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Thread: Overwintering Rooted Cuttings

  1. #16
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    SE PA, zone 6b
    Posts
    217
    Well, here I am again, now in Naples, IT, after 10 days in the Dolomites in No. IT. I wish you could all see the jillions of beautiful flowers on every house balcony!! They just knock your socks off! I'm talking thousands of balconies. I wish I had the concession there!!!!! I so enjoyed the mountains, people, gondolas, meadows, cows. If I were younger, I sure consider moving there for a few years. But I said that about Tuscany, too. I have never said that about Napoli. I do love Italy, but like the rest of the globe, it is more and more commercial here. The romance is slowly leaving. Many of the little farms of the contradinos are being consolidated and even the very small farmers have very modern machinery.

    So, back to the backyard nursery. I went to www.freeplants.com and eventually bought the tapes and joined the forum. While the tapes are produced by amateurs, the content was/is very worthwhile to me. I am doing this as is Shepp. I also get a lot of very good info from the forum which one joins, once the tapes are purchased.

    I would start out buying plants that you would use in your landscape and growing them to size for propagating later. I would also get some flats of rooted cuttings from a landscape nursery. I agree with Mike McGroarty that you should only get NAMED, UNPATENTED varieties. There are plenty out there. Following this advice will save you a lot of aggravation in the future.

    For this winter, I would keep as many of your new cuttings in their medium (out of the mist, when rooted) until spring. They can live in the unheated greenhouse or outside with a white plastic tarp suspended over them. I'd be pretty careful about mulch in your winter climate. They also won't need much watering during the winter. My biggest concern would be slugs in the early spring as well as rot. Even when slugs are very small, they eat prodigious amounts of fresh young growth.

    I had a small farm on Bayview-Edison Rd, Mount Vernon, WA for about 5 years. I had a 72' x 30' unheated greenhouse. I grew greens, a lemon, an orange, a pomegranate, and a lime, as well as a doz. chickens over the winter. What a place that would have been for the backyard nursery business!! I was very active in the MV Farmer's Market on the banks of the Skagit River. Boy, I miss it!!

    Good luck, Bruce and have lots of fun.
    Sandi
    SE PA, zone 6b

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Bolton, Ont
    Posts
    149
    Sandi
    Not knocking Freeplants.com but theres probably some good deals from small backyard growers sources like everyone there incl yourself. One day you might do some advertising on Freeplants once your a member.
    For us guys up here in Canada. It would have to be that good of a deal/ steal for me to get plants up here.

    sandi even though the video is from an amateur you still get to see how propagation is being done. I wouldnt care the quality of these videos, its how well the teacher preaches and how well he gets the message across to the viewers.

    Hope you learn a lot from these videos.
    George.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Snohomish,Wa.
    Posts
    7
    Wow- Italy. I asked what I thought was a relativelty simple question and end up with replies from all over the world. The wonders of the internet. I have never been to Europe. Maybe someday. All of my traveling has been in Asia, but I have also found lots of inspiration there.

    Interesting that you found the freeplants.com tapes to be good. I have been aware of this site for at least a couple of years but so far had resisted spending the bucks. I suspect that there is little hard information that isn't available for free elsewhere. However, like you say it is always good to see someone else doing it. Maybe this winter. Right now I am too busy trying to earn a living.

    I definately agree with you about only using named varieties. However, sometimes things happen. A couple of years ago I bought a very small hydrangea for my yard. Last year I took a few cuttings and they grew like crazy. They are now large 5 gallon size. So this year I took a bunch more and then the mother plant finally bloomed. Guess what. I definately isn't what the tag says. Oh well, I now have about 30 great looking hydrangeas and no idea what variety they are.

    Have fun everyone,
    Bruce

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Surrey, BC, Canada
    Posts
    221

    Reliable variety names

    Bruce--I think we will all run across many examples of incorrect labelling as time goes by. The more I learn about plants, and cruise the garden centres, the more I notice the mistaken identities of plants out there.

    Then start talking to folks who have been growing a particular plant like japanese maples for decades...and it gets rather discouraging. Some of these varieties have gotten so jumbled around, and the naming so entrenched by even large reputable growers, that there will probably never be a resolution to some of them.

    I especially enjoy now the plants labelled Rhododendron Red, or Hydrangea macrophyllum...this is actually more honest than trying to guess at a variety name and starting another line of questionable, mixed up stuff! And you know what, for 90% plus of consumers, they have no interest in that variety name, just whether their rhodo is red, etc!

    Then there's the landscape trade, where subbing varieties is fairly common anyway. As long as the architect approves it, and most of the time he wouldn't know the difference between two similar varieties either, the main thing is the plant is healthy and the right size according to his plan.

    Nothing against being fussy about names, and I am too when I'm sure I can be...but in the real world I haven't seen the end consumer being that worried. Except for the tiny number of gardening enthusiasts who have to have a particular cultivar and be sure of it's identity...

    Glen

  5. #20
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    SE PA, zone 6b
    Posts
    217
    I've been a member of Freeplants for about 1-1/2 yrs now. I really admire the approach for amateurs that Mike takes.

    I am 71 yo, and don't do heavy work--the muscles just don't have the push they used to. I've always enjoyed making plants from "nothing", but have never seen the info organized like this. I have seen books about running a full retail nursery. The scale of this plan just fits my needs. My goal is to have a small manageable backyard nursery with a few sales annually to produce a little income to supplement my SS. There are others who are producing large quantities of plants for the wholesale trade. That's where the money is.

    I will have a small sale this coming spring, and then be up and running with ongoing propagation. The object is to get as many plants as possible. One starts out with purchased rooted cuttings, and named plants for the landscape. By year 3 one should be able to make lots of "free" plants on an ongoing basis.

    I especially enjoy and find most useful, the forum. Mike is fantastic about keeping up with the questions asked, as are others on the forum. I've learned a lot from all of them, especially Shepp, and one other. The forum is FULL of sources for materials and plants. The first thing I did was to go back to the first threads and read every one up to the present. I have been able to start right and avoid many mistakes.

    If I were you, with retirement near, I would get the materials in early winter, join the forum, and get set up for early spring. By June, you will be sticking softwood cuttings, and this continues until fall. Plan to spend at least three years finding your niche, and gaining experience. It is not too early to start--Mike has built his business while working full time, as has Shepp. There is a lot to get started, but once set up, a sort of rhythym sets in. You can be getting valuable experience as well as build up some inventory for when you retire. There is a lot to learn, and this can be done while you are still working.

    I wish you well, and encourage you to get started as soon as possible.
    Last edited by 3girls; 09-27-2005 at 03:36 AM.
    Sandi
    SE PA, zone 6b

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Snohomish,Wa.
    Posts
    7
    Thanks Sandi,

    That fits into exactly what I was thinking. That is why I started experimenting last year and went into it in a bigger way this year and should be able to really expand next year. I do plan on ordering Mike's material this winter when I have the bucks. I do realize that it will probably be a couple of more years before I have an appreciable amount of material to sell. Luckily my health is still good and I don't have any physical restrictions. Just time and money restraints for the time being. I also have a couple of acres of land that are doing nothing for the present except grow blackberries but I do not wish to get so big that it is all in nursery stock. Then it would become too much like a job instead of an interesting sideline.

    Bruce

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