"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Winter propagation

I'm going to try something I've never tried before.

Propagating during the winter months to give me an early start next spring.
So sad looking - but also a source of future seeds
Yup - I confess, I am someone who prepares for tomorrow, today.  I don't live for tomorrow, but just try and plan ahead whenever I can.  Something done today frees up time tomorrow I believe.

I'm not going to propagate anything fancy - there are just two plants that I want to try and get going early.
The basil plant in my shadecloth veggie patch
 still has some leaves below the flowers
Firstly, I have basil plants in my veggie patch that are all rapidly going to flower.
Propagating basil cuttings in water
I cut some of the basil "flower heads" slightly longer and then removed the flowers.  These were shoved in a pot of water on my kitchen windowsill and, 10 days later, they already have a healthy bunch of roots.  I reckon that as they grow, if I keep cutting off the tops and shoving them in water then maybe - just maybe - I can keep them going through the winter whilst still also "harvesting" from the growing cutting for culinary use...?
Just a touch of (useful) greenery on my kitchen window sill
My second winter propagation plant is going to be my gorgeous yellow heirloom tomatoes.

I have kept loads of seeds from this summer's harvest, so if this doesn't work I'll just do the normal seed sowing come next late-August / early September.

But I have read up that shoving a tomato cutting into water will also cause the cutting to grow roots.  Let's see.

One vegetable that I constantly propagate is onions.
New onions sprouting from small sections of the bulb.
 Top left and top right will grow three new onions when planted.
 The onion top centre will grow two new onions.
Leaving the last 1 - 1.5cm of onion on the root side of the bulb, I place that portion of the bulb in a shallow bowl of water and just let the roots and leaves grow.  Once the roots are long enough I then plant the onion in the ground.   I also take some of the newly sprouting onion leaves and use them like spring onions in a salad.

I have discovered that for every "set" of leaves that sprout on a rooting onion segment I get a whole new onion i.e. 3 sets of newly sprouting leaves on a segment grow 3 new onions - per bulb section.  I never have to plant onion seeds - why should I when the old (mother) bulb remnant does it for me naturally :D
On the left are Jewel sweet potato slips,
 in the middle are my basil cuttings
 and on the right are the ends of onions rooting / sprouting
My kitchen window sill is my go to spot when it comes to rooting plants - it's close by, it gets the autumn / winter afternoon sun, and, being just above the re-purposed two plate caravan stove and next to the kitchen sink, I'm always reminded to check the water level.

Just something to keep me busy during the cold, Rosie-filled, hopefully rainy, winter months... 😂

By the by, for those of us who celebrate it, Happy Easter.  If you're driving on the roads, please - be care out there...


Sue said...

Dani-I never knew that about onions. Oh sure, I've seen the ends "sprout" in my compost heap , but I didn't realize they would grow actual onions. My duh! Thanks for the info. I'm going to try that !
Happy Easter to you and your family.

Dani said...

Sue - You're very welcome :D

And a very Happy Easter to you and your family too :D

kymber said...

Dani - i do the same with celery, nappa, romaine, etc. but i did not know that about onions! and now i am kicking myself for not thinking of onions because i plant the bottom white parts of green onions all year to have them all year. duh! never even thought about all of those onion bottoms i have put in the compost over the years. thanks for sharing!

sending much love, as always! your friend,

Dani said...

kymber - Yeah, I have celery growing on my kitchen counter too. Glad to be of assistance ;)

possumqueensa said...

Nice idea with the onion, gonna try that and stop cutting my fingers trying to get to that last sliver at the root. I'm using your idea of the milk carton to grow basil on the windowsill. I grew enough to give away and make a batch of pesto. And it looks pretty too.

Dani said...

pqsa - Ditto, and ditto :D

Well done on the basil. Yeah, love the greenery on my kitchen windowsill too.

Sol said...

OMG!!!!!!!! Loving this post, there is a type of onion that I get in a local shop that is a pink onion from Brittany. I can never find the name of the onion to grow from seed. Now I can buy the onion and grow some more!!!!! Amazing. I have done it with celery but never thought about anything else. I wish I learnt one thing like this every day. What I could learn then!?!???

Have a fab Easter!

Shirley McLaurin said...

Thank you for that. I think I will try the onions. Happy Easter to you

Dani said...

Sol - Oooooh, never seen them but now I want some pink onions from Brittany too :D

Dani said...

Shirley - Thank you my dear. Happy Easter to you too ;)