how to grow hot or chili peppers

Hot peppers are most easily grown from transplants. Start hot pepper seed indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the date you intend to set peppers into the garden.

Peppers can be seeded in the garden or transplanted out 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost in spring after the soil temperature has risen to at least 65°F. Hot peppers grow best where the air temperature ranges from 70° to 95°F. Hot peppers mature in 60 to 95 days.

Peppers are tender perennials that are grown as annuals. Peppers grow on compact erect bushes 1½ to 2 feet tall. The fruit follows a single flower growing in the angle between the leaf and the stem. Hot peppers can range in length from 1 to 7 inches long and in color from green to red to gold and yellow.

Hot peppers vary greatly in spiciness. Choose peppers and the number to plant according to how you plan to use them.

Grow peppers in full sun in soil that is rich in organic matter, moisture retentive but well draining. Peppers prefer a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.8. Work aged garden compost into beds prior to planting. The optimal soil temperature for peppers is 65°F or warmer.

Planting time
Hot peppers grow best in air temperatures 70° to 95°F. Peppers are most easily grown from transplants. Start seed indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the date you intend to set peppers into the garden. Peppers can be seeded in the garden or transplanted out 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost in spring after the soil temperature has risen to at least 65°F. In temperatures greater than 85°F, peppers may drop their blossoms although set fruit will ripen. Hot peppers tolerate hot weather better than sweet peppers.

Planting and spacing
Sow hot pepper seed ½ inch deep, 18 to 24 inches apart. Space rows 24 to 36 inches apart. Sow two seeds to each spot and thin to the most successful seedling. Peppers can be transplanted into the garden when they are 4 to 6 inches tall.

Water and feeding. Keep peppers evenly moist but not wet particularly when blossoms appear and fruit begin to form. Soil that goes too dry can result in flower drop. Add aged compost to planting beds before planting and again at midseason. Water more frequently after the fruit forms. Water heavily 4 to 8 hours before harvest to turn hot peppers more mild; withhold watering before harvest to make hot peppers hotter.

Companion plants
Beets, garlic, onions, parsnips, radishes.

Keep planting beds well weeded to avoid competition. Peppers are shallow-rooted, so cultivate around peppers with care. Mulch to keep soil temperature and moisture even.

Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers which will create large leafy plants with few or no fruits. High temperatures and wind can cause flowers to drop and plants not to set fruit.

Plastic mulch can improve pepper yields. Organic compost mulches will reduce weeding and watering, but not fruit yields.

Use shade cloth to protect peppers from sunburn if the temperature exceeds 105°F.

Container growing
Peppers can be grown in a large container. An 8-inch pot will accommodate a single plant. In larger containers, set plants on 12 inch centers. Peppers can be grown indoors. Peppers started indoors before the last frost in spring will get a head start on the season. Extend the season in the fall by moving plants indoors if frost threatens or if temperatures warm to greater than 90°F. Bring outdoor started peppers inside for a few hours a day at first until they get used to the lower light available indoors.

Peppers can be attacked by aphids, cutworms, flea beetles, and hornworms. Discourage cutworms by placing a collar around each transplant at the time of planting; hand pick hornworms off of plants. Flea beetles and aphids can be partially controlled by hosing them off the plants and pinching out infested foliage.

Peppers are susceptible to rot, blossom end rot, anthracnose, tobacco mosaic virus, bacterial spot, and mildew. Plant disease-resistant varieties. Keep the garden clean and free of weeds where pests and diseases can shelter. Remove infected plants before disease can spread. If you smoke, wash your hands before working with the plants to avoid spreading tobacco mosaic virus.

Hot peppers are ready for harvest in 60 to 95 days after sowing. Pick hot peppers when they have reached full size and their mature color. Cut the peppers off the vine. Pulling a pepper away from the plant may cause the plant to come out of the soil.


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Posted on July 22, 2016Leave a comment













Are you learning to grow your own sweet, juicy tomatoes? Luckily for you, tomato plants can grow almost anywhere that is warm and a little damp. But as with most vegetation that produce a fruit, a little TLC goes a long way. With adequate sunlight, water, and patience, you’ll be greatly rewarded with a six foot tall tomato plant with big (or cherry size), red (or other heirloom colors), juicy tomatoes! Tomatoes take a long time to grow so you must have great patience, but you won’t need much else to get your tomato plant growing.

