Sunday, June 1, 2014

Reviving Hydroponic Garden: Basil Cloning -- Part 1

The hydroponic garden has been out of commission for a few weeks as all the lettuce in it was either harvested or died due to the hot weather. Since I learned I will be staying in the apartment over the summer, I can plant some new stuff in my system. I'm opting to plant basil because

1) I have a plant already, despite it being small
2) It's super easy to propagate from cuttings, similar to tomatoes
3) You can never have enough basil
Basil mother plant
My only basil plant so far
With that said, here's how I'm doing it.
First you need a healthy basil plant, like the one pictured above. Any plant can work as long as the cuttings you take come from an alive plant. (I tried doing it with basil sprigs from a restaurant before and it was unsuccessful.) Basil plants tend to grow little side shoots off the main shoot. Those are the cuttings you want to make. Use a scissors or knife to cleanly remove the cutting from the stalk. Also remove any small leaves below the large leaves of the cutting to expose more stem and prevent rot.
Basil cutting
The first of my few cuttings
Next you'll want to place the cutting in water or moist growing media. Use a bottle or small cup if you opt for placing the cutting in water. I used rockwool as I will be propagating these in my hydroponic garden (soil works too, I did that last year). Make sure the growing media is moist before inserting the cutting into it.
Rooting basil cutting
Place the cutting into moist growing media
Basil in rockwool
Close up below the leaves (make sure to remove anything below the main stem first)
Repeat these steps with as many cuttings as you want to make from your mother plant. Place the cuttings out of direct sunlight otherwise they will wilt. It will take 1-2 weeks for the rooting to occur. Make sure that the stem is always moist for this duration. Once roots have grown, they can be transplanted.
5 cuttings from mother plant
5 cuttings from my small plant
Mother Plant afterwards
The mother plant after cuttings were taken

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