Saturday, February 25, 2012

Propagating Fig Cuttings Indoors

A while back I described how I root my fig cuttings by sticking them underground in the fall. Then in the spring they should be budding out and growing some roots. Another method of fig propagation that works almost just as well is the indoor rooting method.

This method is less messier as all you need is basically a see through container and some perlite.  Perlite can be found at your local home depot or lowes and all it consists of is some super heated rock that is puffed up, sterile and very light. This makes a great medium for rooting plants.

Here is an example of a cutting that I rooted in some moistened perlite. When I first stuck the fig cutting in the perlite it had no green growth or roots. After 4 weeks of keeping the fig and perlite moist and warm with a heating mat, I noticed root growth. Then it started to bud out and grow a new branch. At this point when the fig is rooted you need to transplant it to a larger container filled with a 50/50 mix of garden soil and perlite (Careful with the roots as they are very delicate). It should also be placed outside or under bright grow lights as soon as the green growth begins. I would warn you against rooting cuttings in the fall because the fig will root in about a month and then you won't be able to place the fig outside because it's too cold. Plan to do something like this in early march.

I still prefer the old method of rooting fig cuttings but if you don't have a raised bed or cold frame or just prefer starting things inside, then I recommend the indoor method.

Planting Ramp Bulbs

While my goal is to only grow Italian originated plants America does have one botanical treasure that the Italians don't have... ramps!

Ramps are a type of American wild leek that taste like a cross between a garlic and an onion. They are extremely pungent but at the same time have an exquisite earthy flavor. As you cook them they get milder and develop that delicious garlic/onion flavor. You can find out more about ramps here.

I was able to source about a 100 ramp bulbs from a farm down in Virginia (Mail order only). I just got them a few days ago and today was a perfect day to plant them. Since my garden is already allocated to the max with future plant homes, I decided that the best way to grow these ramps was in one of the available 4x4 raised beds I had. All I did was dig my trowel about 7 inches deep into the soil and moved it left to right in order to make a 'V' shaped well for the ramp bulb. I kept the spacing pretty close as I want the bed to get filled with ramps. Once the bed is established I plan to take chunks of ramps and transplant them out to other areas of the property other than the garden.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Seed Starting In February

This past weekend I started all my summer and spring seeds. The spring seeds consisted of brassicas and salad greens (cauliflower, broccolini, laccinato kale, mache). As for the hot weather plants I started pera d'abruzzo tomatoes, corno do toro peppers, and all my herbs.