Achieving Superabundance in Your Garden
Here we are at the hard core. Although some of what is to follow may appear to be more serious than popping a few seeds into the ground, a little patience and attention on your part will yield spectacular results.
Basically, what we’re going to talk about on this page is nothing more than what people have been doing for thousands of years—except we’re now at the refined version of what you can do. And the refined version of the gardening practices on this page isn’t all that demanding.
What we want to propose here is simple multiplication. Gardening practices are available to multiply the basic stock your garden grows from, and other practices can make the growing part superabundant indeed.
Remember the old Doritos slogan, “Crunch all you want, we’ll make more”? Basically, that’s the propagation of. (Not the ‘crunch’ part, the ‘we’ll make more’ part.) ‘Propagation’ is a word that horticulturalists use to describe actually several techniques where you use one plant to make as many other plants as you want.
And the price is right, i.e. free!
And guaranteed you have seen or at least heard of using “slips” to generate new garden plants from just part of an existing plant. Mary Robson and Holly Kennell from Washington State University introduce a short, charming piece about propagating garden plants from slips this way.
“I remember the sunny kitchen windowsill where Grandma Adams always kept her slips … she was propagating houseplants and tender perennials through the old-fashioned and low tech method of 'slipping' or rooting cuttings in water.”
This is a very common sight in zillions of households all across America and probably the world because it is a very ancient technique.
Here’s how Robson and Kennell describe the process of multiplying garden plants. “The process is a simple one. Take a water glass that is wider on top than on the bottom. Fill it with plain tap water.
“Then put a leaf and stem of something like an African Violet in the glass. Set on a partially sunny windowsill, the stem will soon begin to grow roots.”
Robson and Kennell report that once the roots of however many garden plants you’re propagating are well formed, the process of transferring the garden plants to the garden itself or a pot is delicate. The roots are vulnerable at this time. “The ‘gentle’ method is to add a tablespoonful of soil to the glass each day until all the water is displaced and the plant is rooted in soil.”
You definitely know gardeners who give each other, or trade “cuttings” or “slips” of a host of garden plants. It’s a great way to get the selection of garden plants you want. And the multiplication of your garden plants all comes from home-based cloning.
Yup, heavy science right? (Well, if you want to clone your dog, maybe.) Wrong if you stick with garden plants. Simple.
Now if you really want to go crazy cloning all kinds of garden plants—even shrubs and trees—you’ll be happy to know that the humble practice of using slips to clone garden plants has evolved into an elaborate process of grafting, which includes several kinds of grafting techniques some that require only a sharp knife to peel back bark. These techniques go by names like ‘shield grafting,’ ‘whip grafting,’ ‘greenwood grafting,’ and ‘layering.’ This is the big time, and if you really want to get into cloning garden plants we’ve got a reference below for you below—almost a whole course (free, naturally.)
And if you want to read Robson and Kennell’s very charming piece, just click here: Clone Your Own Garden Plants!
A Superabundance of Flowering Plants
One way to make sure you’ll have lots and lots of flowering plants is to make sure the flowering plants you have actually flower. There are several reasons flowering plants fail to flower. Among the reasons: Flowering plants need to—literally—grow up, reach the right age before they flower; propagated flowering plants may bloom early or late; your flowering plants need just the right amount of sun; they won’t flower if the temperature isn’t right; they need adequate nutrition, and some flowering plants that need pruning may be pruned incorrectly.
Some other things to know about flowering plants concern the flowering plants energy budget. The flowers on the flowering plant—flowers are the most pleasurable part—take a big percentage of your flowering plants energy budget. Flowers are crucial to flowering plants. It’s their reason for being. They need to reproduce, and the flowers are the neon signs that attract pollinators—honey bees primarily, but also butterflies and other insects and the wind, sometimes. So flowering plants spend big (in terms of energy) on their flowers. No pollination, no offspring, and that is a threat to the species.
The point is that flowering plants have other energy expenses. They need to grow their leaves so they can produce enough carbs from the sun’s energy. They need to grow their stems and roots. All of it adds up to flowering plants making enough flowers for sexual reproduction via pollination.
Another point: Flowering plants need the absolute best of all the ingredients—water, nutrition etc.—to get their flower making chores done. That’s why flowering plants need all the TLC you can give them.
Not only that but flowering plants need to be protected—from insects and other pests, like deer, who like to nibble on them. If you want great flowering plants, if you want superabundant flowering plants, you need to be a great gardener.
Superabundance from LED Grow Lights
OK … so what’s the big deal about LED grow lights? Led grow lights, after all, are pretty damn expensive, not exactly the simple, free practice that humans followed 4,000 years ago. And not nearly what we preach here at Gardening Headquarters that bountiful gardens, indoor ones as well, don’t need to be expensive.
LED grow lights?
Well, first of all led grow lights are light. And our cousins from 4,000 years ago all wished for plenty of that from the sun, and lucky for us they got it more often than not.
But, believe it or not, a lot of that light was wasted. Yeah. And when Tom Edison cranked out his incandescent bulb and people quickly found that potted flowering plants and other garden plants placed under such a bulb could actually grow indoors what they didn’t know is that most of that light was wasted in the form of radiated heat. And they didn’t know they were lining Tom’s pockets with money spent on electricity for heat they didn’t need.
LED grow lights, oddly enough, are the (relatively recent) product of the U. S. space program. Growing food on a long space mission has a number of advantages. Plants not only provide food but generate oxygen as a by product. So … LED grow lights are employed to optimize plant growth while saving power.
NASA’s annual publication, called Spinoff (2005) gives a quick snapshot of the development of led grow lights. A key finding from led grow lights research begun in the early 1990s was that “The [led grow lights] experiments … demonstrated that red LED wavelengths could boost the energy metabolism of cells to advance plant growth and photosynthesis.” The full article is interesting and if you want to read it click on the following: NASA LED grow lights experiments. This takes you to the Spinoff home page where you can download (free) a long PDF. If you want to read the article online, click on Table of Contents. The LED grow lights material is in the first article with the title, “Lighting the Way for Quicker, Safer Healing.” (Turns out LED grow lights have health benefits as well.)
More detail about led grow lights can be found on a website called wisegeek.com. “The main benefit to using LED grow lights is the ability to deliver high intensity light in indoor spaces.” The website goes on to say, “[The LED grow lights] can extend the growing season by allowing plants to be grown indoors prior to transplanting outside, or even as an alternative to gardening outdoors.” You can read the whole article (it’s short) by clicking on the following: Main Gardener Benefits from LED Grow Lights.
Now, unless you have bucks to burn, or you’re running a greenhouse operation, it doesn’t make sense at this point to drop a wad on LED grow lights. However … and this is a big ‘however,’ manufacturers are lining up in droves to crank LED grow lights out. And you know what happens then—the price drops.
The point is keep an eye out for LED grow lights development. The market and technology are developing at a dizzying pace. And when the LED grow lights price slips into your budget range, make sure you buy ones that have the NASA developed red blue wavelength range.
And watch your indoor plants grow like crazy.