Gardening and farming can be a pretty good deal, when it comes to return on your input. One tomato seed can yield pounds of tomatoes, one flower seed dozens of stems, and one leaf can yield an entirely new plant. It can be a pretty good deal, if everything goes right! Recently we've been reveling in this miracle of division, as we brace for another growing season and try to take advantage of this feat of nature.
Last fall we dug up our dahlia bed, which yielded some incredibly massive clumps of tubers. It is pretty amazing how one little tuber can yield such a mass in a few short months! I tried a bunch of storage techniques over the winter, divided them in late winter, and had good success with some of them. Little pink and white shoots started popping out last week on some of the varieties, which will get potted up and held in the greenhouse until the weather warms up.
I am trying a bunch of new chrysanthemum varieties this year and received the plugs in early March. After potting them up, you let them grow for a few weeks and then start to take cuttings. Simply snip the top growth off, dip it in rooting hormone, and stick it in the soil. In a few weeks, the cutting will take root, begin to grow some more and you can then take more cuttings off of those cuttings. The cycle continues until the end of May or so when we find ourselves with a nice army of plants, ready to be planted in the ground.
Succulents are another amazing plant to propagate. All you do is carefully snap off the leaves from the stem, allow them to dry out for a week or so, lay them on the surface of the soil, and wait for little roots and leaf buds to start growing. Once they have enough root matter, you plant them in little pots and watch them slowly turn into little plants of their own. I bought a bunch of new and fun varieties this winter to boost my succulent collection. They make for amazing little additions to boutonnieres and bouquets!