Part One of Three:
Planting the Tomatoes
Buy small tomato plants from a nearby nursery. Whether you’re a first-time grower or simply prefer the simplicity of working with seedlings, your easiest option will be to purchase a tomato seedling in your desired variety and transplant it into your garden.
Don’t pay extra to buy the larger plants; there is not much reason, unless you are getting a “latish” start, to catch up.
More experienced gardeners will likely find it easy enough to start their own tomatoes from seed, however, so you can still keep this option in mind.
If you do raise your own plants from seed, start them in a greenhouse or sunny window indoors about a month before you intend to set them out in the garden.
Use fluorescent lights or other lighting hanging a couple inches (5cm) above the planting flat and keep raising it as the plants grow–in a not well lighted room. Raise these plants until they are about 6 to 10 inches tall (15 to 25cm) and then transplant them when spring weather is appropriate for your zone.
Choose an easy-to-grow variety. This is especially recommended if you’re new to gardening. Options include Better Boy, Creole, Big Boy, Early Girl, Brandy Wine, Celebrity, Lemon Boy, or just about any cherry or grape tomato variety.
Consider planting several varieties rather than all of one type — this ensures a steady harvest
Grow two plants for each member of the family who eats tomatoes. If you plan on canning tomatoes or making fresh and canned salsa, use up to four plants per person.
Plants usually cost US $4 for one 8 inch (20cm) pot, or you can buy 6 small plants in 6 plant packs of 1 & 1/4 inch (3cm) compartmental trays.
Choose a sunny spot to place transplants. Place tomato plants in a site receiving full sun (7 hours or more daily). Tomatoes need lots of warm sunshine for optimum taste.
Caveat: In hot climates when the nights get to a low temperature of about 75°F (24°C), most tomatoes “quit setting new fruit.” The ones already set will grow great. But none will set when nights are very warm through the wee hours really near sunrise.
Don’t wait more than a few days late to put them out past the recommended dates for your climate zone, or it may be too late (if there are such early warm/hot weather nights).
Add lots of well rotted compost to the garden soil. You’ll need about 5 to 8 pounds per square foot/25 to 40 kilograms per square meter. Turn compost into the top 3 inches (6 to 8 cm). Tomatoes demand a growing medium rich in organic matter. If you don’t make your own compost, use store-bought compost or composted manure available in the 40-pound bags. Compost or Manure is usually less than US $5 per 40-pound bag.
Transplant the tomato deeply. Bury about 50 to 75% of the plant (especially for leggy plants, that became skinny in raising them before transplanting).[1] It’s okay to bury some of its lower leaves. New roots will emerge along the buried stem, giving the plant a developmental boost; a new transplant needs to focus on root production.
Water within 10 minutes of transplanting. Give each plant about 1 gallon (about 4 litres) of warm water (about 80 degrees F/ 27 degrees C) within ten minutes of transplanting to avoid transplant shock.
Space tomato plants 18 to 36 inches (45 to 90 cm) apart. Space them half the suggested distance in warmer climates, especially if using tomato cages. The normal distance recommended is for plants allowed to bush out hugely on the ground, while planting closer together in cages allows the plants to shade each others fruit, helping prevent burn and allowing a sweeter flavor.
Don’t forget to leave yourself enough space to get in between the plants to water, weed, and harvest. Those cute, little seedlings may not remain that way for long.

