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Blackberry Root Cutting Strategy HALP

 
Graham Robertson
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I am trying to bootstrap an upcoming food forest/annual market garden/nursery by growing mass amounts of cuttings this spring.

I have about 200 blackberry root cuttings from thornless plants I pulled up around the house.

All the guides on propagation only mention planting them right in the ground, vertically, with the tops two inches below the surface.

Has anyone had experience growing blackberry root cuttings in containers, flats, etc? I have about thirty 2 gallon pots that I can see working, but I want something that takes less space, as I am also trying to warm them from the bottom to encourage early starts.

I am using this method of bottom heating

http://doorgarden.com/02/home-made-bottom-heat-seed-starting

and only have about 12 sq ft of space at the moment.

Thanks!
 
David Williams
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not being familiar with your situation, but would it be possible to put in a few supports and stack them like a few cinder blocks , an old door , and then another layer w/heatpad ?
i find also to encourage root growth , using chopped up sections of willow soaked in a bucket overnight (has a natural root promoting hormone) i haven't tried it with blackberries tho works with most things
if your only wanting to root them before planting , could you use perlite and stack them somewhat more tightly? using less room in pots to divide out later for planting? i may be way off base and have no experience cultivating blackberries (they grow like weeds here), though i have a green thumb and am usually successful on first attempts.... just throwing idea's your way, don't taser me if i'm wrong *hides*
 
Graham Robertson
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David Williams wrote:not being familiar with your situation, but would it be possible to put in a few supports and stack them like a few cinder blocks , an old door , and then another layer w/heatpad ?
i find also to encourage root growth , using chopped up sections of willow soaked in a bucket overnight (has a natural root promoting hormone) i haven't tried it with blackberries tho works with most things
if your only wanting to root them before planting , could you use perlite and stack them somewhat more tightly? using less room in pots to divide out later for planting? i may be way off base and have no experience cultivating blackberries (they grow like weeds here), though i have a green thumb and am usually successful on first attempts.... just throwing idea's your way, don't taser me if i'm wrong *hides*


I like those all those ideas.

I am trying to build shelves using the gridbeam building system, but it requires a table saw for ripping 2x's down to 1.5" x 1.5" sticks. So waiting on that, and also busy building a retaining wall.

I do agree that pretty much all cuttings would like a nice drink. I just have the weird synthetic hormones from the nursery.

Do you know if willow root contains the rooting hormone? They have it in stock near me.
http://www.naturalgrocers.com/shop/catalog/willow-bark-cut-1-lb

I am doing like you said with grapes, I just have them half buried in a pot of damp soil on a heating pad.

Blackberries prefer a dormancy period of about three weeks at 40 degrees after being cut, so if you then buried them in some moist, nutrient rich soil over a heating pad, I assume they would sprout shoots all over. I wonder if one could then divide each root, depending on the number of shoots, and plant them in seed starting flats.

I got my foot in the door with a local farmer's market for free and they will cover all my permits for nursery plants and market garden crops. I am attempting to carve a niche as a super local small scale (1/4 acre) grower of food, fiber, fuel, and medicinal plants. Once I have the gardens established, sometime next fall, I plan to start selling plants and produce. North Texas has great winter gardening weather. I had HUGE collards grow a year straight.

 
Ken Peavey
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Posts: 2523
Location: FL
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Doing the arithmetic, you have 200 plants you want to fit into a footprint of 12 sqft.
This says you need a plant about every 3x3 inches.
It's tight, but you can do it. I think you might set the pots aside, build a frame, fill with soil, set your cuttings in there.
There is not much room for the roots to grow. Separating them for planting will tear up the roots if not done with great care.
Other options:
-sacrifice some of the cuttings, keep the best, plant these with optimum space in the pots.
-add a shelf, add a root warmer, get more pots
 
David Williams
Posts: 133
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i'm not sure about those willow shreads as i have only ever done ones that are straight off the tree , cut a small thin branch into 3-6 inch sections,soak in a bucket overnight ,the typical rooting hormone will be fine , shelving means your not working with 3X3 for your root mass (thanks for the math ken , Daves a metric man *winks* ) and if your able could try "milk cartons" or similar to keep roots from tangling (under 3X3 and good recycling ) tho remember to put holes in them to keep watering equal and not to drown them... a good supplier of milk cartons are other nurseries , often they use them as tree guards on mass plantings and cheap (often misprinted at the printers) .... i come from a small town in a country area so all these are readily available ,not sure about your area , but answers are always around us , think outside the box and get creative, people will see it and often come to your aide...
 
Graham Robertson
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Thanks for the support!

Today I got my blackberry root cuttings out the fridge, soaked them in rooting hormone, then put them in a cardboard box filled with compost/perlite, and set it on a heated surface. Hopefully they will start sending out shoots and I can take them out one by one and plant them in bigger containers outside. Our last frost is usually a few weeks from now.

I am currently building a retaining wall in our side yard which will free up lots of space for composting, trellises, gardens, benches, etc. One goal is to set up a rainwater barrel which outlets into plastic tubing run through a compost bin, then run through a series of frames which can be filled with sand to set pots into for rooting purposes.

Will definitely look into the milk cartons thing.
 
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