Thursday, May 30, 2013

How to get FREE Plants from your Garden

I can hardly wait until summer and my garden looks like this! Right now though, things are in the growing phase. As I weed, I'm also looking for free plants.

FREE plants? you ask. That's right. Free plants. Right in your own garden! There's several ways to get these free plants. I'm going to tell you about two (both methods will be referring to perennials).

First, be on the lookout for newly sprouted seedlings near your existing perennials.

See the small seedlings of Lemon Balm at the base of the larger plant. These can all be dug up and  replanted where you want them to grow. You can also re-pot them and grow them until they are bigger. That leaves you time to decide just where you want to put them. You can also give some away to friends if you'd like.

Same thing with this seedling of Catmint. You'll just dig him up and relocate him. I know, it sounds TOO easy, right? It IS easy! There are a couple of things I will caution you about though.
  1. DON'T go digging up plants on a HOT day! You can throw a plant into shock quickly by doing this. I like to dig plants in the evening when it's starting to cool down. The plant will have all night to recover. If you can't dig in the evening, then at least dig early in the morning, when it's still cool.
  2. DON'T forget to water! As soon as the plant has it's new home, make sure to water. Completely soaking the ground around the plant.
  3. DON'T forget to provide shade! Even though it's a plant that's been in the sun, by moving it, you're disturbing it's root system. So, provide the poor little thing a bit of shade during the hot part of the day. A board, a bucket, a large rock, some shade cloth. Just something that will cast a shadow over the plant during the hot of the day. 
I took a few photos that I hope will help.

Here's a couple of small Lysimachia (Golden Jenny).

Using a trowel, dig up, getting as much of the root as possible.

Dig a hole big enough to accommodate the root ball of the small plant you are moving.

Plant the seedling in it's new home. Water in well. I also like to mix up a 1/2 strength solution of water-soluble fertilizer to water in with. Gives the plant a little boost.

Our second method of obtaining FREE plants from your garden is to divide your perennials.

Same basic concept. Just hack (that's a technical term) into the center of the plant and divide into sections. Some plants may need a larger shovel or even a knife  to get through the root system. You'll know when you encounter this....ornamental grasses come to mind! Now just move the sections to their new homes and water in well. Continue to water until the plant gets established. It's just THAT easy!

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