Part Two of Three:
Water after the first 7 to 10 days. Starting after the first week, give the tomatoes about 16 ounces (about 500 ml) of warm water per plant every day.
Drip or soaker hose watering is better than overhead, which can encourage diseases that tomatoes are particularly prone to.
Space water out more after 10 days and ensure that plants are receiving 1 to 3 inches (2.5 cm to 7.6 cm) of rain weekly. If not, give each plant about 2 gallons (about 7.5 litres) per plant “per week”, beginning by about the end of the second week after transplanting.
Water deeply 2 to 3 times weekly (so, water each plant with about .75 to 1 gallon each time (about 3 to 4 litres), increase water as the plants get larger and when weather is hotter.
It’s okay in hot or dry weather to water even more frequently with larger volumes.
After one or two week, surround the plants with a mulch of straw, dried grass, or pine needles. This should control weeds and keep the soil moist during dry weather. The mulch should be about an inch (2.5 cm) thick and surround at least a circle 12 inches (about 30 cm) in diameter around the stem. Pine needles are especially good for helping raise the acidity of the soil.
Caution: Do ‘not keep the soil continuously wet or “soggy”. That will kill (smother) the roots and will cause a stem disease (fungus) especially once it is really warm/or hot weather.
Choose whether to use chemical fertilizers. Do not use lawn fertilizer. The ratio of minerals in lawn fertilizer is for growing stems and leaves. Look for a vegetable fertilizer which is for stimulating fruit. Tomatoes can grow very well organically, provided the soil is well enriched with organic matter. If you do use chemical fertilizers, try using half the recommended concentration per gallon (using package directions), but fertilize twice as often, in order to avoid the stress caused by the feast-famine of the longer fertilization gaps.
Over-fertilization can cause plants to grow too quickly, leaving them more susceptible to disease and insects.
Remember that your goal in growing tomatoes is fruit, not just leaves. Fertilizers, especially when used in excess, or the wrong kind may cause the plant to produce more leaves and foliage than fruit
Consider using a tomato cage or a tall stake to support the tomato vine. You can set these up at the time of planting, or you can wait about 14 days after transplanting.
A stake should be at least 0.5 x 2 inches (1.3 x 5cm) boards and 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters) long. Pound stakes about 12 to 24 inches (30 cm to 60 cm) deep, at least 2 inches (5 cm) away from the plant. Secure the plant to the stake using “loosely knotted double-loops” that won’t strangle the plant. Stakes can be made of bamboo, scrap wood, electrical conduit, or iron bar.
While it is less common, “vining” type tomato plants can be tied onto a trellis or fence, like grapes, beans, squash, and other vining plants. This can produce especially large yields, but vining is less popular because tomato plants grow so large and bulky (some are called “indeterminate” but are not vines, and the third kind are “determinate” type are shrub-like plants).
A determinate tomato plant grows to a certain (determined), limited size and then stops or at least slows its growth greatly. An indeterminate plant keeps growing and spreading out.
A cage should be at least 48 inches (1.2 m) tall, even taller if you grow the plant well. Tying plants is unneeded. Some tomato plants can be more than six feet (1.8 m) tall in cages (you may need to stake and tie the cage to the stakes). Cages have a tendency to bend if the plants get heavy, and sometimes collapse in summer storms. Carefully pull leaves and secondary stems inside the cage as the plant grows.
Make your own tomato cages, if you like. Get a roll of 4 feet height (1.25 M) “welded-wire” garden fencing 2″ X 4″ rectangular openings (5cm X 10cm) garden fencing with — or 4″ square openings (10cm) — and soon you can make it double height, tied to more stakes, so wind will not knock them over as plants climb. Roll it into 18 inch wide (45cm) cylinders to make your own, larger cages. Cut and bend the wire ends around the uncut wires on the opposite end, making a circle. This type of cage needs strong stakes well tied for support.
Shake your plant poles or cages gently once or twice each week. Do so for about 5 seconds, and start this practice once flowering begins to promote pollination of the blossoms (from one flower to another). According to the National Gardening Association, shaking the tomato plant increases fruit production by more evenly distributing pollen.

Part Three of Three:
Watch for fruit to appear 45 to 90 days after transplanting. On average, you’ll need to wait about 60 days. Tomato plants usually have small, green fruit to start. Wait until the fruit is of good size with a bright, deep coloring: this means that the fruit is ripe and ready to pick. The texture of the fruit can also determine when it is ready to pick. Ripeness is usually determined by a slight softness. Be careful to only “palm the tomatoes”; do not squeeze with the finger tips and bruise the fruit.
Also, be careful of not allowing it to become overly ripe, which results in a very soft tomato.
Realize that birds, possums, raccoons and some dogs will take ripened tomatoes, corn and sweet green peppers, etc.
Pick fruit earlier to ripen indoors if you like. Fruit may be picked any time after it starts changing to its ripe color and set on a sunny windowsill. This will reduce the chances of it rotting on the vine or being eaten by a bird or squirrel.
Tomatoes do, however, taste sweeter when ripened on the vine, so you need to balance risk of threats versus taste.
Place a “zip-” of “snap-” seal sandwich type of bag over the nearly ripe fruit. Work very carefully, starting from the bottom up onto the stem. This should protect ripening tomatoes from predators.
Close the bag from both sides at the top, above the fruit, coming near the stem, leaving about 1/4″ (.6cm) on each side for air flow.
Cut the lower corner for drainage and air flow. In hot weather, carefully punch more air holes, 1/2 inch slits (1.2cm), or smaller, will work.
Don’t be disappointed by losing fruit to the animals; spend the time bagging it!
Another tip is to put red Christmas tree ornaments around the top of the tomato cage. The birds will peck at them, be confused and leave your tomatoes alone.




Posted on June 9, 2016Leave a comment on HOW TO GROW TOMATO

Homemade organic pesticides for tomatoes


Tomato plants can suffer from insect infestations, including flea beetles, tomato hornworms and other leaf-chewing insects, aphids, whitefly and mites, as well as fungal diseases, such as early blight and powdery mildew. When growing tomatoes, you also have to battle common garden problems with weeds and pesky slugs. Make your own inexpensive organic pesticides to manage and control these tomato-growing challenges.

Insect and Mite Control
To manage problems with aphids and mites, try a pesticide made with rhubarb leaves. Simply boil rhubarb leaves in water for 20 minutes, and when cool strain into a spray bottle. A mild dishwashing soap can be added as well. For managing leaf-chewing pests, mix up mashed chili peppers, chopped onion and a head of minced garlic. Allow to steep in water for 24 hours before straining and spraying tomato plants. To curb attacks from tomato hornworms and other leaf cutters, make a mash of marigold leaves and flowers, and soak in water for 24 hours. Strain the solids, and add another 1.5 quarts of water plus a pinch of liquid castille soap before spraying. For problems with beetles, caterpillars, whitefly and any soft-bodied insect pest, use a mix of water, cayenne peppers and chopped horseradish root.

