Tag Archive cuttings

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Cabbage Experiment (Mixed Results So Far), Potato Onions and Brassica Cuttings

I’ve spent quite a bit of time (nearly a year now) on one of my favourite experiments. According to Bill Mollison (one of the two founders of permaculture) you can grow a cabbage, chop its head off, watch 4 or 5 new small cabbage heads appear where the main one once was and then remove them, bung them in the soil and grow new cabbages. Well, I set about confirming this (what appears to be a little dodgy) information by trying it out, in reality, in my back garden. I choppped the heads off two of my greyhound cabbages, waited for multiple small ones to regrow and removed them carefully using my thumbnail to get in right up against the main stalk of the plant. From previous experience taking cuttings from perennial kales & kailaan I know it is at this point that roots will grow, where the cutting meets the main stalk. Read More

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A Spring Start in the Back Garden

Another good day in the back yard and what beautiful spring weather. I may be tempting fate but Spring seems to have arrived a month earlier than last year. Seeds are germinating and herbaceous perennials are popping their heads up out of the ground. I have been busy removing the mulch in the back garden, the reason being my number one enemy (the slug) thrives under vegetative rubbish and also because I want the soil to warm up and mulch can delay the soil warming. I’m not going to compost it though, I am going to continue its use as mulch both for preserving moisture for my potted plants and for progressive mulching for potatoes. Read More

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Overwintering African Blue Basil, Chillis, Aubergines and Dividing Scorzonera

Well first off I failed with the aubergines – it died a couple of months back and I forgot to let you all know. I’ve never got this to work even though Geoff Hamilton (the real Gardeners World presenter according to my dad – sorry Monty) says it is a perennial in two of his books. It may just be I haven’t twigged some really important aspect of overwintering it. If anyone knows how to do this please – I beg of you – drop me a line below.

The chillis are doing well and are showing only minor signs of being annoyed by winter. They are both still green. The African Blue Basil, as a perennial woody shrub, is still alive and both in leaf and in flower. I took 4 cuttings as an insurance policy and these, unfortunately, are taking a battering from some unseen pest. It’s not red spider mite like last time (there are no little orange bits nor wispy webs) but it is defoliating my cuttings. I need to pot them up and inspect them for pests.  Read More

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Dividing scorzonera, vegetative propagation [updated].

Dividing ScorzoneraI must apologise for the length of time between posts but my garden is in a cool temperate zone in the northern hemisphere  and we are in the depths of winter.  There is not much time to garden with the reduced daylight hours and nothing is growing much anyway. It is quite entertaining to look at England’s climate through the eyes of my Amrikan friend who is stunned to find he is able to overwinter brassicas, artichokes and such things here. We complain of the weather but really we are very fortunate, especially in the south of England. Read More

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Looking back at my gardening year, 2013

So, what have I learnt from the past year? Well, as usual my gardening year hasn’t provided the sort of yield I wanted, or if gardening magazines are to be believed I should expect. I don’t know why I should expect my gardening abilities to be as great as Monty Don or Geoff Lawton, especially only being 5 years in, I am a beginner. I do of course hamper myself with ridiculous rules like not importing fertility, especially as I am practically guaranteed to have awesome crops if I dump half a ton of horse manure on the allotment. Read More

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Overwintering African Blue Basil, Comparing Squashes and Testing Compost

My African Blue Basil cuttings which I took in October are romping away now in their tiny modules on my kitchen window sill. They were taken as an insurance policy against my basil bush dying. The African Blue is a perennial basil and a plant you can overwinter here indoors in the UK but I always find the lovely big bushes I buy always die in the autumn. I know it is easier to keep cuttings alive and this seems to be true in this case, they are doing well so far. Read More

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Leek baby bulbs (bulblets), Japanese Bunching Onions dividing and White Clover sending out runners

I just thought I would share with you some of the things I have learnt recently about some of the plants I grow. Because I grow in a perennial fashion (either the plants are perennial or I extend their lifespan in ways such as taking cuttings or preventing them from flowering) I get to see the plants full behaviour over a longer period. Many conventional vegetable gardeners grow annuals from seed and then eat them, freeing the land up often very quickly for a new crop. This succession of plants is intensive and grows a lot of food, but my style of vegetable gardening is less intensive, less hard work, slower and more forgiving to the environment. The slowness allows me to see such things as the full lifespan of such things as the biennial leek. Read More

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Overwintering Chilis, Aubergines and African Blue Basil

My ChilisThat’s it, it is too cold and time for my annual attempt to overwinter tender plants. I should of course give up such a mad endeavour and accept the british climate is what it is and tender plants are what they are. But hope springs eternal and the winter is not that long, is it? It has not all been total failure, two years ago I succeeded in overwintering three chili plants (thus proving it wasn’t a fluke) which cropped well again the next year but succumbed to the next winter. It was gutting.  Read More

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Vegetative Propagation of Cabbages (Taking Cuttings) [updated]

IMAG0791 copyAs reported previously I have put a lot of effort into reproducing my plants without using seeds. Seeds are uncertain, tricky and prone to being wiped out by slugs and damping off. They also cost money and time. With such things as broccoli and kale I can simply pull off a sprout from the main stalk and bung it in some compost. Cabbages don’t have sprouts like this but will grow sprouts if you cut the main head off. This is well known as a technique to get a second harvest but not as a means of taking cuttings. Read More

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No really, last harvest of squashes – properly this time

SquashesLike two years ago, my squashes have been hiding from me. Tonight I have added three new crown princes (the whitish ones) and one small acorn from the allotment. Compare this to the harvest photo I put up a couple of weeks ago. Two years ago my neighbour knocked on the door bearing 2 giant marrows, saying that those were mine and did I want them back. It’s like an easter egg hunt in my back garden most years. The table in the pics is a coffee table and I tried lifting it, bearing in mind that I was trying not to scatter them all over the living room, I found it a struggle to lift. The colours are also changing, compare with the photo before, a lot of the green squashes are going pumpkin orange, which is cool. Read More

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