My good friend, Ilene, sent me a bunch of cuttings from her Nanking cherries, gooseberries, and red currants. I’ve been wanting to plant some since we moved up here but I hadn’t yet been able to bring myself to pony up the big $$ the stores want for them.
Now, if you read all the fancy pants university papers on how to root cuttings, you’ll get a whole bunch of “do this with this type at this time of year on so-n-so aged wood — and make sure you hold your tongue just right and don’t you dare forget to do it during a full moon wearing a tutu made of lucky rabbit feet” sort of thing. Well, I’m here to tell ya, it’s usually okay if you don’t. Maybe a few things are really particular but I’ve generally had good luck just taking cuttings from wherever and whenever it’s convenient. Not all of them make it but, usually, enough of each do live and do fine.
Get yourself a pot (or a cup with holes poked in the bottom) and fill it with potting soil. Jam a pencil in there, maybe 2/3 or 3/4 of the way down and give it a little wiggle to enlarge the hole a bit.
Make sure you have some rooting hormone handy. Some folks make their own but, really, for $4/jar once per year, I’m going the lazy way out.
Set up a space with all your stuff. I suggest the top of the deep freeze during dinner prep so everyone can whine that you’re in the way. It makes it that much more fun.
Dip the cut end into water to moisten so the rooting hormone will stick. (By the way, you’re supposed to take off any leaves & buds along the part that will be in dirt. I rarely remember to do so and, honestly, I don’t like the idea of fresh wounds staying down in the moist soil. But now ya know so you can do it the “right” way.)
Jam that cutting down into the rooting hormone and swish it around. You’ll notice that the powder doesn’t go up as far as you need it.
So that’s when I hold the cutting over a spare cup and shake the rooting hormone onto the cutting to coat it further up. Then give it a little tap to knock off the excess. You only need a little dusting.
Drop it in your hole and give it a little push to make sure it’s in there. Take a finger and smoosh the dirt in around the sides, down towards the bottom, then top with a little more soil.
I then place each cup/cutting into a bread bag and tie the top. Each cutting now has its own little “greenhouse”. (Do not set these in the sun or you’ll cook them! Until they’re established, mine will stay right here in the house where it’s a nice, even temperature and I can keep an eye on them.) It’ll take a few weeks for them to root well. I’ll keep ya updated!
Thanks again, Ilene!!