Before it's too late


This is the fifth post by RCR Committee member Faeterri Silver. 

If you haven’t harvested everything in your garden yet or if friends or neighbours have plants still growing that they’re willing to share, then there are some easy ways to propagate those plants for winter harvests or even to replant again next Spring. Some of my favourites to try this with are tomatoes, basil, mint, and oregano. All of these are a breeze to root in water. I have also had luck with rosemary and tarragon.  I have even heard of cuttings from hot pepper plants working.

First cut a few sprigs of green growth just above a leaf node about 4-5 inches long at a 45° angle. Remove lower leaves so that they will not rot when submerged in water. Place the stem in water making sure at least one leafless node is covered in water, in a sunny location. Add more water when necessary as it evaporates. Putting just one cutting in a bottle will tend to discourage rotting. Usually roots, sometimes hairy, will appear within a few weeks, sometimes sooner. Plants with a woody stem, like thyme and sage, root better in damp perlite, peat, or coir with a plastic bag over them in a warm area. We are cloning so make sure you cut from disease free plants.

After rooting, transplant new plants into potting soil. I have been able to harvest fresh herbs throughout the winter by doing this. Tomatoes I replant into bigger pots as needed and then put outside next spring. If they get too leggy, I will take a new cutting. By using this method I tend to get tomatoes earlier in the summer than if I were to start a plant from seed.

Also if you haven’t started winter lettuce and spinach, now is the time to do so. If you have parsley or celery in your garden, you can transplant them into pots to bring indoors. I keep my celery in the cooler basement; the darkness helps to blanch the celery. I know I have said this before, but I just love having fresh food throughout winter, especially green foods.