Propagation Chamber

jbest123(Zone 5 PA)August 14, 2007

Let me start by saying that, I used the propagation box from Freeplants.com with great success. The box filled with wet coarse sand and an aquarium weighed 60 to 70 lb, which was a little to heavy for me to be moving around (I'm almost 70 yrs old). I made 6 boxed and they are still in good use by my Daughter and Son in law. I liked the idea of little_dani's Easy Propagation Chamber but thought it would be a little to small for my use.

I found 2 food storage containers at Walmart one a 20 quart and one a 12 quart with the same dimensions around the perimeter. I drilled six 5/8 in holes for drainage in the 12 quart container, and lade a piece of hardware cloth on the bottom to keep the potting soil from washing out. (photo 1) There is a little gap at both ends of the containers, allowing for ventilation, no need for further holes. ( photo 2) . For the potting soil I use 50/50 peat moss and vermiculite. What I like about the near transparent container for the bottom is you can see root development and water needs. Photo 3 shows root development and beads of condensation which indicates adequate air space and water. Each container will hold 120 to130 cuttings and all seem to be doing well and pass the tug test. (photo 4) When I stick the cuttings, I will leave them outside in the shade for 1 week and then move them to the greenhouse. Six chambers fit on an 8 ft shelf very nicely. (photo 5). I also use a 24 in bungie cord to keep the two containers aligned.

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maternut(7 west tn)

Very nice setup there young fellow, and just think in a few more years you will be as old as I am. With the drainage holes won't you keep adding water more often, than without the holes, and a clay pot filled with water. Like Janie had in hers.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 4:16PM
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jbest123(Zone 5 PA)

Hello maternut, I made these over 3 weeks ago and haven't added water yet. John

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 5:02PM
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maternut(7 west tn)

Thats good to know. Removing the clay pot gives you lot's more room. Guess you can allways improve on most things.
Norm

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 7:59PM
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little_dani(9, S. Tex Coast)

Very nice, Johm. I like the fact that you can stick longer cuttings too. AND you can stick so many!

What do you do with 120 cuttings? Do you sell them for liners? I don't mean to be nosy, but I am one of those people who stick cuttings just for the heck of it sometimes, and then I am looking for homes for some of my plants.

Thanks for showing us. I will try it too.

Janie

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 11:46PM
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jbest123(Zone 5 PA)

Hi Janie, I have 4 children and 9 grand children who live localy and many friends and neighbors. I just gave 5 plants away before i could answer your post. If a straniger walked up the alley, I probably give them some or at least sell them pretty cheap. Have a nice day, John
p.s. Thanks for the idea.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2007 at 9:34AM
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annafl(z9b/10a Sarasota)

John,

How do you get your rooted cuttings out of the container and in the ground or other container? Aren't the roots intermingled with other cuttings? Don't the new plants get traumatized when some of the roots break, or being transplanted?

Anna

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 8:19PM
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jbest123(Zone 5 PA)

Hi Anna, I use a common table fork to work under the plants and lift them carefully. The roots don't seam tangled that mutch. John

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 9:49PM
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mollymaples(Northwest,z5)

John, your plants look great. Could you tell me what you have had success with. I tried Janie's, however, I think at this point I have a brown thumb, nothing lived to transplant out of many cuttings of curly willow, poplar, dogwood, purple willow and lots of others. I know I am doing something wrong, just can't figure out what. They look really nice for a while, then die. While it saddens me to kill them, I am going to keep trying.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 12:29AM
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jbest123(Zone 5 PA)

Hello mollymaples, I propagate landscape shrubs and perennials. Trees are harder to propagate with cuttings you may want to try coarse sand and a liquid rooting hormone like Dip N Grow so you can adjust the strength. John

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 8:34AM
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mollymaples(Northwest,z5)

Thanks John. Never give up, never surrender.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 12:10AM
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ladybarber101(9a)

Hi John
I was wandering do you wet the medium efore you stick your cuttings or jst mist them when they are ready to be closed up?
Donna

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 5:51PM
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jbest123(Zone 5 PA)

Hi Donna, I water before and after. I poke 9-10 holes across with an old plastic pen and the medium must hold the shape of the hole, about 5/16" X 2". After I stick the cuttings I go back and compress the soil with my fingers around the cutting. I continue with all the cuttings I have. I then water again to remove any air pockets around the cuttings. With the top in place you don't have to mist at all. I will add water to the medium about every 3 weeks untill it runs out all 6 holes. John

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 7:30PM
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ladybarber101(9a)

John thank you so much. I wasnt really sure I have treid it several ways. I think I will be hitting Walmart in the morning anyway so Ill be checking out containers.
Thanks again
Donna

