23 February, 2009

Tasty Herbs Start Now From Cuttings

25 * wind from the north west. Once again the temp is ten degrees below normal. Seems par for the course for winter 08-09.

But March 1st is this coming Sunday and spring is somewhere. At least I can see it on my calendar. The next page of the calendar anyway.
March 1st means it is time to take cuttings on woody herbs you may have growing on your window sill. I managed to bring in and have survive a pot of rosemary. I almost forgot it was on my back deck! I did not bring it inside until the middle of November. I figured it was a goner since it had been below freezing for a few nights.
But that pot of rosemary has done very well. Just a few weeks ago new shoots began sprouting from the end of last years growth cycle. They have grown about three inches long and are ready to make new plants.
Any woody stemmed herb with newer growth can be cut now from the tips to make new plants. Early March is the perfect time since it is early enough in the season to allow the cuttings to set roots and be ready to go outside late April.
And with good luck you may get to take a second cutting in April just in case something happens to the March cuttings.
To take cuttings off of woody stemmed herbs choose soft new growth from the ends of the branches. Cutting should be about two to three inches and length although there is no set rule. The only rule is that the cuttings come from soft tissue. These root much easier.
After taking cuttings remove the leaves from the bottom inch or so of the stem. There should be no foliage below the soil surface. To expose more rooting tissue cut the bottom of the cut piece once more at a 45* angle. This exposes more surface area across the bottom of the cutting giving rooting success a much greater chance.
Insert the cuttings into well drained soil. Cover with a humidity dome used for seed flats or place into a small clear plastic bag. The idea here is to create a mini greenhouse environment. Light should be bright with little direct sun until rooting has taken place.
Your new cuttings are ready to transplant when you begin to feel a good deal of resistance when tugging on the cutting. Rosemary should take 3-5 weeks to set firm roots.