Fungal Prevention
Fungal diseases, like powdery mildew, can be prevented using a spray made of baking soda or potassium bicarbonate, horticultural oil and water. If you don’t have horticultural oil, citrus oil or molasses makes a good substitute. In addition, milk deters powdery mildew. Mix 1 part of milk to 9 parts of water in a spray bottle for easy application. Cornmeal also can be used to manage fungal infections. Mix 1 cup of cornmeal with 5 gallons of water, strain, and then spray on tomato plants. For warding off early blight, mix 2 tablespoons each of cooking oil, organic baby shampoo and baking soda with 1 gallon of water, and then spray both sides of the leaves for best prevention.

Other Garden Pests
To rid tomato gardens of weeds, try some home remedies. For the first, mix 1 gallon of vinegar with orange oil, molasses and liquid soap. The second option is to add 1 pound of salt to 1 gallon of boiling water. When using these weed killers, make sure they do not come in contact with tomato plants. They cannot discriminate between good plants and weeds. For managing troublesome slugs, add beer to shallow dishes placed low to the ground around tomatoes. Overnight, slugs will crawl in for a drink and drown.

Application Concerns
Always remember that any pesticide — whether homemade and organic or a commercial chemical product bought from the garden center — can be dangerous to humans and animals as well as to plants, if not used correctly. Rhubarb leaves, for example, are extremely poisonous and fatal if ingested. Sprays made with hot chili peppers can irritate skin and eyes and should not be inhaled. Oily sprays should not be applied to tomato leaves when in direct sun, or the plants can suffer sun damage. A good rule of thumb is to apply a pesticide to just a small area of the plant first as a test.































Complete Plant Propagation

Complete Plant Propagation

Plant PropagationPropagating plants is an inexpensive and easy way to get new plants from plants you already have. This asexual means of reproduction produces a plant that is genetically identical to its parent.
There are a variety of plant propagation tools and methods; from taking cuttings to layering to dividing and more. The technique you select will depend on the type of plant you wish to propagate and the amount of time and effort you want to put into it.

One of the most amazing things about plants is that every cell has the ability to duplicate all parts and functions of the plant. By taking a cutting of a leaf or stem and creating the right conditions, you can create an entirely new plant (see Plant Anatomy Basics).
Start with a stock or “mother” plant that is in great health and has plenty of stems, so that if one is removed, it will not harm the plant.

Stem Cuttings
Propagation by stem cuttings is the most popular plant propagation method for woody shrubs and ornamental plants. This is also a good technique for houseplants.  (Learn about Indoor Plant Care here.)
Houseplants are often quite easy to propagate. Look for a healthy stem absent of flower buds, disease and insects. Using a sharp, sterile knife make a clean cut at a 45° angle to maximize the rooting area. Cuttings should be about 3-6 inches long (shorter if the plant is small) and include the tip of the stem, and at least two or three sets of leaves attached.
Remove the bottom set of leaves (new roots will often develop from this area) and dip the end you just cut into rooting gel. This will help seal the cut plant tissue and promote new root growth (optional). Then place the cutting into a small pot with moist vermiculite, perlite or other soilless potting mix. Be sure to poke a small hole in the growing medium before placing the cutting into it. This way the rooting solution won’t rub off of the stem.
Keep your new plants warm and in bright light, but out of direct sunlight. Many cuttings will also benefit from added humidity. To increase moisture and create a mini-greenhouse effect, place the pots in a clear plastic bag. Do not let the plastic you use to cover the pots touch the cuttings. Mayonnaise jars, milk cartons, and plastic soda bottles can also be used to cover cuttings.
Once the cuttings have developed roots — this can take a few days or a few months — replant them in another container with moist, but not wet, potting soil. (To identify whether roots have formed or not, pull lightly on the plants. If they pop right out, they are not ready. If you feel some resistance, go ahead and repot.)
Until the new plants have become fully established, carefully monitor the amount of moisture and light they get. Remove dropped leaves and diseased plants from the area as soon as they are noticed to keep fungus from spreading to healthy plants.
Softwood stem cuttings are taken from new branches of shrubs that have not yet become woody (see Propagate Your Shrubs from Softwood Cuttings). The term “softwood” describes the stage of growth on a deciduous woody plant that isn’t brand new (green), nor is it fully mature (woody). It is somewhere in between the two. (Try bending the branch. If it snaps easily, it is ready to go. If it is very flexible and just bends, it is too young and will most likely rot before rooting. If there is no flexibility at all, it is too old and will be very slow to root.)
The best time to take softwood cuttings is from April thru June after it has rained (or you’ve watered). Look for healthy shoots that aren’t too thick or too thin. Using a sharp knife or pruning shears, cut a 2 to 10 inch section of stem at least 1 inch below a leaf node, and including 2 or 3 pairs of leaves. Make a diagonal cut; the larger the cut, the more surface area for roots to develop.

