How to Propagate Plants Using Your Own Intuition

Here I introduce how you can use your own intuition to understand the plants around you and their preferred method of plant propagation, rather than having to rely on specialized knowledge. Through a series of questions, you can learn to look at any plant, anywhere in the world, and begin to see some of its fundamental characteristics.

This simple series of 5 questions allows us to determine the best method of plant propagation. Our first question is:

What is the most obvious and interesting thing about you? Perhaps it is a showy flower, or a colorful fruit, or a big seed. Maybe it's the plant's bark, leaves, or color. Maybe there's not much o interest at all. 

If it is a flower fruit, or seed then we look for seed. Seeds are the first method of plant propagation. Sometimes a flower or fruit does not contain any obvious seed; if you cannot easily find the seed, then we move onto the second question.

Are you woody and upright? A plant that is woody and upright will generally do best if you propagate them by taking cuttings. If the answer is no, we keep asking.

Are there a lot of baby plants growing around you? If so--as is the case with the banana plant in our video--the best method of plant propagation is probably plant division.

Do you fall over and make roots where you touch the ground? Ground covers, such as mint, do best with the layering method of plant propagation.

Is there that much really going on above ground? If none of the questions so far have suggested a method of plant propagation, we take a step back and look at the plant. Is there even that much to look at? If not, this suggests that the important work is happening below ground, and that root division would be the best way to propagate.


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Studying Permaculture and Natural Building in Central America offers amazing opportunities to learn from indigenous cultures, rich natural patterns, and enormous diversity. Permaculture in Central America is representative of the edge effect or Edge Valuing Principle of Design. As one of the world’s centres of biodiversity, Central America attracts people from all over the world interested in learning through nature. Permaculture practices and can be seen in action via the surviving indigenous traditions that are common in Central America. Studying permaculture and natural building in Central America offers designers great opportunities to learn from diverse groups of people in incredibly diverse natural settings. 

  

Setting Up a Home Propagation Station

Even if you don't have a greenhouse or a nursery, you can set up your own at-home plant propagation station with a few simple supplies and not much space! In this post I'll walk you through one way to arrange an efficient and effective plant propagation station.

Our propagation station is one medium-sized table where we keep all the essentials at hand. Here I'll walk you through what I've found to be the best way to set up the space:

-Potting soil mix is stored below the table to save workspace while keeping the soil nearby. Our soil mix is 45-50% black soil, 45% compost (preferably from animal manure), and 5-10% white sane (similar to vermiculite or perlite). It  is important to sift the soil, we recommend a 1/2" screen.
-Vegetable cutting tray (or box) on the table. The tray should be about 6" deep and filled with the potting soil mix. This is used for seeds and cuttings.
-Nursery bags with small holes for drainage at hand.
-Hand tools and other materials to keep on site: pruning shears, kitchen knife, paper or a notebook and pen for taking notes
-Hose with mister nozzle or spray bottle for watering.

And that's it! It's best to set up your propagation station in an area with partial shade and ready access to water. Now go forth and propagate!


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Studying Permaculture and Natural Building in Central America offers amazing opportunities to learn from indigenous cultures, rich natural patterns, and enormous diversity. Permaculture in Central America is representative of the edge effect or Edge Valuing Principle of Design. As one of the world’s centres of biodiversity, Central America attracts people from all over the world interested in learning through nature. Permaculture practices and can be seen in action via the surviving indigenous traditions that are common in Central America. Studying permaculture and natural building in Central America offers designers great opportunities to learn from diverse groups of people in incredibly diverse natural settings. 

The Best Gardening Tip Ever!

You may have heard of the Root-Shoot Ratio but still not totally get the idea behind it, as I struggled to do for my first few years in the garden. In this post, I'll demystify it so that you can be on your way to plant propagation excellence!

Plants always aim to maintain a balance between their roots below ground and their shoots above ground. While we don't need to know the exact science behind it, keeping this principle in mind is super helpful for ensuring success when taking cuttings, root divisions, or air layering. So what does it mean in practice?

As a plant is pruned (such as when we mow the lawn, or through the grazing action of some animals), it will naturally shed some of its roots which in turn feed the soil. So an aboveground pruning results in an underground pruning. In plant propagation, it means that we can help the plant to adapt to leaves being cut off (such as in root division) but trimming back some of the roots. If the roots are not trimmed they would likely rot on their own, potentially creating the conditions for mold in the nursery. In other types of propagation in which no roots are present (i.e. air layering, cuttings) we help the plant to take successfully by cutting back some of the leaves. The more dramatic the root disruption, the fewer leaves you leave. As leaves require a lot of energy and nutrients, it is a struggle for a plant with a disrupted root system to provide for them, so we reduce the demand on the plant's energy by cutting the leaves back. 

I hope this helps to demystify the Root-Shoot Ratio. Now go forth and propagate!


Square5 .jpg

Studying Permaculture and natural building in Central America offers amazing opportunities to learn from indigenous cultures, rich natural patterns, and enormous diversity. Permaculture in Central America is representative of the edge effect or Edge Valuing Principle of Design. As one of the world’s centres of biodiversity, Central America attracts people from all over the world interested in learning through nature. Permaculture practices can be seen in action via the surviving indigenous traditions that are common in Central America. Studying permaculture in Central America offers designers great opportunities to learn from diverse groups of people in incredibly diverse natural settings. 

Composting Chickens

Composting Chickens

Apartment rooftops, suburban garages, and other small-living conditions can also support healthy chickens, despite the lack of much available ‘free-range’. In these types of situations, we must turn to stationary housing and very-small, or often non-existent chicken ranges. The key to the sanitary stationary house is Deep Bedding, which not only keeps hens healthy, but also produces amazing compost with practically no work.