Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Propagating Plants, Gathering Roots, and Digging Up Bulbs

In a few short days, I will be standing on West Virginia soil.  With emotions changing moment to moment, I remain steadfast in completing my to-do lists and saying my "goodbye's."  My list today: unplug refrigerator (so it can defrost), gather garden plants, and take kitty to vet for her travel certificate.  For the garden plants, I gathered a few plants, some roots, and some bulbs.  The bulbs consisted of some lilies, alliums, daffodils, and crocuses.  I also propagated blueberries and a cherry bush.  This is my first experience propagating so we'll see if roots develop, especially since they will be placed in a cardboard box for about 2 weeks during travel.

For propagating, I selected healthy stalks, about 6 inches long and cut the stalk right below a node.

The stalk was then dipped in a rooting hormone powder. 

Excess powder was shaken off.

I placed some soil in a bag, made a well in the middle, and placed the stalk in the well.

Using a rubberband, I secured the bag around the stalk.  It's fairly loose to allow moisture to escape. 

Here are some of the blueberries that were propagated.  I also propagated a cherry bush---not sure if that will work, but we'll find out!

The next task was digging up some of the strawberries for the new home.  The picture above may not look like much, but this little plot provided enough strawberries for fresh-eating and filled 2 gallon freezer bags full last summer!  This strawberry patch provided the most yield for its space and required the least amount of work than other plants in the garden.  Best of all, our son picked almost all of them for us!

I filled a box about half full of strawberry plants.  I estimate there are about 50 plants total which didn't even make a dent in the patch.

The next project was gathering blackberry roots.  In the picture above, the "mother" blackberry plant is in the upper right corner and my hand in the lower left is holding two roots.  From what I found online, clip about 8 inches of root coming from the "mother" root.  

I only gathered 4 root clippings because this blackberry plant is only 3 years old.  It may have been too young to gather roots from.  Unfortunately I will never find out if the "mother" plant survives because I won't be here this summer.  I can only hope...

I also gathered two shoots from the rhubarb plant (leaving 5 behind).  Again, this is another experiment---I had to brake these 2 shoots off the main root, but also make sure that the main root I gathered had some small roots growing from it. 

I got a little shovel crazy trying to uproot the giant rhubarb mass; because of this, I broke off a root section.  I was surprised that the root was so large---about 1.25 inches in diameter!!  The root smelled like fresh rhubarb!


jenn merfee-t February 28, 2012 at 2:41 PM  

Thanks to your step-by-step blog post (and you holding my hand through the process in person), I had enough confidence to uproot (pun intended) my rooting compound and propagate myself some new blueberry bushes and grape vines. I even offered my excess to Portland Fruit Tree Project, but will pass them on to Growing Gardens when they pass out plant starts this spring. It is nice to create and share excess, especially when it comes to food. If I water them enough, my family will be eating a lot more fruit in the coming years. I hope your plants all traveled safely.

About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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