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new: june fotess swap: "snip and share"

8 years ago

June Swap - FOTESS - Snip and Share

First of all, let me say that you need to be a member of FOTESS in order to participate in this swap. FOTESS stands for Friends of the Earth Simple Swaps. We try to keep our swaps simple, try to make sure the postage for them is not too expensive, and we try to recycle and reuse and share seeds as much as we can. If you are not currently a member but are a reliable GardenWeb swapper, you can get in touch with Shirley or me and see if you are able to join in time for this swap.

Here are the rules if you sign up... and we hope you do!!!

1. Fill a small priority box (the size that you can send for about $5) with cuttings for the partner who will be assigned to you. My "guess-timate" is about 12 cuttings. You can send a few less if some or all of the plants are rooted. You must pack them carefully and according to the instructions. You can send a few cuttings from the same plant if you want to make sure that one roots, but not all from the same plant.

2. We need to send these priority and I believe priority comes with delivery confirmation (tracking) now. Try to mail early in the week so the package is less likely to sit somewhere over a weekend. Take your cuttings shortly before you ship so they stay as fresh as possible. I'm going to try to match partners so the boxes will travel a short distance rather than all the way across the country, but that will depend on the location of those who participate.

3. Select plants that have a likely chance to root. I'm going to give a crazy example here, but you would not cut just a daisy blossom off your plant and mail that to your partner or a cutting from a plant that just sprouted from seed a few days before. We want a stem part that normally contains leaves and has the strength to undergo the rooting process. Don't take so much off your "mother plant" that it won't survive the pruning!

Okay - back to being serious: There are many ways to propagate plants - from leaves, sections of roots, grafting, using misting systems, air layering, etc., but this time we intend to use stem cuttings that will be rooted in a container of sterile sand or some other medium or in water - a simple way! Do not leave lots of foliage on the cutting. The plant will not be able to support lots of foliage as it tries to root and that foliage will take up lots of space in the box. It is fine to leave a few leaves. If this terminology is meaningful to you, try to make sure there are some nodes/nodules (or bumps or stubs) from leaves or offshoots that you have removed where it will be asked to develop roots. That makes the process more likely. I would not recommend that you scrape or scar the cut end before sending it. If the recipient decides to do that before trying to root the cutting, he or she can right before potting it up.

4. Before you wrap the cutting, if you have rooting hormone on hand, you can dip just the end of your cutting in water and then in the rooting hormone - dip lightly - we don't want a rooting hormone snowstorm in the package. The way to package your cutting is to wrap the bottom of each stem with a paper towel or newspaper that is just barely damp. You don't want it saturated. Wrap only the end. I feel like I should say that again in bold: wrap only the end! If you put the entire stem and foliage inside the wrapping, it will likely begin to rot or mold before it is received. I was in a swap - not with FOTESS - where cuttings were totally wrapped in plastic and shipped in the summer (the entire thing was wrapped in plastic- stem, leaves, etc.) and the whole box had totally turned to mush by the time it reached me so we don't want that. You will likely find that you need to cushion the other end of the cutting (the foliage end) as you pack your box. If so, use something that "breathes" like shredded newspaper. Do not pad that part with plastic or something that will hold in too much heat and moisture.

5. If your plants are not suitable for taking cuttings, you can divide some perennials or send bulbs, corms, rhizomes, or strawberry runners, or some other type of plant material. However, the entire package cannot be "other." No seeds are to be sent! If you don't have enough plants for cuttings maybe a friend or family member will let you take a few cuttings from their plants. Another possibility is to add some well-grown winter sowing plants to the package.

6. Label each plant cutting and if you have information about how best to prepare it for rooting, add that as a note.

7. If there are some things you would really like to receive (e.g. cuttings of herbs, cuttings to grow shrubbery, cuttings for house plants, roses, or whatever) you can list that when you sign up. Keep in mind, you may or may not receive it. Make sure all cuttings are free from disease and pests. If you are sending something that is already rooted, rinse most of the soil from the roots and then package it like we listed for the cuttings. Sorry for all the rules, but cuttings are wonderful if they are shipped carefully.

Aren't we a thrifty bunch to try to share our plants in this way? Sign up by Thursday, June 12th and I will get partners assigned on the 13th or 14th. Mail your package by Mon. June 23th.

Things that typically do well - help me out by posting some ideas to the thread: most herbs - rosemary, oregano, mint... shrubs like forsythia, quince, many salvias, plants like brugmansia, many houseplants, most antique roses root well, confederate rose, Christmas or Thanksgiving cactus, ivy or geranium cuttings, dusty miller, impatiens, sedum, pussywillow or other willows, kiwi, blueberry cuttings, hardy mums, night blooming cereus, kerria japonica, angel wing begonias, St. John's Wort, pothos. Coleus is very easy to root so if you have some to spare, it's fine to send.

If you send some bulbs, rhizomes, or corms do not wrap those in moist paper towels. Keep them dry for shipping. Keep thinking of ideas! You can look for information on how to root your cuttings online, but let's share and post ideas about what you have good luck rooting and methods you have used with success (or maybe what to avoid!) We will leave the rooting system up to the receiver.

I usually dip the end in rooting hormone and place the cutting in semi-shade. You need to keep it moist, but not soaking wet. With our weather here, I just water thoroughly every day or maybe a few times a day until roots develop. Some people "tent" the container in clear plastic to keep it moist and if that is how you usually succeed, that is fine. With our humidity, I don't usually need to do that. Some people put cuttings directly in the ground and cover them with a jar. Too hot here to do that, but it may work well where you are.

I hope after the swap you will come back to say how you rooted things and what was successful. We all want to learn more.


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