Gardening Tips for Seedy Characters: Week 42

What to do this week

Cuttings. (Photo by Madeline Yakimchuk)

Cuttings. (Photo by Madeline Yakimchuk)

Now that the leaves are being blown off by the fall winds that have finally arrived, it is a good time for hardwood propagation of some of your perennial bushes.

Gooseberries and currants are what I am working on this week, but you can do elderberries, even lilacs and kiwi vines. The easiest cuttings to do are the hardwood: cut them in one-foot lengths and mark them so you will remember which is the bottom and which is the top. (Stop laughing! This is important.) When you make your cuttings, you might want to cut the bottom at an angle and the top straight, or find some other way to distinguish which end is up.

Next, dip the bottom end of the cutting in water, and then in rooting hormone #3. You can get this at any reputable garden center. Once the root hormone is applied, bury the cuttings about two-thirds of the way up (about 8 inches), in peat moss or a peat moss-based soil mix. You can use pots, old ice cream buckets, whatever you have that is the correct size. If you have some tree-wound dressing, dab a bit of that on the top cuts so they don’t dry out too quickly. Cover the cuttings with a plastic bag, put them in the garage or basement, and forget about them for the winter.

In the spring, you will find that not all of them have taken, but many of them will have. If you are lucky, you will have many, many black currant, lilac and gooseberry bushes or kiwi vines to plant, gift or even trade. Edible hardwood bushes that respond well to this technique include elderberry, grape, mulberry and quince. You can also use this technique for many ornamentals, such as forsythia, cotoneaster and mock orange. The full list is actually quite long so you might want to contact the Seeds of Diversity Canada forum, which I help moderate, for access to gardening experts from across Canada



Market gardener, farmer, workshop leader, seed-saver, political candidate and mother, Michelle Smith has spent over 30 years coping with the challenges of our bioregion and in the process has built a store of practical and technical knowledge. The Inverness resident has served on the board of Seeds of Diversity Canada and represented Alternative Producers with the Federation of Agriculture but can do nothing about her hair. She is pictured with a head of Club Wheat, a seed that shares her approach to hairdressing.




Backyard food gardener Madeline Yakimchuk caught the food-security bug in the early ’90s through Cuba’s Urban Agriculture Department, taking her first permaculture course and planting her first garden. She can often be found discussing food security, nurturing a plant-based lifestyle or trying to give away vegetables. Professionally, she is GRYPHON media productions but sometimes uses la bruja in her volunteer work, most notably in managing the garden column, which begins life as a telephone interview.