Nick the Node and Tiny Toad!

As I mentioned already,  Master Gardener classes began yesterday!  After a brief orientation and student introductions, we received a Botany syllabus, along with related handouts: Latin binomials, the international code of nomenclature, common Latin and Greek roots for the nomenclature, botanical families of importance, etc. etc… Sounds alot more complicated than it really is. We also got books and printed materials.

Class materialsMain textbook.

(Does that newspaper say Farmer and Ranchero?  It didn’t…until I added the “O”  😉 😉 )

After lunch we had a lecture on Plant Identification, during which many native plants were passed around and discussed. The branch in the photo (above right) is from a wild coffee plant, which I took home to try propagating. Let me show you my typical process.

Although I’ve tried many specialty mediums over the years, I’ve found mixing equal parts of these three gives me the best success NO MATTER what I’m rooting!

Rooting Mixture

Miracle Gro Garden Soil, Miracle Gro Cactus Soil and American Seed Starter Mix.  I also use a clay pot when rooting cuttings, on the assumption that breathable, porous containers are more nurturing of tiny emerging root hairs.

After filling the clay pot, thoroughly mix the soils together;  give it a really good soak and mix again.

Mixing the soils well!

Set the pot aside to finish residual draining while you work on your cuttings.  The books say to snip just below the node, but I’ve had better luck EVERY time I nick into the node a bit:

Nick the node!

Count up your cuttings. Using a pencil, poke the same number of “holes” in your previously mixed soil.  Sprinkle some rooting hormone into the cap and lightly tap each cutting in the powder, until the end is well covered, like so:

Cuttings with Rooting Hormone

Place the powder-covered ends in their corresponding holes: be careful…you don’t want rooting hormone sloughing off along the inside walls!  When you feel some resistance, use your fingers to push dirt against the stems, working from the bottom up, ’til they stand straight and secure:

Coffee Plant Stem Cuttings

Because the coffee plant is tropical, I’ve shown a plastic bag behind it–use it as a greenhouse “tent” to ensure adequate temperatures/humidity around the cuttings if your zone requires it.

Have you noticed a continuity issue in the last few pictures?  I broke the God-damned clay pot in the middle of this little exercise!!!  Knocked it right off the stacked pavers I  use as a work space and cracked it in a bunch of pieces…dirt and all!!!  Look closely at the last photo—-I repurposed the largest piece as a prop for the plastic bag!!!!  🙂

Moving along…..Remember how I told you about my love of fringe-science and all things Coast to Coast AM?  Today the Coast website has a news story about the discovery of the tiniest frog in the world, Paedophryne amaunensis

The Paedophryne genus consists of a number of  species found in the eastern sections of Papua New Guinea, an area largely unexplored due to the thickness of its rainforests. You can read more about it here or here but I’d surely be remiss if I didn’t share a picture of such a cute little friend:


Why am I on a dime?


Until next time…..


17 thoughts on “Nick the Node and Tiny Toad!

    • oh it was!! i just remembered now that I have homework to do before tues!! been decades since I uttered those words..and unfortunately Its been decades since I had a dog, so I guess I’ll have to do it! 😉

  1. This reminds me of the time I went to a Hibiscus Society meeting and the subject and mini-session showed us all how to try and root cuttings of them. I failed miserably at ever achieving roots, but this is something I should do again and again until I get it right! Maybe during the break between jobs! 🙂

    That frog is adorable! Papua New Guinea has the most amazing animals! My Mom and I were watching a show all about these fantastic birds and their mating rituals. They were like no birds we had ever seen before! Wish I could go there someday!

    • hey julie!!
      i’ve got three small pots of hibiscus cuttings that i’ve been hoping will root for the past two months. Absolutely NOTHING has changed outwardly from the day I potted them up, so I can’t say yet if my experiment was a success or failure! time will tell i suppose!

    • LOL, i’ve got this wierd notion that cactus soil should be mixed in whenever I repot…i even through it in with the orchid bark when i repot orchids using a 1:2 ratio. so far it hasn’t hurt anything–i figure its so nice and porous, it can only help!

    • Gardening is definitely a trial and error experience! LOL i guess in that respect it’s kind of like life: you learn as you go, and boy! don’t you wish you could take that knowledge backward in time?! ah well… 🙂 So glad you stopped by my blog!

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