Friday, November 9, 2012

echinacea propagation

the 2012 growing season may be over, but there's still work to be done. today i finished planting the echinacea rootings from our lone plant, with intentions to spread echinacea throughout the garden for years to come.

not only are the plants so pretty, echinacea roots can be used herbally for immune support. to prevent nasty winter illnesses, i like to take echinacea pills and drink echinacea tea daily. it only makes sense to try and harvest my own, organic and gmo-free.

the two smallest rootings weren't expected to survive, but after sitting on the kitchen counter in a bowl of water a few weeks, they put forth some healthy-looking leaves. in a flower pot they went where they will be babied all winter by our south-facing window. the stronger rootings were planted in the ground and in some outdoor pots sometime mid-october. more on that later; please excuse me as i now reminisce on how it all began.=)

three years ago and just a very novice gardener, i somehow managed to start two echinacea plants from seed under a grow light. no flowers were produced the first season - just plenty of leaves grown closely to the soil. that fall i kept one plant indoors and planted the other in the ground.

in 2011, several flowers blossomed from the outdoor plant. there were at least six plants clustered together in one delicious clump. i loved watching those plants grow, in awe of what came from the single echinacea that grew so measly the previous year, thinking how i'd almost given up on them!

the echinacea that stayed indoors produced only one bloom, though it was a beautiful one - one you may remember i liked to often photograph. unfortunately that plant died before it saw another season - i should have planted her in the ground with the other.

this past summer, the outdoor echinacea showed up in all its four to five feet of coneflower glory. my photos just don't do them justice. i want these all over my garden!

online gardeners say that echinacea plants benefit from a splitting every few years. this means the plants can be divided at the roots and then replanted elsewhere - no need to start the process all over from seed, saving a whole year of growing time and energy.

so a few weeks ago i uprooted the plant and began splitting. unfortunately, i can't tell you how to do it because i'm not even sure i did it right myself. in fact, it felt like i was harming the plant, ripping the outer plants away at the root. but the mother plant seems healthy back in the ground, and she's even putting out new growth, in spite of near-freezing nighttime temperatures.

we'll just have to wait for the spring to see if the rootings took. i planted so many all over the garden that i lost track of them. some are in pots, but most are in the ground. they were covered in straw because it felt like the right thing to do. fortunately they like water, i read, because hurricane sandy came to south jersey just a few weeks later and nearly washed them all out.

hurricane sandy update:

my family and i were so thankfully spared sandy's wrath, despite being at the heart of the storm on the radar. what a strange feeling to watch a hurricane projection headed straight for your area! we had all our provisions ready after stocking up for hurricane irene, so all i could do was keep the faith and pray. we're so grateful the storm didn't hit us hard. our power stayed on and the only damage done was to our amaranth and cosmos, which were on their way out anyway.

my thoughts and prayers are with those whose world was changed by the storm. lives were lost, and i'm reading horror stories of the prison-like fema tent cities the homeless victims are being placed in. each day i give thanks for my family and my warm home. we can't take our blessings for granted, seeing how easily they can be taken away. if anything good can come from such a tragedy, it's a change in perspective - to slowing down and appreciating what we have right now.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful!! I can see why you want them all over your yard.
    SO glad you and family are safe. Trust me I can feel for you, living in a hurricane state since Andrew--went through that hurricane right after we moved down! Welcome to sunny Florida! SO I know exactly what you must have gone through. Glad to see you posting! Missed yah.
    Peace and Raw Health,


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