|Part of the mist system in its first incarnation, held up with duct tape, naturally.|
Anyway, we're back and I no longer need the mist system as it was (though some of the plants in there would probably still appreciate it). I decided to redesign the mist system to work as a propagation mister.
The fog emitters fit on the ends of the 1/4" plastic tubing standard to most drip systems. Technically, I should have used an adapter, as the fog emitters have threaded ends. We have them, but that would have involved a tiny bit more cutting and attaching and I've already said I'm lazy. They fit well enough straight into the tubing.
This is the hose-end assembly, including the timer. Below the timer is a filter, which we need with our iron-heavy water. Below that is a metal adapter we had to use between the filter and the pressure regulator below that, because of course they had different threading. Can't make things too easy, can we?
For the vacation set-up, I had the assembly hooked up to the end of the green hose and set up on the bench, but now that it's taking on a more permanent role, I added a Y to the faucet to allow use of the hose while the mister does its thing.
Of course, as I write this and look at the photos I took, I'm realizing they really aren't detailed enough. But assembling everything really just involves a sharp pair of scissors or a knife to cut the tubing, and then you just shove the connectors into the tubing. There are "T" connectors that allow you to add branches to the line, or emitters. For the foggers, I simply cut the tubing where I wanted to place an emitter, added a "T," cut a short piece of tubing to connect to the that, and put the emitter on the other end of the short piece. It's so simple, even I can figure it out!
The start of the new propagation area. I used duct tape to hold the hose up again. I'm just classy that way. Since these foggers produce a somewhat narrow spray, I added these two oriented horizontally at the back to give a little more coverage.
The tubing fit perfectly into this channel in the wall of the greenhouse, so I ran the tubing up along that just to make things look a little tidier.
The "finished" system, at least until I start tweaking it. There are five emitters in total. Supposedly, each emitter covers an area 2 feet in diameter, but I found the cone to be narrower than that at the distance from the emitter to the bench below. If I could put the emitters and the bench further away from each other, perhaps it would work better.
And that's really it. I am considering setting up a removable curtain enclosure for extra humidity on those hot days when I need to keep the greenhouse door open. Something involving either strong clips or magnets glued to the aluminum greenhouse frame.
The final step, and this is really the most important one, is to immediately fill your propagation area with cuttings. I started with Salvia officinalis 'Berggarten'. I like to remove all but two or three mature leaves. In addition to reducing transpiration from the stem, this improves air flow when the cuttings are put in a pot together and reduces the risk of disease.
Usually I prefer to use perlite for rooting, but I had a good-quality soilless potting mix on hand that should work well enough. My preference for perlite is that the more open material allows better drainage and decreases the risk of rot. I use a liquid rooting hormone you should be able to find at any well-stocked garden center. I found mine at Portland Nursery on Division. The liquid hormone works better than the powder form that's more widely available. You can also adjust the solution for the type of cutting, weaker for plants that root easily and stronger for plants that are difficult to root. You can use a wooden chopstick or skewer to make holes for the cuttings in your medium, or not. It is useful if you have soft stems and an abrasive medium, but the salvia stems were pretty sturdy so I quickly abandoned the skewer and simply stuck the cuttings in the soil.
Be careful of putting too many cuttings in one pot. Pack them too tightly and you'll restrict airflow, increasing the risk of mold developing in the center and wiping out most, if not all, of your cuttings.
A little fast-forward magic and the new propagation area is almost full! In addition to the 'Berggarten' sage, I took cuttings from Salvia officinalis 'Purpurascens', Santolina chamaecyparissus 'Lemon Queen', Geranium harveyi, a cultivar of Lavandula stoechas the label of which I've embarrassingly misplaced, and three selections of Zauschneria: 'Wayne's Silver', 'Catalina', and 'OC Hybrid'. There are a few more plants slated for the chopping block. I'm hoping to have these ready for planting in October.
Which reminds me, here's the latest on that big area I'm preparing to plant in Fall. My dad helped me expand the area a bit to encompass the Cotinus 'Grace'. After all, why mow around that one little bed when you can just eliminate the need altogether? If you don't remember what it looked like before, here's the original post. I also removed the sickly ginkgo. It pained me to cut it down, but if a tree is still struggling after almost 10 years, it's obviously not in the right location. Hopefully the Arctostaphylos glauca I've picked out to plant nearby will be better able to handle the extremely dry clay soil. All the cuttings I've got in the photo above are destined for this area.
|This area is now too wide for me to take a normal photo of it. It made me try out the panorama feature on my phone camera! It's a little hard to see the line because the grass has become almost as brown as the soil.|