Thursday, July 19, 2012

Garden Test: Tomato Propagating

   Fall gardening is upon the 'way down south' gardeners; tomato starts need to get ready for the soil. The excessive dampness of June would most likely have given any seedlings rot, so instead I'm trying something new: propagation.
   Over the years I have heard of and even read about propagating tomato starts from healthy 'mother plants'...my first attempt years ago was not so successful. My cuttings were taken and placed in water to root before planting in the soil; they failed to thrive, turning yellow and dying shortly there after.
   This time around, I read further and deeper into the 'art' of harvesting and successfully propagating tomato cuttings. Here is what I found:
   1. Harvest only from healthy plants. If the 'mother' is sick, the cutting will be as well. No rot, no blight, no mildew...healthy plants.
   2. Harvest a cutting 6". Be sure the cutting is strong..no puny stems or weak sections. I cut my from farther down the plant instead of higher up, except.... now, there is some debate here: some resources say cut a sucker and some say top out the plant..I took one of each.
   3. Trim it up. Remove any blossoms, excess leaves..you need a 'crown' or top cluster of leaves, not enough to stress the cutting..we want the energy to go into root growth..not buds or leaves.
   4. To dip or not to dip. Some resources recommend a dip in root hormone; some don't. I did..it was on hand and I figured, why not.
   5. Filter the light. For a few days these little guys need some light but not direct, in your face, heat of the day light.
   6. Quarantine. At this time of year, bugs are hatching and hosting a hostile take over...keep the cuttings out of the garden for about 6 weeks. Since crop rotation is important..I plant to use my 6 weeks to till, clean, and make ready their spot in the garden.

   Being new to the propagating situation, I plant to keep you posted on the progress..might be the greatest thing I have ever tried..might be a colossal fail. We'll see. What about you? Have you tried propagating tomatoes? Share your tips and trials with us...we love learning from you!

4 comments:

Keli Martin said...

I didn't even know you could do this with tomatoes. Awesome! Can't wait to see how it turns out for you. Being much farther north we can't grow tomatoes in the fall but the ones we planted in the spring should produce until frost. With finally getting some rain (it's been about 8 weeks since we got real rain!)I expect my little green tomatoes to plump up nicely and become that beautiful red with the days of sunshine to come. I hope the cuttings work for you!

J.E. Traweek said...

NEVER propagated (is sounds wicked), but I love eating them. When they are "ready" call me over for taste -testing!

Missy said...

I took some suckers one year and pinched them off and stuck them in the ground. Conditions must have been good because they not only rooted but produced tomatoes. Not like regular plants but we don't have a winter growing season here and they got a little bit of a late start. So yes it can be done! God's blessing on yours!

Simply Scaife Family said...

Thanks for the comments, ladies. Missy, glad to hear it worked for you..hopefully we have some success, too.
Thank you for dropping in.