The end of July marks the start of fall gardening in Georgia. Now is the time to root new tomato, some herb (basil, oregano, lavender, rosemary, thyme and sage), and pepper cuttings so they continue to produce through the prewinter months. Not that we need more to do. This is one of the busiest times of the year and now in the midst of mad-harvesting, we’re planting!
So how do you root from cuttings and save yourself time, energy, and money? Easy.
For tomatoes (also for peppers):
- Cut a 12 inch long branch and submerge it in 6 inches of water. Keep it in a shady area outdoors or a window indoors.
- When the roots are about an inch long, the branches may be moved directly into the garden or potted for about two weeks (this is up to you but if you decide to move it directly into your garden, you need to plant it quite deep).
- Water the soil thoroughly every two days and you’ll soon have wonderful new plants!
For herbs (basil, oregano, lavender, rosemary, thyme and sage):
- Take the cutting at a node on the stem (where the leaves attach), because this is where root formation is more abundant.
- Remove the lower leaves and insert the cut end of the stem into moist media such as soil mix, vermiculite or perlite.
- Cover the container with plastic to help increase relative humidity. If the plastic lays on the foliage, it can decay. Place the pot in a warm, shaded location.
- Bend a stem to the ground, remove leaves from that stem section, cover the section with soil, and water gently. The new plant will be nourished by the mother plant until it is ready to survive on its own.
- Leave about 6 inches of the upper portion of the stem above ground and upright. If necessary, stake stems to hold them in place, or put a rock or other heavy object on top of the mound.
- To help stimulate faster rooting, cut a wound just below a node on the stem portion to be buried. Once rooted, the new plant can be severed from the mother plant and potted for indoor growing.
I think we are trained to think that we need to run to the nearest greenhouse for seedlings to start over with all new plants for each season of gardening, an expensive and wasteful habit and not necessarily a time-saver.
In the past few years, more and more people are planting gardens to cut food costs or just to be able to afford chemical-free vegetables. This means that those who are new to gardening fall prey to profit-hungry commercial gardening centers who urge us to buy trays of seedlings and packets of seeds. There is no mention of seed-saving, cuttings, or any form of propagation in most beginner gardening books/pamphlets. This saddens me because new gardeners are being robbed of an opportunity to have a level of self-sufficiency even within the confines of apartment gardening (container gardening,rooftop gardens, and balcony beds). I vow to show more posts on seed saving and low-cost gardening tricks.
Any requests? Tips?