Tip: Dip pruning tools in a mixture of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water to prevent transmitting diseases from infected plants to healthy ones.

Place the cuttings in a container with wet paper towels to keep them moist until you can get to the house (or your potting bench) to plant them. Be sure to take more cuttings than you think you’ll need, as they likely will not all root.
Remove the lower set of leaves, and if you are extra motivated, scrape a little bark from the end of the cutting. Dip the cutting into water and then into rooting hormone, being sure to cover the wounds left by the removal of the leaves.

Note: Using rooting hormone is more important with softwoods than with houseplant cuttings.

Plant cuttings into pots filled with a soilless potting media just deep enough to support the stems and hold them upright. Do NOT use garden soil as it will remain too wet, causing the cutting to rot before rooting.

Recipe: Soilless Mix for Rooting Cuttings

This soilless mix is ideal for rooting cuttings, but should be replaced with a richer potting mix once they show signs of growth.

• One part coconut coir, peat moss or vermiculite
• One part perlite or sterile builders sand

Combine all ingredients with a small amount of water and mix thoroughly until evenly moist. A light solution of organic starter fertilizer or seaweed extract can be added to this recipe.

After the cuttings are planted, you can trim the leaves to about half their size. They’ll still be able to photosynthesize light, but won’t lose so much water through transpiration.

Place the containers in a plastic bag to raise the humidity level around the cuttings, or purchase a misting system to keep your new plants adequately moist. After about 6 weeks check to see if roots have formed. If the containers you are planting in are small you may notice roots protruding through the drainage holes. Otherwise, give the plant a gentle tug. If the plant pulls right out it isn’t ready — replant it. It you feel resistance, it’s ready to be repotted.

Note: Because soft stem cuttings are taken from young plant tissue they form roots relatively quickly. However, they require high humidity levels to keep from drying out.

Transplant your tiny new shrubs into larger pots with a mixture of 80% organic potting soil and 20% perlite. Water with an organic liquid fertilizer that is seaweed or kelp-based. Slowly “harden off” plants before transplanting outside. Learn how to harden off plants here.

Hardwood stem cuttings are taken after the plant tissue has grown woody and when the plant is dormant. The best time to take hardwood cuttings is late fall — after a killing frost — or anytime during the winter months.

Look for healthy, vigorous stock plants growing in full sunlight. Again, stems that are not too thin or too thick work best. A minimum girth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch and a length of 4-8 inches is recommended. Cuttings should be taken a few inches below the terminal bud. Use a straight cut on the top end of the stem, slightly above a bud, and an angled cut at the bottom end, just below a bud. Discard the tip of the shoot. Always take more cuttings than you think you’ll need as they may not all take root.

Note: There are three types of hardwood cuts: the straight cut, the heel and the mallet. (For a diagram of each see Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings – Figure 3.) A straight, or simple cut, is used most often. The heel cut includes a small section of older wood and the mallet cutting includes an entire section of older stem.
Dip the cut ends in rooting powder and place the stems 2-6 inches apart in a container filled with a moist soilless potting mix. Plant the stems deep in the mix, so that only the top one or two buds are showing above the surface.

Tip: Make sure that the stems are planted upwards by burying the angled cut into the pot (the straight cut should be on top).

Water, cover with a plastic bag and place the cuttings in indirect sunlight. Rooting will occur more quickly if they are misted on a regular basis. Once plenty of roots and some top growth have developed, remove the plastic covering and transplant the young plants into a larger container or a protected bed. Do not plant directly in the landscape, yet, rather wait until early the following season when your plants are much larger and stronger.

Leaf Cuttings
Several herbaceous or woody plants, including many indoor houseplants, can be propagated from leaf cuttings. With this method, a leaf and its stem (petiole) or sometimes just a piece of the leaf are used to create an entirely new plant. The directions for propagation by leaf cuttings are basically the same as for softwood or hardwood stem cuttings and can be performed any time of year.
Select a healthy, full grown leaf from a vigorously growing plant and remove it along with about 1-1/2 inches of its stem. Dip the cut portion in rooting hormone and plant the entire stem (up to the bottom of the leaf) at an angle in a moist soilless rooting medium. After planting water thoroughly to settle the potting mix around the plant.
As with the other cutting techniques, place the container in a plastic bag to increase humidity and keep it in a cool place (about 70°F) out of direct sunlight. After 4-6 weeks new roots will form and the plant can be moved to a larger container.

