Roots & Wings

Gardening expertise comes in time and from experience, not to mention a lot of trial and error. I’ve had my share of failures and not just in my novice days. With nature itself always in flux, organic gardeners are constantly striving to work with Mother Nature as much as possible whether dealing with pests, soil issues, or weather. Here in the southwest, the weather is a constant ever-changing issue. And since gardening is my hobby/obsession, reading and researching about plants, disease, and any number of other plant related topics, this often leads to my implementing something new to see what results. Sometimes it turns out a failure. Other times, I am pleasantly surprised. Gardening is always an exercise in faith that often reminds the gardener of life’s resilience. This was the case recently when I transferred my tomato plants outdoors. Every year I start tomatoes indoors from seed, and when there is no longer a threat of frost, move them to their spot in the garden beds. Soon after I transplanted several young tomato plants to their chosen spots, the winds as they always do, came sweeping down the plains. I soon noticed one of the newly placed tomato plants lying on the dirt. The wind had snapped its stem. While it looked pitiful as it lay wilting, I snatched it up and thought maybe if I placed it in water, it might grow roots. After about 45 minutes in water, the injured plant’s leaves perked up and no longer limp. I felt I was onto something. So, I reached for my laptop to do research on tomato propagation. I’m happy to report that tomatoes can be easily propagated from cuttings. I sure wish I knew this a long time ago, as I’ve experienced this same wind damage before which is why I always start so many tomato plants from seed every year. With this newfound knowledge, I plan to reduce the number of tomato starters and rely on cutting propagation as it is so much easier.

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rooting tomato plant

I plan to apply this technique to a grapevine cutting and broken hydrangea stem as well. One of the grandbabies accidentally stepped on the young hydrangea. My research revealed that these plants will grow roots if placed in water too. We shall see.

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grapevine and hydrangea stem

Other plants that I do know propagate well when placed in water are the following: Rosemary, Mint, Thyme, Oregano, Basil, Begonias, and Sweet Potato. I’ve always made cuttings of the herbs to overwinter in case of a harsh winter season. Eventhough I use row covers to protect them, I have lost some herb plants due to prolonged cold snaps. Another reason to do this, it saves money and increases the number of plants to grow in the garden or share with others. I forsee some more experimenting on cutting propagation in my future.

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