The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Making sure your cuttings are right-side-up

Kiwi cuttings

Slanted cuttingIt's a little early to be taking cuttings for grafting, but now's a fine time to start hardwood cuttings if you're going to nurture them inside.  We sent some of our hardy kiwi cuttings off to the source of last year's fig cuttings, and that got me thinking about some of the conventions involved in cuttings.

Depending on who you talk to, you should either cut the tops of your cuttings straight and the bottom at a slant...or vice versa.  The former makes the most sense to me since the pointy end will be easy to stick into a pot of soil.

Hardy kiwi buds

I usually don't bother with slanting one end of cuttings, but kiwi buds look upside down to me, and I could easily imagine myself putting them in a pot wrong-side-up.  That's the worst thing you can do when grafting or rooting --- stems can't handle being upside down and generally just die.  I always used to laugh when grafting books admonished me to be careful not to put the scionwood on upside down, but now that I've seen kiwi buds, I've started passing on the same warning!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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