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 10:35PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I have a 3x6 foot controlled temperature aluminum plate for source of bottom heat. I start my cuttings in old jumbo sixpac containers. Each cutting has its own space and no intermingling of roots requiring separation to transplant. I have accumulated an assortment of aquariums from yard sales which I invert over as many sixpacs as will fit under it. Before putting containers on bottom heat I immerse them in water to thoroughly saturate soil. Every few days I lift the aquariums and wipe excess moisture off the inside. When I think they are rooted I leave them uncovered for 30 minutes and if they do not wilt they go in my cold frame until the container is well rooted. When transplanted from the sixpac there is very little if any transplant shock and resulting check in growth. I cannot afford to heat my greenhouse and for propagation purposes this works right through our winter. Al

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 10:14AM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)

John,

I see you are in zone 5 and the cuttings appear to be done in a greenhouse. I am in the process of finishing my greenhouse for sole use of propogating plants. Whay type of heat do you use and at what temperature do you perform your propogation in? My gh is 18' X 22'.

Tj

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 12:30PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Tj I know you were not asking me, but if I can keep my greenhouse air temperature above 50 and my bottom heater at 70 degrees, I get good results. Al

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 9:59AM
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jbest123(Zone 5 PA)

Hello ladylotus and calistoga,
I put my softwood cuttings in the greenhouse just for convenience. That way they are close to water and I donÂt have to bend over to tend them. If you use propagation chambers ideally, you put them in the shade with dappled sum. I use the chambers to avoid the expense of misters and the maintenance thereof, including the expensive ones. I do my hardwood cuttings in a small lean to greenhouse and keep the temperatures about the same as calistoga. In the greenhouse in the above photo I use a non vented natural gas heater. Some experts say not to use this type, but I have for several years without any problems with vegetable, landscape and tropical plants.

John

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 6:02PM
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bubbalove(7 Central AL)

John,
I bookmarked this page with your pics several months ago. I just bought everything I need for one chamber today. Thanks for the inspiration.
Bubba

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 9:00PM
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ncdaisies

I hate to sound stupid, but what is hardware cloth? Excellent idea! Very smart; thanks so much for sharing.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 5:04PM
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jbest123(Zone 5 PA)

ncdaisies, window screen, I used the plastic screen to avoid any corrosion problems.

John

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 8:24PM
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msalex28a

I would love to see any pictures of other peoples chambers.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 6:09PM
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ms_minnamouse(7a)

When I signed up, it didn't give me a link for the "Free Plans for a Plant Propagation System". So are you talking about the "Hoop Greenhouse" plans?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 6:53AM
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ms_minnamouse(7a)

Anyone?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 9:14PM
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jbest123(Zone 5 PA)

ms_minnamouse, I was talking about Mike's propagation box, not the hoop house.

John

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 2:59AM
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ms_minnamouse(7a)

Okay, I don't see it. On the left it lists free plans for a bench, a hoop house, other things and at the bottom of the list is the plant propagation system. Is it ones of the free things you get when you sign up for his newsletter?

Or do you have to pay for the plans?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 12:57AM
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wildmantrav(zone 4b central WI)

I belive this is the link your looking for
http://www.freeplants.com/homemade-plant-propagation.htm

Trav

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 1:25PM
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suzegarden(z5mo)

Just wanted to chime in and say I built my propagation chamber, as described, and it is working like a charm. What a great idea. Thanks jbest.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 11:46PM
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jbest123(Zone 5 PA)

Thanks suzegarden, what have you had sucess with? I used them for starting my vegie seeds this spring, they worked great.

John

Here is a link that might be useful: Johns Journal

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 6:14PM
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suzegarden(z5mo)

Sorry for taking so long to respond. I had good luck initially with annuals like impatiens and petunias. Today i pulled out a well rooted mandevilla that my sister has been asking for. It has a double flower, which makes it unique to me. suzegarden

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 11:50PM
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angelady777 (was angelady on GW) - Zone 6(6)

Awesome box, John! You've been clipped! :-)

Blessings,
Angela

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 12:35AM
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jpagliai

Does anyone know if this setup will work in zone 10 (Ft.Lauderdale)? I'm worried that the summer heat and humitiy will rot the cuttings. Anyone have any south florida suggestions?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 12:14PM
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trini1trini

jpagliai, I am still experimenting with this in zone 10. Oddly, what I thought would root, rotted instead and what I didn't think would root, actually did. But, I have only had about 20% success. I am going back to the drawing board and will increase my sterilization. I will use a spagnum peat and microwave it. I will make sure everything else is cleaned with the bleach solution. I am not giving up because it is a good method if things don't rot so quickly.
T

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 11:49AM
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