More mini cuttings

I’ve written about taking mini cuttings here, here and here. I’m still trying various varieties and now I can add two more: silver beet and cucumber. I was surprised at the cucumber; it didn’t seem that it would grow new roots up the stem like tomatoes do, and it didn’t. They grew out from the cut bottom edge. I can’t imagine that this will make for a very robust plant, since roots like that will easily break off, but I wouldn’t normally want to increase cucumbers by this method anyway. It’s just nice to know it can be done.

Treating silver beet this way, though, IS useful. A single silver beet seed is actually a composite of many seeds and several plants will appear from sowing one seed. Usually the recommendation is to thin to the strongest. Now I can snip off the extras with scissors and put them in as mini cuttings.

When a potato does this…..

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…..I make a small space somewhere in the food forest, place it in a hole, cover it with a pile of chook poo compost and a bucket of leaves and leave it to itself. It’s great fun digging up the progeny. Growing your own potatoes couldn’t be easier!

I’ve finally been able to harvest a decent-sized pepino:

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And there are two more to come:

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In the past, the rabbits or possums have taken them when they’ve been on the ground like this. When I saw these three rapidly expanding, I protected them with apple socks and thought I’d better put a wire cage over them as well. It’s done the trick. I’m going to enjoy these on my breakfast mueslii.

I bought the apple socks from Green Harvest. They call them apple pouches but they’re actually little nylon sockettes. They’re great to slip over fruit to keep birds and possums off. I wouldn’t want to do a whole tree with hundreds of fruit on it, but they’re OK to do enough of the best (and low-hanging) fruit to get a useful harvest. Here’s the persimmon with its socks on, a couple of seasons ago:

I managed to collect and eat every one. No problems with possums, blackbirds or parrots. Persimmons are really vulnerable because they lose all their leaves before the fruit ripens, so you’re left with a naked tree covered in bright orange fruit that can be seen by every bird for miles around.

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6 Responses to “More mini cuttings”

  1. narf77 Says:

    I am definitely going to get a persimmon or two as they are apparently very hardy, drought tolerant and delish. I know there is a large tree over in Beauty Point and it seems to do really well. Cheers for the tip on the mini cuttings. Where are you taking the mini cuttings from the silverbeet Bev…forgive my idiocy, I just couldn’t work out where…from a leaf? Again, forgive my newbie stupidity. I love learning things from this blog, they really do work 🙂

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      I’ll try and post a photo to make it all clearer, but in the meantime, what I do is snip off the seedling at soil level (with hopefully a couple of centimetres of stem before the first leaves), dip it in hormone powder and put it in the cutting mix, which is just sieved potting mix at the moment. I make a nice neat hole in the cutting mix (moistened) with a bamboo skewer (the cutting is so delicate, it can’t be just pushed in) and water it sparingly and put the punnet in a plastic container to keep up the humidity.

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      • narf77 Says:

        Cheers for that Bev. I love learning about how to take veggie cuttings. My daughter just got into growing things and bought herself a small greenhouse and I can share how to take cuttings from veggies with her 🙂

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  2. rabidlittlehippy Says:

    I love that you just bung your spuds in wherever. 🙂 I guess I still have a lot to unlearn (and learn) about gardening the food forest way. I’ve just planted out all the sprouting spuds in my pantry yesterday. Waste not want not. 🙂 I red something on spuds a little while back that might interest you too. Some spuds will grow a sort of fruit not long before you harvest the tubers. From what I read they are seeds, true potato seeds! 😀 When we plant a spud that sprouts to form a plant then it’s a clone of the other spuds. Great for commercial growers who need all their spuds to be the same. When we grow from these true potato seeds we get a variation of the spud that is I guess, more ajusted to our climate. It allows for greater genetic diversity too. 🙂 And since we don’t have Maccas or McCain with their standards… 😉 http://www.motherearthnews.com/Editorial/Blogs/Organic%20Gardening/Landrace%20Gardening%20True%20Potato%20Seeds.aspx is the link.

    Your fruit socks do look funny but I’m sure neither the birds nor the tree appreciate your efforts. I guess having a bare tree with hanging bright red fruit really is a siren call to the birds to come and spread the seeds but I love that those pouches (socks is funnier) do the trick and keep them safe from the birds.

    Having read the back posts on mini cuttings, I have some experimenting and fun to have this season. 🙂 Thank you!

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      Yes, I’ve actually grown potatoes from real seed! If the potato plant flowers (not always the case), and they get pollinated, a little green fruit appears (about the size of a large grape) and inside this are potato seeds, which can be planted just like other seeds. The seeds produce little plants which (in my case) had a tiny tuber at the bottom, which I saved and replanted, but then didn’t go any further with it as I wasn’t really into developing new varieties. Thanks for the link, I will have a look.

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  3. The earth just wants to feed us | rabidlittlehippy Says:

    […] Foodnstuff writes in her post that when a potato sprouts she plants it out somewhere in her food forest garden. It will do its best to grow and provide spuds for future meals. She also plants mini cuttings from tomatoes, capsicums, basil, silverbeet, cucumbers and lettuce. A small scrap of plant and you have a new one. How frugal is that! Whilst mulching our gardens just now there was a spare spot. Not any more. Sprouting spud planted! Thanks for the idea Bev. […]

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