Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Propagation 101--and some!

We have been busy cleaning, sorting and consolidating in the greenhouses and cold frames, so as to be prepared when the first frosts appear--one of the worst possible scenarios would be getting caught off-guard!  By starting early, we can be thorough in our inventory-making for spring and maximize our already limited space.  Because we rely so heavily on our bedding plants, this is a very important task. Since space is so tight, we typically start a group of cuttings or seeds together in one pot, and as they begin to develop roots, we re-plant them in their own pot, the size of which varies with the size of the plant. 

Fergus gave us a list of plants, cuttings and plugs to "pot on" for spring.  The term "pot on" basically means moving a plant into a bigger pot to encourage optimal root growth. So much of gardening is about timing and planning ahead, and we want to utilize the next 2-3 weeks for additional root development on these plants, before the cold fully arrives. This will give us a head start come spring. After the plants are potted, we place them in the cold frame under a "light"(the name for a piece of glass), which will help trap the heat, and encourage root growth. 

Newly potted on plants under light in a cold frame

Also included in our punch list were a variety of seeds to sow into seed trays or pots. As these germinate and grow, we will be able to "prick out" the seedlings into plug trays, and then into individual pots as we get into next season. 

Myosotis 'Blue Silver' pricked out into plug trays (Right)
We also started moving unused Cannas and Dahlias into the cellar, making sure they're properly labeled and organized, so they'll be easy to differentiate in the spring. We haven't started lifting any from the garden yet, but that will begin soon enough! 

Sorting out Cannas and Dahlias in the cellar

Having had minimal previous propagation experience, I have enjoyed this type of work and learned a lot. It's fascinating to see a plant in this earliest stage and care for it, while watching it develop into form for next season. Speaking of next season, although one season is coming to a close, we are already getting ready for next year--the cycle never ends really! 

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