Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Potatoes and tomatoes and strawberries....

As spring warms up, naturally a girl's thoughts turn to propagation. My old hot house was covered in clear plastic, but that made it more like a boiling hot house in summer, so I've replaced the plastic with shade cloth, drawing upon ancient sewing lessons from yesteryear. When we've got our water tank, I'll probably set up a sprinkler system on a timer to keep things moist.

At this point, I'm propagating some native grasses to put into some of the bushier areas of the garden (Wallaby Grass, Danthonia sp.; Kangaroo Grass, Themeda triandra; Tussock Grass, Poa labillardieri; and Meadow Grass, Microlaena stipoides, as well as some Hen and Chicken Fern, Asplenium bulbiferum. Before it gets too warm, I'll also do some cuttings, probably of various Grevillea species.

The vegie patch is coming on a treat. Plenty of flowers on the tomatoes, and so far, few pests. With luck I'll be able to stay organic. The drip irrigation system I installed is working well. It's great to be able to use so little water by directing it straight to the plants!


Cryptandra said...

Did you build the hothouse yourself Margaret? What type of plastic did you use?

Anonymous said...

THe trouble with propagating is keeping the 'spares', (plants grown just to ensure you end up with enough), down to a manageable population, lol

Margaret said...

Hi Melaleuca,

No, alas I didn't make it myself. It's constructed from PVC piping, and has plastic shelves. I bought it at one of the big hardware stores. It's reasonably solid, although probably a bit small for my tastes.

Margaret said...

How true that is, Bare Bones Gardener. And just because you think the seedlings you've grown of some tree that's going to get to 30 metres are the best thing in the world, doesn't mean your friends will!

(Welcome to my blog, by the way!)

Cryptandra said...

Well Margaret, with 8 acres to plant out I think I'll need a huge shade house or hot house. Probably the former is more important. I think I'll buy one so I can get to work straight away.

I move on 27 November and I'm practically hyperventilating with excitement!!

Margaret said...

Melaleuca, yes I definitely think a shade house is more important than a hot house. You can always build or buy mini hot houses and install them inside the shade house, if you need one.

Something I've been using that I find really useful is this "Aquamiser Home Propagating Kit":

(Sorry about the clunky URL!)

If you put a number of cuttings into each of the eight pots and lids, you get a lot of plants. The valve controlled watering system is simple and very effective. If you bought a few of these, you could hook them up to a large water container and it'd save a lot of work.

Margaret said...

Ack that URL didn't work.

I'll post it in two bits:

Hope that works if you join the two bits together!

Cryptandra said...

Thanks a lot Margaret. I really do appreciate good advice :)

Margaret said...

No problem, Melaleuca. After all, every gardener wants to see other gardeners succeed, right? (Well, maybe not if they're competing to grow the biggest marrow but they don't count.)

Do you have a good recipe for propagation mix? This is what I use, for both seed raising and cuttings:

1 part horticultural sand
2 parts coir
1 part Perlite

Perlite isn't cheap, but the mix over all is more economical than buying a commercial propagation medium. I make up a big batch and keep it in one of those old fashioned garbage bins.