Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Willow Tree: Life Sustainer When Used for Rooting Hormone

One of the things that I have enjoyed most about owning this piece of property, which is less than .20 of an acre, is the option to create food and beauty on the land itself.  And, not just on the land, but with the land and the things that grow and die here.  I’ve heard it said at TV-dramatized funerals “ashes to ashes and dust to dust”.  Perhaps that is a biblical reference.
But it’s true that all living things die and return to the form of the basic minerals in existence.  What I am learning about composting puts those dead and dying things to the purpose of creating and sustaining life.  For so many years, I have read parables in the Bible that refer to agricultural principles and happenings.  Of course, the mind can understand them.
However, once one starts working with the land and the things that grow here, one begins to see the truths demonstrated in the Bible first hand.  So, what does this have to do with the willow tree?  Maybe nothing.  Perhaps I have digressed.
Many plants can be reproduced from seeds and through propagation.  I have posted before about gathering seeds from the food plants in my yard.  My kitchen dining area has turned into a seed ripening and storage area.  Harvesting seeds is just basic household economics.
Plants can be reproduced through propagation as well.  When one propagates their own plants, they have more for little to no money and they can also create more to sell.  Bringing in a little cash on the side can help subsidize the whole growing operation which is not cost-free.  But, again, what does this have to do with the willow?
According to many sources (here, here, here and here), willow contains a chemical called indolebutyric acid which makes an excellent rooting compound.  Rooting compound stimulates the cuttings you make from certain plants in order to ensure propagation works.  Guess who has a willow tree in her backyard?
The willow you are seeing is scheduled to be removed by Sierra Peaks Enterprises, located in Carson Valley, Nevada which can be contacted at (775)265-8444.  The reason is that the phone or electrical crew contractor came through and cut down all the limbs and trunks in the high-wire right of way.  You can see from the pictures below, just how lopsided this tree is.  It’s a danger to the house.
Even when it gets cut, I may elect not to have it totally removed because the shoots will grow year after year, providing me with free and fresh rooting compound.  It’s just another example of the cycle of life that goes on on this little plot of property.  And I think that’s pretty cool, don’t you?

But if you don't have a willow tree and you think propagation is a neat idea, you can just buy some rooting hormone and have it shipped to you.  Here are a few options:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Neat Idea to Create Seeding Cups from Toilet Rolls

From the blog of Sonja & Joe - Life, Love, Laughter: How To... Cardboard Seeding Cups (gardening)

How To... Cardboard Seeding Cups (gardening)

My friend Joyce posted about this on facebook a couple of weeks ago and I thought since I was beginning my gardening venture, I'd give it a try. Using empty toilet paper rolls or empty paper towel rolls you can make seeding pots to start your seeds in. Then later transfer the whole cardboard cup to the ground (or remove plant and put in ground). 


  1. empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls
  2. scissors
  3. potting soil or soil disc
  4. seeds
  5. water
  6. plastic tray or shallow box

1. Cut the toilet paper tube in half

    (paper towel tube into 4ths)

2. fold roll long ways to crease

     fold long ways again 

3. open the tube and
define the creases
to make it 'square'

4. Cut 1/2 inch up each
of the creases 

5. Fold the sides towards the
middle over lapping each
as you go around

6. Place cups into plastic
tray or bin

7. Place potting soil or a soil disc
into the cup

8. Add seeds and water
9. Cover with plastic wrap

Sonja & Joe - Life, Love, Laughter: How To... Cardboard Seeding Cups (gardening)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Penny Saving Tip for Gardeners #1: Use Extra Envelopes that Come in Bills for Seed Storage

When it comes time to collect your seeds throughout the summer and fall,  you could pay to buy those fancy seed envelopes like these.  I use something that’s free, but if you want to sell your seeds or give them as gifts, these ones by Proterra are neat, and it appears you can even put them through your printer.

I used the extra envelopes I get inside bills or donation requests.  Just label the front, insert and date the seeds, and then fold the flap down, and bend both top corners backward toward the flap side to keep it shut.  There is no need to seal the envelope.