Note: Many times several plants will grow from the same leaf cutting. Carefully separate these young plants from the “parent” leaf and transplant them into their own container.

Root Cuttings
Root cuttings are best taken when the plant is dormant and the roots are chock-full of carbohydrates.
Take 1 to 4-inch long cuttings from younger root growth that is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut straight through the end of the root nearest to the stem and cut the other end at an angle. This way you will remember which end is the top (the straight cut) and which is the bottom (the diagonal cut). Roots will not grow if you plant them upside down.
Store cuttings in a moist rooting medium at 40°F. After three weeks, remove the cuttings from storage and bury them upright under 2-3 inches of soilless potting mix. Place the container in a plastic bag and put the whole thing somewhere with bright, indirect sunlight. When roots become established and weather permits, harden the new plants off and transplant them outside. Learn more about transplanting and handling plants here.

Tip: If cuttings are from fine or small roots, simply scatter them over the surface of the potting mix and cover them lightly.

Greenhouse Growing SupliesLayering
Layering is a way to grow new plants from existing plants without having to take any cuttings. In a nutshell, bury part of a stem or branch in the soil and new roots and shoots will form. This method is often more successful than propagating from cuttings, because the new plant can get water and food from the stock plant. Once the new plant is established, it can be moved to another spot in the garden.

Simple Layering
Most plants with low growing branches or stems, such as vines and woody shrubs, take well to simple layering. Use a dormant branch in early spring or a mature branch in late summer.
Bend a flexible, low-growing branch to the ground and place it in a small hole about 4-inches deep. Remove leaves and side-shoots from the portion of the branch that will be buried and cover it with soil. You may need to place a rock on top of the soil to hold the branch underground. It is important to leave at least 6-12 inches of the branch tip out of the soil and stake it upright to keep it growing straight — this will be the top portion of your new plant!
Usually, the bend in the buried portion of the branch is enough to encourage rooting, but by scraping, or wounding, the bark on its underside, you can help speed rooting along. Keep the layered area moist and free of weeds and within a season or two a root mass will have developed. Cut the layered section from the plant and it’s ready for transplanting.

Tip Layering
Ideal for blackberries and raspberries, tip layering should be done in late summer and is a lot like simple layering. However, instead of keeping the tip of the plant above ground, you bury it in a hole 3-4 inches deep. At first, the tip will grow downward, but then it will make a sharp turn and grow upwards toward the sun.

In late fall or early spring, after roots have developed and new shoots appear, tip layers can be cut from the original plant and moved to a new area in the garden.

Compound (Serpentine) Layering
Compound layering involves burying several parts of one stem and works well with vining plants or plants with pliable branches. Bend the stem towards the ground as you would if simple layering, but alternately cover and expose sections of the stem. The end result should look like your stem is snaking its way through the soil.

Each section of the compound layer should have one bud exposed and another bud buried. Wound or scrape the bottom side of each covered section to promote rooting. Cut plants apart when they have developed roots and replant them early in the growing season.

Mound (Stool) Layering
If you have closely branched or heavy-stemmed shrubs and rootstock of tree fruits that you’d like to propagate, try mound layering. During the dormant season, prune the plant back to approximately 1-inch above the soil surface.
The following spring, the trimmed plant will produce new shoots. Cover these shoots with soil, creating a 7 to 9-inch mound around the stock plant. Roots will grow at the bases of the new, buried shoots. In the fall or following spring, carefully separate and transplant the newly developed plants.

Air Layering
Air layering can be used on many larger houseplants, as well as woody ornamental plants, such as holly, rhododendron and lilac. For best results, start air layers in the spring on stems from the previous year’s growth or during the summer months on the current season’s growth.

Using an upper branch or stem, select a site just below a leaf node and remove the leaves and twigs both below and above that point for 3-4 inches. Scrape away a small area of bark, or make a cut about 1-1/2 inches long and 1/3 of the way through the stem. Apply a rooting compound, such as Clonex® to the exposed area to promote root production. Use roughly a handful of moist sphagnum moss to surround the wound and wrap the moss with black plastic. Seal the plastic on all sides with tape or twisty ties, making sure that the moss does not extend beyond the cover.
Once the roots are well formed (usually 1-3 months for houseplants; 1-2 seasons for outdoor plants) cut the stem just below the bag and pot the new plant as you would any seedling. After a couple of months the young plant should be hardy enough to transplant outside. Click on this link to learn more about air layering for difficult to root plants.

Propagation by division is cutting or breaking up a group of suckers or a crown or clump into smaller segments. It is important that each plant segment has a bud or it will not propagate. Most perennials benefit from division as they get older and begin to lose vigor, plus you get more plants to spread around the garden or share with friends. While there are different techniques for dividing perennials, the general rules are the same.

