Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Experiment

I have started the "experiment" for next years garden already. Last years did not go well. Last year I tried to make my own compost barrels. However I overlooked, in my enthusiasm, that the barrels I had access to were white. Stuff in white barrels will NEVER compost. The rabbits thought they made comfy dwellings however, and right in the garden.... how handy. So the barrels will get pulled sometime in the next few days and we will go back to an open pile, at least for now.

Anyway, back to the experiment that's working. A week ago I took cuttings from my tomatoes. I had four varieties... Rutgers, Mr. Stripey, Mortgage Lifter and Grape, which is a cherry variety. The cuttings were at different stages of growth. Some were newer and fleshier, which were the ones I thought would root the fastest. Some were stalkier. I pinched off any blossoms that were trying to set and also pinched off quite a few leaves.

Grape, the cherry variety, just looked like hell. It was about an act of desperation to take those cuttings. Very stemmy. They had been well chewed by the grasshoppers and out of four cuttings, only one had a leaf on it.

I have different stages of growth trying to root for three of the four varieties. All seem to be doing well. I have lost about five cuttings. One because he got hung up and never got into the water. The other four I think air bubbled and I should have trimmed them again before putting them in water. All the other cuttings look good, well, except for the Grape. They still look like hell but they have started to set tiny little leaves and they have all set new roots. Of all the cuttings they are doing the best with rooting.

I added eggshell to the water of some of the cuttings. It was an old gardeners trick I had heard of so half of the cuttings got eggshell. I expected that the half with the shell would root faster. That is not working out to be the case. Some are rooting, some aren't. Though the ones rooting have nothing in common. They aren't all stemmier. They didn't all have the same amount of leaf. They aren't all of the same variety. Go figure! For now I will be glad that they are all doing so well. They are all pulling water well. The leaves all look nice and fleshed out. Some are trying to set blossom again. This is happening just by setting them in containers with water. No rooting hormone or other additives other then eggshell. If they all survive, I will be starting my garden with about seventy tomato plants. I am a tomato glutton, so next spring I will still go ahead and order seeds for Riesentraube and Heinz 1429. I will probably also buy a few plants of Brandywine and Oxheart, but if this cutting method of propagation works well, I will very possibly never start tomato seeds again. This is sooo easy!!!

I will need to start looking at grow lights that will imitate full spectrum light. Just not enough sunlight in the house in the winter. I really hope they're cheap. While I'm hoping.. I hope the cuttings keep doing well. I would like to have a few success stories right now. What the hell! I hope one of the lotto tickets that I bought last week wins!


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