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Lemon Verbena, Tomato Cuttings, Guava, & Shangri-La project!

Yesterday we had posted about the place we visited where we plan to reintegrate some native plants as well as some heirloom variety of fruit producing plants like Tomato, Melons, Peas, Corn, Goji, Kiwi, Fig and others.  This is a small creek area that seems to have reclaimed where there was an old road or parking lot.  It is actually quite majestic, the blend of urban elements being reclaimed by nature.  Though far from a true Shangri-La, it certainly lends a feeling of isolation in nature, even though its so near urban sprawl.  Below are some photos of this area.

Shangri-La Project, Paradise, Eden, Seed Bombing

Facing South-East back towards road

Shangri-La Project, Paradise, Eden, Seed Bombing

Where we plan to build a bridge from a fallen telephone pole

Shangri-La Project, Paradise, Eden, Seed Bombing

East shot of the main area

Shangri-La Project, Paradise, Eden, Seed Bombing

Natural dam on one arm of the split creek

Shangri-La Project, Paradise, Eden, Seed Bombing

View west back towards road

We will post further information once we complete a full list of what we intend to plant here.

Lemon Verbena, Lemon Verbena Cutting, Lemon Verbena Propagation

Newly transplanted into a bucket. Will move outside in spring or larger bucket.

The lemon Verbena plant has been put into a larger container.  One of the stems has been collapsed since we purchased it.  We do not know if this will be sufficient size to root or not, but we plan to try taking this as a cutting.  After reading a bit on it, it seems softwood cuttings taken in the ‘summer’ fair the best.  Our current temperatures and the health of the plant would indicate its in this phase, since it is deciduous.  We don’t have much experience with plants outside of annuals, so this will be a learning process.

We’ve read it was brought to Europe from South America in the 17th century.  After looking further for accounts of this, the earliest expressed is from 1767.. so unsure if they meant 18th century or if there are undocumented transfers of this.  It is part of the Lamiales order, which includes many common plants you probably will recognize:

Sages, Basil, Rosemary, Mints, Sesame, Teak
Jasmine, Olive, Lilac, Lavender, Psyllium, Ash Tree

Tomato Cuttings, Tomato Clones, Tomato Propagation

Various tomato sucker cuttings set into different liquid and soil blends.

Tomato cuttings.  Sigh.  We’ve never really spent much time with cuttings before, so this is a literal experiment.  These cuttings are now about a week old.  They all are sucker branches that came off a tomato plant started in May from seed.  We will down the road produce additional pages on common horticultural techniques such as rooting/layering/cutting, but for now would prefer just chronicling our attempts.  Below is the different methods being tested:

2 wrapped in paper towel/plastic bag, one with myco powder on it.
2 in regular potting soil, 1 with leaves clipped.
2 in coconut/casting mix, 1 clipped.
1 in tap water, 1 in distilled + kelp, 1 in distilled + myco, 1 in plain distilled.
and a few just in coconut casting as single leaves, and about 12 single small leaves cut and put into humidity dome to see if there’s any hope of rooting off a single leaf.

After about a week..we’ve yet to see any roots, at least on the water methods.  The cups are transparent, so we should see roots when they grow to the barrier.  The one in water + kelp turned to mush after about 3 days.  We think it probably had too much kelp mixed into the water (don’t remember the exact ratio.)  We have been keeping these misted each day, though now some are tending to curl in on themselves.  The ratio of leaf size to stem and amount of leaves might be playing a role.. however we’ve seen plenty of -huge- cuttings rooted before.  Time will tell.

Guava Seeds, Guava Germinating, Guava Stratifying

Set of approx 150 guava seeds, soaked in different levels of 2(HO)

After 5 days of soaking in different solutions, the Guava seeds were ready to be packaged for germination.  After being inspired by the results of soaking Morning Glory seeds in Hydrogen Peroxide 3%, we decided to do some tests to see if this would make any noticeable difference with the Guava.  Guava seeds are hard as pebbles.  Even with my sharpened kershaw knife, I was unable to cut into the Guava seed.  It is remarkable when you cut through a Guava and the knife blade leaves so many small bumps of exposed seeds that are completely unharmed by the blade.

We had read a research paper on Guava germination and from what we remembered the paper suggested 4 days was determined to be optimal time soaking guava seeds.  We had forgotten about the guava one day too long, but we don’t imagine it will cause much of a difference.  The seeds were soaked in 3 different solutions:

  1. Full strength Hydrogen Peroxide (3%)
  2. Half Strength Hydrogen Peroxide (1.5%)
  3. Full Distilled Water

We also placed 6 seeds that were not soaked as a control into a  germination bag.  They are now set aside into our germinating box and will update down the road as we see results.

Have additional questions regarding the content of this post? Email us thefruitnation@gmail.com.  We will not turn down any inquiries or feedback – transparency is key!

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