Hopefully you have been keeping up with my Aerogarden posts. If not, here’s an update -my most recent grow is going very good!
I have Thai Holy Basil also known as Tulsi and Italian sweet basil going strong in the Aerogarden. The other week, I showed you how I prune the plants and then took cuttings. The cuttings were placed in water with rooting hormone with the intent to propagate. Today I will go into a little more detail about cuttings and why I do it.
(basil cutting with baby roots)
When you take cuttings, you must use a very sharp knife. In my experience, when I have used scissors, the cuttings sometimes don’t root. Also, I’ve read and can vouch from first hand experience you want to take the cutting at an angle.
If you take it parallel to the ground, you have the potential for getting air bubbles stuck inside the stem. Also, if you don’t immediately put your cutting into water, that is another potential risk for air bubbles. Air bubbles will prevent the cutting from absorbing nutrients and water to stay alive. So keep that in mind
When you make your cut just, you want to aim just above the node and at least 2 nodes down from the top. The node can be identified by looking for where two new leaves are growing out from the stem. Those baby leaves will eventually turn into branches.
Does this sound like a lot of work ? Well, it is. But with cuttings, I can easily multiply the basil plants I have and ensure that I have a continuous supply going forward. This saves a lot of time if you want to scale up your supply and do so quickly. It’s a lot easier than seed since you already have an established plant too.
Since you’re not starting with seed you will multiply your plants and harvests in no time. If you wanted to, you could even take cuttings of cuttings! Also, you could even plant the rooted cuttings in dirt. But since I like the speed and efficiency of hydroponic method, I put them into recycled yogurt containers.
Here is an example of some Italian Sweet Basil cuttings that I have taken and rooted. They are sitting in the same nutrient solution that I use for the Aerogarden. When I took the cuttings they were only about 2-3 inches in height. Below is 2 weeks after baby roots developed and I placed in the nutrient solution.
The picture below shows the basil cuttings at about 4 weeks after planting. You can see it has almost caught up to the mother plant!
This method of letting the plant sit in solution is called the Kratky method. Named after the person who invented it. You can read all you want about it here . <- That is the link to the official paper outlining that growing method.
The pictures above show me using the Kratky method for my basil. Within two weeks, you can see there was significant growth. So if you wanted to give this a try yourself, all you need are some yogurt containers, plant nutrients (I used Maxigro) and rooted basil cuttings!
I have these sitting by a bright window inside, so I’m sure if they had full sun outside they would be much bigger!!
You can read about my other hydroponic endeavors on the gardening page.
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