Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bring on the Clones

      Most of us vegetable gardeners either start our plants from seed, or buy plant starts were were started from seed in a nursery.  Unlike most of the higher animal species that are difficult to grow starting from cloned material, many plants are quite easy to start using material from the "mother" plant.  This poor Savoy cabbage plant was ravaged by voles, both chopping off the head, and girdling the stem.

Oh, and they ate most of the roots too.  So I gave it up for dead and added the poor thing to the top of the compost pile, where I found it three weeks later trying to put out a little tuft of greenery.  And you can see several other little growth nodes too.  As a former biology major, I am always yearning to experiment, so I couldn't stop myself from pulling this battered and abused plant from the compost heap.  I potted it up with straight compost, and intend to try to separate cuttings if they grow.  I believe they will.

Savoy Cabbage stump, 12/4/11

      Remember I promised to quit talking about the Chinese Cabbage?  The beauty carved for Thanksgiving?  Sorry.  But since I didn't dig up the root system, the plant figured it would try again.  So, it is back.

Chinese Cabbage stump, with leaflets, 12/4/11

   This time I dug it up and to it home to perform surgery.  It had sprouted six little plantlets that I cut away with a little bit of the stem included. 

Chinese Cabbage plantlets, 12/4/11

Planted in straight compost, 12/4/11

      And now I am going to pot the stump and put it on the porch for the winter to see if it puts out any more little babies.  Maybe the saga will continue.  A further part to the experiment was to take the leaf stems in the above pictures, and cut them into one to two inch pieces.

Chinese Cabbage stem pieces, 12/4/11

      These were planted in straight compost, some laying on top of the compost, some covered by compost, and some standing up in the compost.  All are in covered containers to maintain high humidity.  I expect, or at least hope, that many of the pieces will develop little plants attached.  Which I can then pot out for early additions to the cold frames.
      I found this article to be helpful: 

and this one too:

      I would love to hear about any vegetables that you may have started as clones or cuttings.

1 comment:

  1. Too cool George! I can't wait to see how these fun experiments progress! I often slice an X into the stem stub of my harvested cabbages/chinese cabbages. The result is 4 new baby heads.. Great ideas.. Niki