Organic Gardening – Propagation Methods

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 24,995
    Nature expert Tim MacWelch demonstrates organic gardening basics and talk about propagation methods.

    Tim MacWelch: Hi, I am Tim MacWelch of Earth Connection School of Wilderness Survival and Ancient Skills near Fredricksburg Virginia. This is our video series on Organic Gardening. In this clip we are going to show you how to use some other methods of propagating plants. First I want to show you what to do with the nasty bag of potatoes you have found at the bottom of your cabinet? These are sprouting and turning green because they have had some sun light on them. Each one of these clusters of little plants is a little potato plant. Potatoes are obviously the root crop of the potato plant but we can't make potatoes without the plants, so we take these disgusting green knobby things and we can place them in a container with about six inches of soil in the bottom and just simply place them in there. We could cut them and try to divide them, but typically one of these clusters will take over and become dominant possibly two or even three may become dominant and all of the rest will just stay as they are and this potato will use up the carbohydrates stored inside to produce the plants. This parts will shrivel up and rot away and these potato plants will persist and they will grow up out of the pot, as they grow they will grow more potatoes down at the roots. So we will take four of these potatoes and place them in about six inches of soil in the bottom of our pot. Now we could add a little bit of organic fertilizer and top it off with a few inches of soil. By burying the potatoes periodically as green growth emerges out of the soil, we stimulate more root production and more root production on a potato plant means more potatoes for us to eat. So every time our foliage gets six inches or eight inches tall above the soil line we would simply dump in more dirt and this will end up making more potatoes that's why we started at the bottom of this barrel. For a different kind of potato we would go ahead and fill our barrel with good dirt and also some organic fertilizer and we would use this method of propagation known as growing slips. A slip is a small plant like a wine or a little stock that emerges from a tuber like a potato or in this case a sweet potato. So for sweet potato slip production we simply take a sweet potato, buy it at the grocery store. Stick it in the jar of water, one half or one third or even two-thirds of the potato under water will stimulate the production of the slips . These are very little right now but these little purple slips will grow into green wines that are capable of being pinched off and simply stuck down into wet soil. They will go ahead and grow leaves, they are already growing their leaves right now. So we would leave some of those leaves above the soil and then the stem is underneath of the wet soil.

    One sweet potato has three areas producing slips and if I cut those three off I can make three different sweet potato plants in three different pots, each one of these pots could produce 5-10 pounds of sweet potatoes and this potatoes isn't done, not by a long shot. This potato can sit in a jar of water all year alone and produce over and over again many different slips from different spots or from the same spots. So by using one potato and water we could grow dozens of sweet potato plants, which could produce 100s of pounds of sweet potatoes in containers like this. One other method of propagation that we can use is cloning. Now this doesn't quite fit our organic standards due to the chemical cocktail required to do cloning but it's very interesting and you might want to do this to preserve some plants that you could not get from seed or to make more of a plant that you really liked. By using a chemical cocktail or vitamins and minerals and rooting hormones and lots of other strange stuff and preservatives we can actually cut the tops off of different herbs and plants and vegetables that we might like and place them in a container full of this rooting solution. I just covered it with foil and poked holes in it to give me a place to stick these little basils that I cut off. So this is just the top of a plant that I snipped off and stuck into this juice. As you can see here these little basil tops have grown roots and now they are complete plants ready to go in the ground. So that's one other method of propagating plants through cloning. Our next video clip is going to be about planting our seedlings in our organic garden.