally take about six months to a year.

              If you are patient, you will end up with multiple replicas of the parent plant.  What a great way to add more of your favorite plant to your yard or gift it to a friend.

              Saturday, December 1, 2012

              Want a new plant? Get it Free by Propagation!

              I learned this frugal and green gardening trick from my mother as a young child.  If you see a plant you like, grab a good looking healthy limb, put it in contact with the dirt and stick a rock on it to hold it in place.  Then viola – in 6 months to a year you have an exact match of the plant!   Now this trick doesn’t work with every plant such as bulbs, but many it will. 

              Rose Bush Limb Propataion
              Materials Needed:
              Bush or Plant you wish to propagate

              Select a limb or branch on the plant that is healthy and you can bend to the ground.  Clear away mulch and dig out a shallow spot so the limb can come into contact with about 1 to 2 inch section of the ground.  You will need about 2 to 5 inches of the limb showing from the ground (this will be your new plant).  Make sure you clear the dirt the appropriate distance from your mother plant. Lay your limb down, cover the section that meets the dirt with about an inch of dirt and place a rock on it to hold it in place.  *Note some gardeners like to make a slit in the branch and/or use root hormone where the plant comes in contact with the ground, I never have. 

              Now just treat this plant as you would the mother plant.  Wait 6 months, and then dig around the plant gently with your finger.  If you are eager and you feel there are sufficient roots cut the limb that connects your new plant from the mother plant.  I wait a few more weeks and then you can dig and move the plant to a new location, or leave it happily growing where it is.
              Mother Rose Bush being Propagated

              Bonus: Propagated plants make great gifts! I am currently propagating a rose bush my mother-in-law gave me several years ago for mother’s day.  She purchased two and gave one to me and one to her daughter. This bush has preformed amazingly well in my yard. For some reason she didn’t buy herself one, however she loves roses.  Guess who I plan to give one of my propagations to?
              Propagated Oak Leaf Hydrangea

              This is a picture of an Oak Leaf Hydrangea that my mother propagated for me about two years ago. I saw several in the store, but I didn’t want it bad enough to spend $35 on it.  I remembered that my mom had several in her yard that were doing fabulous in a location very similar to where I planned to plant mine, so I asked her to “throw down a limb” for me.  True, the hard part is waiting, but in the end, knowing that you have a beautiful plant that you made or received as a gift is wonderful!

              Please share your success stories or failures below.  Thank you!