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Using a Greenhouse (or windowsill) to Get a Jump on Spring By Ruth Rogers Clausen
Category: Presenting "The Curious Gardener"
Welcome to my 10′ x 9′ greenhouse. It faces south with a sliding door from the living room. When spring comes I can walk through it onto the deck where I pot up lots of fun combinations in planters. Many of the plants I use have been overwintered and propagated in my greenhouse. My nitrile garden gloves live there too where they are close to hand. At the moment several varieties of velvety-leaved aromatic Cuban oregano (Plectranthus), a current favorite of mine, are being propagated through cuttings. Coleus and Streptocarpella do well, the latter in full bloom along with mini-fuchsia (Fuchsia cana). I keep geraniums, especially scented ones, growing and blooming through the winter. Chives, parsley and mint are residents too, of course. I’ll be starting seeds any day now—sweet peas in cardboard egg cartons, sweet alyssum (8 weeks to bloom), and spinach.
Propagating plants with cuttings is an easy task. Clip a 1 ½” to 3″ long piece of a young shoot from the mother plant, recut where leaves emerge, remove the lower leaves, and insert the cutting into damp rooting mix: perlite or vermiculite. Water gently. I enclose the whole thing in a plastic vegetable bag, blow it up, and secure tightly with a twistie. This balloon-like cocoon prevents the cuttings from drying out. Keep them away from direct sun or they will cook.