Propagating Plants: Part 1

So it’s here – the time of year when you can never find enough room for the seeds you have sown, the cuttings you have taken and the multiple divisions you have made from your plants. No where to sit in the garden as chairs, benches and table are covered with pots; barely anywhere to stand in the greenhouse with seed trays, modules and plants everywhere. Overwintered plants are spilling out from the cloches at the front of the house and it still feels as if I haven’t and can’t do enough propagating. Amidst all the pleasure and abundance is this nagging feeling that the Spring is spinning away from me.

As usual there have been  successes and frustrating failures with seeds that have excitingly popped up after just a couple of days – cosmos – and others that have completely failed to germinate – too many to mention. Can never quite work out why that is and so to learn more and curb my characteristic haphazard approach, I booked a day’s course on propagating at Green and Gorgeous which turned out to be absolutely wonderful and probably the most generous course I have ever been on. Generous because I returned home with a potential cutting garden, new knowledge and many useful tips to refine and improve what I  do. There were also many reminders of what I already know, but stubbornly don’t do consistently.

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Healthy, rooted dahlia cuttings from course

The first being to only use fresh seed and to buy these new every year. This is something that I understood years ago, but somehow still can’t stick to – hence the waste of time watching bare compost resolutely remain bare compost before I throw it onto the garden and start again. So a ruthless sort out and throwing away of old seeds is on the agenda to make sure there is only fresh seed left.

And then all these fresh packets are going to be kept in airtight containers with silica gel in the cool – perhaps even smuggled into the fridge if no one is looking. That definitely means not abandoning seed tins in the heat of the greenhouse.

The first part of the day with Rachel at Green & Gorgeous was spent sowing seeds in trays and modules: tiny seed in the trays and larger in modules – all sprinkled with vermiculite. So now, 3 weeks on I am pricking out the antirrhinums and potting on the sunflowers and zinnias. Ammi Majus, Malope and others have germinated and will soon be ready to move on.

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Antirrhinum seedlings waitng to be pricked out

In short time before a break for delicious biscuits and coffee, we had been sown seeds for hundreds of plants –  very satisfying and that was just the start.

 

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