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.
(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!
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
Until next time…..