7 February 2018

Herb cuttings

One of the many ways to cut costs in your kitchen garden is to take herb cuttings. I do it at this time of year but you should do a bit of research and see if it's viable in your area now. My common sense tells me, but I don't know for sure, that if you provide a protected light position, out of the sun and wind, cuttings taken now, in most warm climates, would grow. Out northern hemisphere friends would need to wait till later in the year. I take cuttings now because they're starting to look a bit ragged after summer, they need cutting back and the weather is still warm - it's hot but not as firece as it was a few weeks ago.

These are oregano cuttings. Even the ones on the left side, with very few roots, will probably grow well. I got about 12 cuttings from these clumps.

If you lift up the oregano at the side of the pot, you'll notice a lot of fibrous roots.  Just cut out a clump and divide it up to plant.

If you have herbs growing and you don't want to take cuttings, now is a good time to cut them back and give them a drink of whatever delicious organic fertiliser you have on hand.  Comfrey, seaweed or any of the liquid commercial feeds are good for this.  If you buy a commercial fertiliser, try to get a good organic one - it's better for the soil, the plant and you.

I now have cuttings of rosemary and bay, both semi-hardwood cuttings, which I struck last week.  I'm also planting up soft cuttings of oregano, sage, mint and lavender. I use all these herbs frequently and adding them all to my shopping list would cost me at least $20 every week!  Much easier to grow them and as they're so easy, even a beginner could do it.  The cuttings are not always successful, but you get around that by striking many more cuttings than you need.

This is a box of Welsh onions I planted up last week.  I pulled the onions out of the ground, cut off the top, tidied up the bulbs and planted each in its own space. After a week, the onions are growing fast with about four inches of green growth already.

You'll need:
  • A plant to take cuttings from
  • A medium sized plastic pot
  • Well draining potting mix, sand or Perlite - not garden soil
  • Pair of sharp scissors or a sharp knife
Before you start taking the cuttings, prepare the pots so you can get the herbs back onto the soil fast. Fill the pots with your mix, tap it down to firm it a bit and with an old pencil, poke holes for your cuttings in the mix. You'll be able to grow about 10 cuttings in one medium sized pot.

A rosemary cutting.

Take the cuttings early in the morning before the sun starts drying the plants out. Snip off about a 10 cm side stem that has no flowers. Or if you have herbs such as oregano with roots that you can cut a clump from, do that. When you have 10 -12 cuttings, go to your potting station, strip off the lower leaves, then cut the majority of the leaves off the top. You want some greenery but too much will allow the cutting to lose too much water and it might die. 

Cut the bottom of the stem again at an angle (more surface area for roots to grow) and dip the tip into some hormone rooting solution or raw honey.  This helps roots develop faster. Place the cutting in a hole. Firm the soil in around each cutting and water in. You could also use a weak solution of liquid fertiliser or seaweed concentrate.

Take the cutting pots to a warm protected area, out of the full sun and wind.  Water  twice a week. When you see new growth appearing, you can pot each cutting on to its own pot or into the ground. 

Good luck and happy gardening! 🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱
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