Category Archives: Cuttings & Plant Propogation

My Cotton Is Trying To Produce A 2nd Harvest

I bought some green heirloom cotton seeds from Southern Exposure seeds.  I have been growing a half dozen or so plants for a few years, just collecting the cotton for the time being.

I planted the plants – this year from last year’s seeds – in the spring and the cotton was ready to harvest by late summer.  I decided to just leave the plants in the ground after harvest.  I then noticed that the plants put on new leaves and then new buds.  I let them grow.  By late fall and cold weather, the plants had put out flowers and then the baby bolls developed.  Unfortunately the 2nd wave of buds could not mature before the killings frosts arrived.  I am in zone 8.  If I was a zone or 2 warmer, these plants would have probably produced a harvestable 2nd round.

This plant has a 2nd round bloom on a plant with a harvested cotton shell noted by the hand.

2nd blooming of east texas green heirloom cotton

These re-blooms came in two colors – pinkish/light lavenderish and yellow.

east texas green heirloom cotton pink flower

east texas green cotton with yellow bloom

The catalog said that these plants grow to about 5 feet.  Mine, in a raised bed with less than 12″ of soil on top of red clay ground, and planted about 12″ apart, grew to about 28 or so inches.  The catalog says that they should be planted 18-30″ apart in rows 5 ft. apart.  I don’t have that kind of room, in fact, I don’t have any on-ground growing space because of our red clay soil.  I am running the risk damaging the genetic quality of my seeds by growing them in less than ideal conditions.  I am considering maybe planting one plant at the end of some of my beds, hoping that maybe a plant by itself may have more root room in my tightly packed beds.

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Propagating Rosemary

I like my large 2 1/2′ to 3′ rosemary plants in large clay pots on the patio.  I purchased my last few rosemary plants from the produce section of a grocery store at $2.99 or so each.  This is too expensive to keep doing, so I decided to try to grow my own rosemary plants from cuttings because I realized this is how nursery rosemary plats are grown – from cuttings not from seeds.   I do have a packet of rosemary seeds and intend to sprout them at some point in the future.

I took several 3-4″ cuttings from the ends of woody branches.  I cut the stem at an angle, dipped the cut end in rooting hormone and put them in water.  In less than a week roots were growing on the cut ends.  I then planted the rooted cuttings in potting soil.

The cuttings in water.
rosemary cuttings in water

Within a week or so, the cuttings have grown roots.

roots on rosemary cuttings

The rooted rosemary cuttings in potting soil.
rooted rosemary cuttings

That was fun.  Looking for something else to try to propagate.  Looking forward to see how fast these cuttings grow.

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I Always Thought Strawberries Were Hard To Grow, I Was Wrong

Last year I bought a dozen Ozark ever-bearing strawberry plants from Gurneys.  They put out babies and I now have strawberries all over, even growing in the dirt around the door to my greenhouse where I had some of these pots sitting when trying to find a place for them.

My original plants didn’t produce well the first year, but this second year they are turning out the berries.  Strawberry plants should live for about 5 to 6 years, but start to decline after about 3 years.  My plants are ever bearing, so after a summer break, I can expect another crop in the fall.

I planted most of the strawberry plants in 10″ hanging pots, but set the pots in this bed for a while.  The plants sent out runners and the ones that rooted over-ran this bed.  I wish that I had mulched it better – I need to add something, maybe chopped leaves to keep the berries off of the ground.

strawberry bed

I am surprised how strong and hardy these plants are.  We have mild winters in east Texas, having had only a few nights of mid to upper 20 degree weather and only a few 30 degree days.  These plants handled it just fine.  The crown is constantly putting out new leaves.

The easiest way to grow strawberries is in hanging pots.  The fruit cleanly hangs from the sides and does not rot on the ground.  Easy to harvest also.  A 10″ pot is sufficient for one strawberry plant.

strawberries hand from hanging pot

My problem now is to weld up some rebar into hanging pot stands, enough to handle about 3 dozen hanging pots.

Don’t allow too many runners to grow from the plants – most sources seem to say that 3 runners are sufficient, although no one discusses how many plants to allow per runner.  The runners produce at least 3 to 4 plants each.  The runners take plant energy from fruit production, but I want some runners so that I can have more plants.

When you plant a strawberry plant, be aware that the crown is the heart of the plant – the crown should be half buried in the dirt.  If you totally bury the crown, it could rot.  They like full sun and slightly acidic soil – pH of 5.5 to 6.8.

I temporarily have about 2 dozen handing baskets on several bent cattle panels – this one is on the panel that I grow my yard long green beans and Chinese long red beans, so I will have to move them in a month or so.  I am just going to let the strawberry plants in the bed stay there.  Wood sorrel has been sprouting all over my place – it is the lighter green leaves in the front end of this bed.  Going to pull it and get the beans planted.

strawberry bed under beans

Strawberries are a delightful plant to grow in your garden.

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Goji Berry Is Very Easy To Root

I discovered this by accident.  I have a 3 year old Goji Berry (also called Wolf Berry) that is ready to go into the ground this spring, if I can find the proper location.

3 year old goji berry

It is a 3 foot tall, bushy plant with soft, thin branches that easily snap.  I accidentally snapped off one while moving the plant and decided to put in a small container filled with perilite and a dash of vermiculite.  I checked it a week later and to my surprise it had several short, translucent white roots growing from the bottom inch!

I went ahead and put it in potting soil.

