Thursday, June 3, 2010

Free Plants From my Mom

No, not for you, although I'm sure she'd share with you also if you were her favorite kid like I am.  ;)  Seriously, though, getting cuttings or shoots from other people's plants is a great way to expand your garden for free.  You might have a friend or relative willing to share their extra plants with you.

We took a trip over Memorial Day weekend out to see my fantastical mom.  Had a great time visiting the family and came home with some treasures.  She had an extra chicken feeder, so we can now give back the one we've been borrowing.  And she had plants.  Lots of plants.  So I took some home.  The rhubarb, lemon balm, varigated mint, and parsley we dug out with a little chunk of dirt around the roots and put them in little pots.  Well, the rhubarb needed a little bigger pot than the others.  Then we dug out a chunk of peppermint, a chunk of spearmint and a bunch of periwinkle ground cover.  These we transported home "bare root".  We shook the dirt off the roots, wrapped the plant bunches together with wet paper towels around their roots, and put them in an empty #10 can to keep them all together.  You could use wet newspaper also--the way Gurney's ships their plants.  These plants all spread and self propagate.  They are perennials so they'll come back on their own year after year, usually thicker than before which is why mom had extra to share.  Other plants that share well are flowers that grow from bulbs like tulips, daffodils, and iris.

Good thing for the chicken feeder, because that kept all the plants upright in the trunk for the 8 hour trip home.

Now they're home I put the bare root mints in pots with dirt while we get a space prepared for them and the ground cover is in the ground around the lilac bushes getting watered.  Plants from cuttings/shoots need a lot of water and love and water to stay alive the first little while.  I got some fine lilac bushes this way--cut some shoots that were poking up around the base of a friend's lilac bushes and planted them in my yard.  They needed LOTS of water to stay alive the first year, but now (four years later) they are respectable, healthy lilac bushes. 

I put the rhubarb in a bigger pot than it traveled home in and now have a whole collection of plants waiting under the Aspen trees for their own home in the dirt.  We'll be sacrificing a chunk of the lawn around my baby herb garden to plant some more herbs and whatnot, so I want the grass killed and some dirt moved in or tilled before I start planting.  Might be a bit, but in the meantime they're all happily growing in their pots under the trees.

And yes, I know I have a giveaway that ended.  I'm on catchup duty since returning home and I'll get a winner chosen and notified as soon as I can. :)


Dunappy said...

Wow Free plants are always good. My spearmint plant that I'm already harvesting this year was a freebie plant from a friend of mine last year.

Patrice Farmer said...

Thats great. I love getting things for free.