Divide fall-flowering perennials in spring and spring-and summer-flowering perennials in fall. For fall division, plan to do it early in the season as the plants will need 4-6 weeks to become established before the ground freezes. In the spring, divide early. Plants will benefit from the cool, wet weather and be well established before the heat of the summer kicks in.
Two or three days before dividing a plant, water it thoroughly — this will help reduce the stress of division — then cut the plant back so it doesn’t lose too much moisture.
Dig all the way around the perimeter of the plant and gently pull it out of the ground. If you find a huge root ball that you can’t lift, go ahead and cut it through the middle with your shovel. If the plant has a spreading root system, you can probably just pull it apart. Plants that have rhizomes (horizontal, underground stems), can be divided with a sharp knife.
Place the plant segments into a bucket of water right away so there isn’t a chance for them to dry out. While the plants are soaking, dig a hole at least as deep as the plant was originally set. Add peat moss, organic compost or aged chicken manure to give the plant a little edge as it gets established.
Settle the plant segment into the hole and fill with amended soil. Water well. Adding a thick layer of mulch will help the new plant through its first winter, but be sure to pull away some of the mulch in the spring to allow the soil to warm.

Bulbs and Corms
Plants that grow from bulbs can be propagated by taking small offsets or bulblets from the base of the parent bulb. Place the bulblets in light, rich soil and let develop for 2 or 3 years. The same procedure used for propagating bulbs works for plants with corms (see “What is a Plant Corm?“).
Another method that is popular for propagating nontunicate bulbs, such as lilies, is known as scaling. Pick a healthy bulb and trim off the old roots to prevent rot. Be careful not to damage the tough base of the bulb where the roots emerge called the basal plate.
Gently peel several of the outside scales away from the main bulb. Each segment should have part of the basal plate so new roots can grow. Toss out any pieces that do not have a basal plate.
Put the scales into a bag of moist, but not wet, vermiculite. Use a ratio of 4 parts vermiculite per scale. Leaving some air in the bag, seal it up and put it somewhere with a temperature of about 70°F. If you choose to use a fungicide, dust the scales before inserting them into the bag.
Check regularly for rot, and after 8-10 weeks tiny bulblets should be noticed at the base of the scales. Plant the scales 1/2-inch deep in a container filled with organic potting soil. Keep the plants in a warm, bright spot and make sure the soil stays moist. New leaves will shoot up in the spring. When these leaves die back at the end of the growing season, separate and replant the new bulbs.
Summary from various source

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Posted on February 27, 2016Leave a comment on Complete Plant Propagation

5 ways to propagate plants

5 Ways of Propagating Plantsfeatured

Propagating plants means creating new plants from existing specimens, and is an important part of permaculture. It means that you can have a self-sustaining site; you can preserve local, indigenous and heirloom species, and cut the cost of buying seeds, seedlings or new plants. There are several methods that gardeners use to propagate plants.

1. Seeds
Seeds are the natural way flowering plants reproduce. The plants produce flowers, which either contain both male and female parts (stamens and pistils, respectively) in one bloom or have separate flowers for the male and female organs. The flowers get pollinated when pollen is transported from one plant’s stamen (male organ) to another’s pistil (the female equivalent). This can occur via the wind or, more commonly, by insects visiting the plants and inadvertently carrying pollen off to another plant. (It is to attract these pollinating insects that flowers are coloured, shaped and perfumed in different ways, as well as providing nectar.) Once this happens a seed develops in the female parts of the plant.

Growing plants from seeds is one of the easiest methods of propagating species. You can buy seeds cheaply, but also harvest them from an established garden or source them from a seed bank. Seed can also be stored in the refrigerator, sometimes for years, until you are ready to plant it. However, some plants can take a long time to mature from seed to adult.

To grow plants from seeds, the most common method is to plant them in containers with a growing medium free of harmful insects and pathogens.

A small amount of compost can help, but most importantly the containers and soil must drain well as waterlogging is harmful to seed development.

As a general rule, plant the seeds at a depth four times that of the size of the seed (although, some plants require surface sowing) and keep moist but not damp. The majority of perennials, annuals and vegetable will germinate best when kept at a temperature between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. When seedlings sprout give them a good amount of light until they grow strong enough for planting in the garden.

2. Cuttings
Another method available to permaculturists to propagate plants from their garden is tasking a cutting. This means cutting off a stem from a living plant and allowing it to develop its own root system. Take cuttings from healthy stems with no flower buds on them, and cut at a 45-degree angle so that the potential rooting surface is maximized.

Most plant cuttings need to be planted in a soil-less posting mix, one that drains well, and placed in a warm place. Most like direct sunshine for at least part of the day. While you want to avoid the soil getting waterlogged, cuttings often benefit from increased humidity. You can achieve this by placing the cutting in a plastic bag or cover with a glass container. All being well, new roots should begin to form after four weeks or so, and can be transplanted to larger containers or a sheltered nursery spot in the garden.

