Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Getting Ready for Spring

Ducks enjoying the North East River

Today was a typical early winter day - frosty in the morning and then warmer as the sun came into full strength. I couldn't help but want to work outside, knowing that in just a few weeks, there was a high possibility that snow would be covering everything. So, the next decision was what to do outside. I wandered down to the water and snapped a couple pictures of ducks but not finding any eagles, I moved on. Our shed needed a little attention as we had been tossing various items inside without any sense of order so I spent a little time cleaning it up.

Seeing all the garden tools made me want to plant something. I love growing plants and find a satisfaction from the process of watching them grow. Somewhere in my readings, an author explained her love of gardening was a result of seeing progress in the plants, unlike so many of her daily tasks at work or home that were repetitious and never changing. 

Fig bush cuttings

Today, I was cleaning up some debris in my yard and noticed that some of my fig bush clippings were still green on the inside, in spite of the fact that I cut them a few weeks ago and the nighttime temperatures had dropped below freezing for many of the nights. I pulled them out of the pile of yard waste and cut about eight sections, each with four or five leaf nodes.

Fill with garden soil
Some people use rooting hormones, but since I didn't have any and I have had great success on other cuttings without using any, I decided to forgo its use. We have chickens who produce wonderful dark black compost from our kitchen scraps, so I filled a small plant pot about three quarters full.

Press fig branches into the soil

Starting new plants from cuttings is so easy and free! I simply poked the cuttings into the soil so that at least two or three of the nodes were covered. 

Water the soil around the cuttings

Next, I watered them to settle the soil and make better contact between the cuttings and the dirt.

Cover with plastic
Finally, I covered them with a plastic bag to create a nice humid atmosphere around them. 

Now they are sitting in the newly straightened out shed, waiting for spring. I expect they will start rooting in about four weeks and then depending how cold the shed gets, I might get leaves any where from late February to late April. Of course, I will then transplant them into their own pots.

With that project done, I think I will continue and do the same thing with some other woody perennials I have around here. 

Think concord grapes, red currants, roses, azaleas...