Seeing this success, I snapped off a few more branches that were too low on the plant – they would be laying on the ground if I was to plant my potted goji berry in the ground.

goji berry cuttings

If these 3 cuttings also root, I am going to try a lot more, cutting all of the lowest branches that would be laying on the ground when I plant this 3 year old in the ground.  I am very excited.  Goji berry are always rather pricy in nursery plant catalogs.

The soil is acidic and red clay where I live.  Goji berry need alkaline soil (pH of 6.8 or higher), so I am going to have to dig a large hole, about 2 feet deep and 2 foot diameter and fill it with peat and organic matter when I plant this 3 yr old.  I will probably have to lime it annually.  This plant has cute little lavender flowers in the spring.  One of these years, when this plant matures, those flowers will result in red berries in the fall.  Goji berry plants grow up to 10 feet high at maturity.  They are sort of like a weeping willow bush in growth pattern.  Mine is only 3 feet tall, but instructions generally say to prune it back to 5 feet when it grows to 10 feet.  This is supposed to produce a greater harvest.  They are self fertile and drought resistant.  Finally, they grow in partial to full sun.  Full sun is defined as at least 6 hours of full sun a day.

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A Buckeye Update – They All Made It!

Upon closer examination of the 4 pots with buckeyes planted in them, I realized that they all did infact sprout.  The other 4 just hadn’t surfaced yet, but their roots were growing out of the pots.  I’m very pleased.  The buckeye/firecracker plant is a real gem.

Circled in red are the 2 buckeyes that sprouted first.  (Notice a sprouting pine in the pot on the right)

sprouting buckeyes

I had gathered 6 buckeyes, all from the same 3′ plant down the driveway.  It is said that the germination rate of these plants is about 50%, but it looks like I achieved 100%!!  These other 4 pots have not yet sprouted so I looked at the bottom of them and noticed these large roots growing out of the holes.  To get some of them out, I had to cut the bottom of the pots.  Oh joy, now I have 6 buckeyes to go plant in the woods, not too far from the house.  Now that I know what I am dealing with, I will be on the lookout for the buckeye seeds by next September.  I now know what to look for as far as the seed pods on the plants.
roots growing out of the bottom of the pots

Today is about 3 weeks since I have cut out and re-potted these seedlings and most have them are now popping thru the soil surface!!!  I’m really thrilled as this such an interesting plant although it has no food value.  The plant does well in full sun, but the ones in our woods are in mostly shade, as shall these be once I get them planted out in the next few weeks.

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The Cactus Shelf

Finally got the greenhouse just about all set up, 2 years after we moved!  This is a shot of my cactus shelf.

cactus shelf

Some are started from seed and some are propagated by cuttings from larger cactus.  Love those little cactus.  This is the baby cactus shelf, the larger cactus are sitting around the green house.

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Buckeyes Have Sprouted

Two of the six buckeye seeds that I planted last fall have sprouted.  This is the nicest one, the other one has small red leaves still twisted and compacted, not yet opened.  I hope I didn’t damage the other buckeye when I had to cut it out of it’s plastic seedling pot when the root grew thru a hole.

buckeye seedlings

These buckeyes have enormous roots – many times thicker than the plant stem.  That is probably to be expected as the buckeye seed is so large.  Note to self:  next year when I look for more buckeyes to plant, closely monitor the root development so they don’t grow out of the bottom of the pot, actually just go ahead and use my deepest seedling pots.

Not the best picture, but here it is.

buckeye roots

As soon as danger of any real frost is over, in a month or 2, I need to get these seedlings planted in their final location.  Such a neat plant.

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Two of My Buckeyes Have Sprouted!

As stated in a prior post, I was surprised to find a half dozen buckeyes sitting under what I thought was a ‘Fire-cracker Plant’, only to find out that a Buckeye and Fire-cracker plant are one and the same.

Buckeyes have a 50-50 germination rate and the un-planted seed deteriorates quickly, so I planted them the next day or so.  Well, that was the end of October.  Now, almost 2 months later, at least 2 of the buckeyes have sprouted.  Oh the joy!

some buckeyes have sprouted

Since I now know what to look for and what to do with them, each fall I’ll gather the buckeyes and sprout as many as I can.

They grow in partial shade in our woods, although literature indicates that they also like full sun. ‘ll leave them in this greenhouse until spring, then I need to get them planted in a safe, final location this spring.

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This Is A Reason to Not Trellis Winter Squash

Winter squash will root at stem junctions if allowed to grow over the ground.  For space considerations, I have to trellis most of my winter squash, however here is a plant that grew back down the trellis/cattle panel and along the ground.  It was a very long and healthy vine.
winter squash roots at stem junctions

And another:
winter squash rooting at stem junctions

On a trellised plant, you can see half-inch to inch white roots trying to grow at the stem junctions.  If they touch dirt, wow, another set of roots will develop.

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Today, when walking to the mail box, I saw them – six of them – clustered together under what I thought was a Firecracker plant next to the driveway.

Doing a bit of research I found that the Firecracker plant and the buckeye are the SAME plant.

These are large seeds – a bit larger than a whole walnut.  The buckeye at the top looks like it has already started t germinate.  In the top right is a part of the outer shell that holds 2 or 3 of these buckeyes together in their pod.  They reportedly aren’t viable for long so I planted them in small deep pots with potting soil.   If they sprout – they are said to have a 50% germination rate – I will plant them in a deeper pot.  I hope to plant them in the ground in the woods by late spring next year.

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