3. Grafting
Grafting is a more advanced method of propagation, and involves the splicing of a stem from one plant onto the root system of another. The tissues of the two plants will then fuse, allowing the stem to benefit from the nutrients and water being absorbed by the rootstock.

While different plants may require variations, the general method of grafting is to select a healthy stem that contains at least one bud, and cut it on the diagonal. Make an equivalent diagonal cut in the rootstock (these diagonal cuts increases the surface areas in contact with one another and so help to create a stringer joint) and insert the stem. Bind with tape or twine so that the stem and rootstock remain in contact (avoid grafting in areas prone to high winds). Graft at the start of spring and the new stem should begin growing within around a month.

4. Budding
ways of propagating plantsBudding is a form of grafting. Rather than using a stem, a single bud is taken from one plant and grafted into the rootstock of another. A similar technique is required to grafting, with the bud inserted into a cut in the rootstock. Typically, a ‘T’ shaped cut is made in the rootstock and the bud, attached to a small rectangle of stem is slipped inside. The bud then needs to be taped up.

For budding, choose mature buds for the best chance of success, and for most plants, perform the procedure as fall turns to winter. That way, your bud should grow when spring comes around. Budding is often used to propagate fruit species.

5. Division
Propagation by division involves separating a whole plant into several smaller pieces, each of which can then become new, independent plants. It works best with mature specimens and, indeed, can help more mature plants to have a longer active life. It also provides more plants to utilize in different areas of the garden or in different guilds. Division is commonly used for species whose roots grow in clumps or crowns, and so offer obvious dividing points. These include many ferns and bamboos.

A few days before dividing a plant, water it thoroughly. This reduces the stress on the plant. Dig around the perimeter of the plant and extract it from the ground. Use a sharp blade to separate the root into pieces (there will usually be obvious ridges or grooves that lend themselves to division) and place each in a bucket of water. Plant each new specimen in a hole as deep as the one from which you took the original plant. Add some compost to help them get established, and water well. Divide either early in spring or early in fall, to give the new plants time to establish themselves before the heat of summer or cold of winter. Add mulch to feed and protect the new plants, but if planting in spring, allow some space around the new stems so the soil is able to get warmed.

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Posted on February 27, 2016Leave a comment on 5 ways to propagate plants

Factors affecting Absorption of Soil Nutrients

There are many reasons that plants can or cannot absorb nutrients contained in the soil they are growing in. It is as complicated. Consider the vitamin and mineral supplements you choose to take into your own body. How do you choose? Why do you think you need them? One thing goes without saying and yet, it is the most very important, for your body and for the organic food you grow… Creating a healthy environment is the most effective way to deter disease.

An important factor in adding nutrients to your garden form is use of only certified organic inputs to your garden.

Soil composition:
Soils high in clay particles will absorb (bind to their surface) more nutrients, while fertilizer will leach (wash through) faster through sandy soil. Organic matter in the soil increases its nutrient-holding capacity and contributes nutrients upon its breakdown.

•Soil microorganisms:
Some fungi and bacteria may “tie up” nutrients while others convert the fertilizer to a form that the plant can take up. Some microorganisms are involved in mutually beneficial (symbiotic) relationships with plants. Rhizobium bacteria grow within the roots of some plants. They convert nitrogen from the air into a usable form for the plant while obtaining nutrition from the host plant.

•Soil pH:
Extremes in pH affect availability of plant nutrients and the concentration of plant-toxic minerals. At low pH levels, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium become unavailable and manganese can concentrate at toxic levels. At high pH values, phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc, boron, and manganese become less available.

•Nutrient availability:
Nutrients may be present but may first require conversion to an “available” form that the plant is capable of taking up and utilizing. Conversion to an available form is affected by soil microorganisms, pH, soil moisture and chemical reactions.

•Soil moisture content:
Most nutrients are taken up via the soil solution, so soil water is needed to dissolve them.

•Soil aeration:
Oxygen is needed in the soil to help roots with uptake processes. Where there is no oxygen, such as in flooded sites, sugar cannot be utilized by the plants to produce energy for nutrient uptake. Decomposed organic matter helps develop good air-water relationships in the soil.

•Soil temperature:
Nutrient uptake is faster in warmer soils than in cold soils.

•Plant condition:
Plants under stress will be less able to take up nutrients, generally due to a reduced or damaged root system.

If the roots of many plants occupy an area, a reduced amount of nutrients will be available for each. When using close spacing for vegetable plants, more fertilizer will be needed in a bed than in a conventionally spaced row garden. Weeds where present will take up nutrients intended for landscape or crop plants. Reduction of weeds will reduce fertilizer needs.

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