Tag Archive propagation

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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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Taking Cuttings from Cabbage

Cloned cabbageI am posting this article to collect in one place all the information I have on taking cuttings (or cloning) the humble cabbage. It is a physical experiment I am conducting based on a sentence in a permaculture book. That book said that once you had cut the head of a cabbage you could wait for smaller ones to grow then replant them in the soil for new cabbages. This seems a handy technique for those of us who would rather spend nothing than waste good money on seed. If you add up the price of all the seed packets you buy each year it really adds up. And for us sustainability freaks, we really want to beat the greengrocer. Read More

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Happy 4th Birthday “Dwarf” Green Curly Kale Plus Asturian Tree Cabbage “Broccolis”

Asturian Tree CabbagePicked some “broccoli” from the allotment and fried it with an egg. It was nice but it wasn’t strictly speaking a broccoli but the flowering shoot of an Asturian Tree Cabbage which is both good looking and tasty. It is also a perennial and even though it is starting to flower is not showing any of the smaller leaves normally found on flowering brassicas. Like many brassicas it can be kept alive for more than two years by removing all the flowering shoots but the flowering shoots of the Asturian Tree Cabbage are much larger than most brassicas that are not broccolis. I am growing the ATC for its thick cabbage like leaves (though it doesn’t form a head) and the good quality flowering shoots are a real surprise to me. There are other smaller side shoots so I hope to get lots more as the spring progresses. Read More

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Saving my own leek seeds and getting them to germinate.

DSC_0945Another little experimental victory, this time leek seed saving. I have experimented with different ways to propagate the humble leek and there are many but your bog standard seed saving is something I have never done. This is strange because most people would not think of propagating a vegetable any other way. As well as seed saving leeks can be propagated by bulbils (pips or grass) and by bulblets. 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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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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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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Leek vegetative propagation, bulblets (clones).

Leek bulblets at base of leek flower stalkI’ve been told that if you are collecting seed from leeks and the seed hasn’t gone black by now (21st September) then drastic action is required. So I’ve cut the seed heads, put them in bags and taken them home. Collecting the seeds was not the only sustainable technique i did with the leeks today, i also dug them up looking for bulblets. Read More

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Striking cuttings from cabbages and a visit to Jekka’s Herb Farm

Rooted cabbage cutting (Greyhound)More experimentation has yielded results!. Well confirmed another’s research which is just as good. You’ll read such interesting sentences in permaculture books as “cut the head of a cabbage and when new heads appear replant them”. And then you think to yourself – what really?. Well, I tried it and it has worked, as confirmed by the photo to the left. I cut the head from one of my cabbages, ate it with my in-laws and let the stump resprout about half a dozen mini cabbage heads which I pulled off the stump and bunged in pots of compost. I then smashed the stumps with hammers, threw them on the compost heap and waited for the mini cabbages to sprout roots. With much scepticism I might add. Read More

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Annuals vs Perennials

Perennial vegetable growing is a bit of a buzzword for permaculture types and very often the question is asked – why are annual veggies grown when perennial ones are just so much easier and sustainable?. Take rhubarb and asparagus, frinstance, very traditional perennial veg that everyone knows about – big yields and very popular on allotments everywhere. Why have we not replaced all our annuals with such fine perennial equivalents? Read More

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