Thursday, 23 June 2011

Update on basil cuttings

Back on 1st June, I decided to try to increase a basil plant by means of cuttings rooted in water. I was a little dubious about this method but I shouldn't have been. The cuttings put on so many roots I was quite taken aback. Not only at/below the leaf nodes, but all the way down the stems.

I have further experimented. The stems were around 10cm/4-inches long so I potted 2 up without cutting the stems down - one in a deepish 7.5cm/3-inch pot, the other in a large pot with some other herbs. The last two I cut down by half and potted into smaller pots. I've used a multi purpose compost rather than ordinary garden soil.

That was about 6 days ago and they seem to be least they haven't drooped or died off.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Ups and downs

This season seems to be a bit hit and miss for my shady patch. Whilst the plum tree is still doing really well (lots of fruit) my rhubarb plant has died. It started off ok but then suddenly went.

The potatoes are romping away as are the carrots, parsnips and leaf beet but all the seeds I sowed indoors are very dodgy. The beans seem to be perking up now, especially with the recent rain, but I lost the two butternut plants (I've now sown some seed directly in the open ground) and the courgette plants don't look right either. I've never seen such small leaves.

The chillie seedlings are also languishing and I am convinced the tomato seedlings aren't actually tomatoes. A friend thinks they look more like aubergines. Good job he happened to bring me a couple of tomato plants he had raised. Thanks Simon.

I guess that's gardening.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Basil plants from cuttings

I never have much luck growing basil from seed or keeping basil plants bought from supermarkets indoors for any length of time. Last year I planted an indoor plant outside in the open ground which survived in the open ground all summer. This year I'm going to have a go at taking cuttings from a plant I recently bought from a supermarket (before it dies on me) - something I've never done before. The instructions seem simple enough

1. Choose 10cm/4-inch stems and using a sharp blade (not scissors) cut just below a leaf node - the part on the stem where new leaves/stems sprout.

2. Strip any leaves from 3/4 of the stem then place in a glass of water and leave in a very bright but not too hot place until roots start to form on the stem making sure to change the water every couple of days.

3. Once the roots are around 5cm/2-inches long, pot up individual stems into pots at least 10cm/4-inches wide, filled with potting compost. Water in and then place in direct sunlight. It recommended that the plant gets at least six hours of bright, direct sunlight each day.

I've done steps 1 and 2 as you can see in the picture above and hopefully in a few weeks I'll have 4 new basil plants potted up whilst still having the main plant available for use in my kitchen