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7102Re: [AZ] Bob's Cutting Box

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  • Bob Dunning
    Feb 1, 2007
      Bruce Clyburn wrote:

      Hi Bob:
      A few quick questions on your cutting box and propagation methods, if you don't mind:
      Do you do deciduous azaleas or just evergreen? Rhodos?

      Pretty much everything goes into the cutting box.  I don't need a lot of success to be happy.  Evergreen azaleas are easiest.  I have had the whole cutting box carpeted with tiny blooming cuttings of evergreen azaleas.  The hot pink of 'Tradition' is my wife's favorite color.

      Do you use rooting compounds?

      I have some hormodin that I usually use.  I don't bother with the evergreen azaleas.  Britt said not to use it but I have seen no harm, and maybe no benefit either.

      Do you keep the process going under lights inside all winter?

      Yes.  I am too lazy to mess with the lights.  They are on all the time.  I don't usually bring anything out until spring. 

      Do you just rely on the glass cover for your aquarium to keep that 100% humidity or do you regularly mist the cuttings too?

      I occasionally spray the cuttings with water from a squeeze bottle, especially when they are new.  Sometimes weeks go by between my visits. (I am quite busy with various projects.)  The aquarium usually keeps things damp enough.  Most house plants grow like crazy in the tank.  I have kept the plants going through the years despite my wife's persistent efforts to exterminate them.

      Ever take cuttings from the new growth from your plants to root "2nd generation" cuttings?

      Yes.  I do that when the cuttings grow up and knock on the glass cover.  That sometimes happens with the deciduous azaleas.  Some of the house plants have to be weeded out from time to time.  I also get starts from some of the house ferns from time to time.

      Just remember that I am a home gardener and I only need a few successful cuttings to be happy.  My method is low energy.  I often experiment so I sometimes have total failures.  Then I have to try again the following year. 

      I mostly use pure peat moss as the rooting medium.  That would get too wet under a constant misting system but it limits the number of visits that I have to make.

      I learned the basics of this system of doing things from Britt Smith.  He used plastic tents in a north facing window.  As I said, I experiment.

      I have had a design for a cutting box in my mind for several years.  I heard about it from Walt Wilke, a coworker at Boeing.  Sadly, he died of cancer a number of years ago.  That design has a water tank in the bottom, a light in the top, heavy insulation, and racks to hold trays full of cuttings.  There would be a fan to force air through the cuttings from below.  Heat would come from the light bulbs.  Walt had a similar cutting box that he swore by.  I don't know what happened to it after he was gone.

      I have not started building that box yet.  There is never enough time.

      Bruce Clyburn,
      New Waterford, NS

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