As you may recall, I regularly meet with four or five (depending on whether we can all attend) local guys with whom I am friends. We meet up at the home of my friend who completed Geoff Lawton’s Online Permiculture Design Course (PDC). We usually watch a video on Permiculture and discuss our thoughts on the topic, as well as learning new ideas. On Sunday I met with four of these guys to attend an informal course on Propagating cuttings. One of the guys has a neighbor who is a Gardener. This guy propagates cuttings in his glass house for sale, gifts or use in the gardens he works within. As I have never had any success with propagating I jumped at this chance to learn this valuable skill.
We met at the house and met the teacher, Mike. After a 1/2 an hour talk, where he explained the basis of his process, we walked down to his house. While walking there we watched as he collected some small sections of trees and bushes which he would use. He was gathering sections with multiple smaller branches running off a central stem, with these only around 20cm in length.
He showed us his poly tunnel, which he uses to grow the propagated cuttings, once they are large enough to be transferred into pots. It was an interesting construction featuring steel pipes for the frame, chicken wire over the arches with the plastic cover laid over this. It also had shade cloth covered both ends, effectively allowing air to move through the structure. This was a great surprise to us all. Mike told us that the poly tunnel plastic was 8 years old, the wire allowed it to be protected from heavy rain and snow, as well as strong winds.
Next we were shown his glass house, which he uses to start the cuttings once they are placed into the soil. He had an amazing set up with an automated watering system, that is activated once a counter-balanced surface has the water on it evaporated. Once this occurs, a mist sprayer is activated, to spray the plants and the sensing area. He said that this sprays the perfect amount of water to allow a 70% survival rate. As you can see from the above image, the trays are placed on a gravel filled tray/table. This seems like the most amazing idea and something I will have to use in the future.
I will put together notes I made after this visit and write another post in a day or so on what I learned.