Saturday, July 24, 2010

Making Something Out of Nothing

I've gotten 8 or so cucumbers from the garden so far.  They are SO BIG!!  I blame credit the bees for this.  I loved what Gina said about walking through the gardens and "just seeing what needs to be done".  A few years ago, when I first started gardening for production, I very much worked off a 'check list' of when to plant, what to do, etc.  As I get more used to the whole process, so much more comes from experimentation and intuition.  That's what caused me, several weeks ago, to put up a 'trellis' (repurposed some wire shelving) for the cucumbers to grow on.  For the most part, the cucumbers coming off the trellis are straight (see cucumber Exhibit A in the foreground) and the ones that are still sprawling around the bed are coming out crooked (such as cucumber Exhibit B in the background).  Note to self:  More trellis next time, please.  Of course, it's not a perfect system.  My "intuition" is what makes me think, every single year, that this seed will never turn into a seedling, but if it does, it will never turn into a plant, but if it does, it will certainly never produce anything.  Happily wrong, much of the time!
One thing I'm learning a lot more about this year is how to make plants from plants that are already growing.  These plants here, in the brick planter by the front door, are a bit of a cheat.  I just separated them from their friends and plopped them into their new spots.  Only the geranium came with no roots...everybody else is fully formed.  That's hardly impressive though, as geraniums will GROW no matter where you put them or what you do to them!
What I've really been dying to do is to propagate the hummingbird sage I have growing in my front yard.  Since my cousin is now a Master Gardener (yay!) and since she recently propagated some hummingbird sage at her house, I hit her up for some advice.  I've tried to do this several times for my mom, actually, and it never has worked.  I think I know why though!  Kelly explained in great detail (thank you, people who love to teach, from the bottom of my heart, as somebody who loves to learn, it is truly helpful, and appreciated!!!)  how to find and separate a piece of the sage that would be suitable for starting a propagated sage.  It went down exactly as she described it!  I also used her advice to cut back the spent blooms.  The original sage looks awesome!  So here I've got five (potential)  hummingbird sages, ready for some TLC.  The reason I think it's never worked for me before is, I don't think I pruned my other attempts down enough.  It goes against any and all intuition I have to cut back on plants!  I'm learning's a way to get more blooms, to get plants to spread, and now, to do proper propagation, too.  But it feels so wrong!  I've had to pluck the blooms off tomato and strawberry plants, too, because I was given the advice in both cases that I'd get way better production.  They were right, but man, did I dread doing it!  It's so hard to pluck something off that's could have been a future veggie!

Come to think of it....I may not have cut these back far enough.  I mean, technically, I could go down to one leaf, I think, and it would be better rather than worse.  The fragile new root system can't grow itself and route energy to leaves and blooms, so the less leaves, the better.   Hmmmm...Kelly?  Anyone?  Bueller?


  1. Play it by ear. Just walk by and see what needs to be done. If they start to look wilty, cut off the top set of leaves!

  2. @Kelly ~ Yep! Good call. Just today (I only put them in these pots on Friday) I noticed all but one were wilty and exhausted...I pinched the leaves off, leaving only the very first one or two leaves on each stem. I hope it works now (fingers crossed)!