Week Seventeen – Cloning and Cloning

By May 2, 2016farm journal

1400 down, 5200 to go!

The 200-plug deep trays arrived Monday and we picked up soil and sand Tuesday and started cloning. We’re taking small cuttings and inoculating them by dipping them in willow tea before placing them in the trays. We managed to get seven trays done before the kids returned and monopolized the morning and evening hours.

Meanwhile, of the nearly ninety peppers we planted last week, all but three were dead two days later. We’re not sure why. Too small? Too hot during the day? Too cold at night? They just wilted almost immediately. It was so tragic. I’m glad at least that we only planted one bed. We’ll wait longer before putting anything else in the ground and we plan to get the remaining starts out into the tunnel as soon as it’s ready.

And speaking of the propagation-tunnel, it’s almost ready! We leveled a section of the garden to the far west where it will start getting some shade in the early afternoon and covered it with leftover weed cloth. We bent seven lengths of conduit into frames on Sunday and today I got the stakes in place and fitted the ribs over them. The whole area will be 24′ by 6′ (enough to fit the clones when they’re in small trays, along with our vegetable starts.) Next step is to affix the plastic!

Saturday William Colburn, Michael Reed, and I trucked down to Ladrón with Robert to see the land and look at possibilities for restoring it and growing on it. It was a gorgeous day with enormous storm clouds that rolled in as we walked. We looked at the plants growing and the evidence of stormwater patterns and absorbed as much as we could.

Hopefully by tomorrow we’ll be letting the alpacas into the lot to the north to graze. We need to finish putting up a couple small fences to protect their young cottonwoods. I cannot wait to watch them run out into that new green territory. They’re going to go bananas!