This past weekend, our local Master Gardeners put on a clinic all about propagating plants and how best to grow tomatoes. For us, that's fun!
Propagation sounds like a big word, but I bet most of you have done something along the lines without even knowing it. If you've ever taken a fallen leaf off an African violet and put it in dirt and watched it grow into a brand new plant, that's propagation! It can be done in different ways for different plants and with different words; grafting, cuttings, layerings, plant division and others.
Yesterday we went over to my daughter's house and took 8 cuttings off her Meyer lemon tree and I'm hoping they take. She is going to be moving soon and the lemons off this tree are DIVINE!! And you know.... it only takes 5 years until the cuttings produce fruit of their own. We are willing to wait!
Growing some or all of the fruit and vegetables you want to eat after you retire is thrifty and healthy. Fresh fruit and vegetables are probably one of the most expensive parts of a grocery trip and it doesn't matter where you live, you can grow something. Whether its in a pot by the front door, your patio, actual raised beds in your backyard, mixed in among your flowers or even on your windowsill indoors, growing food or herbs will save you money. Additionally, you can duplicate house plants, succulents and many bedding flowers FOR FREE!
We decided last year that it was worth it to pay a small fee to have a space in our local Community Garden two blocks away. In California, you can literally grow year round if you choose what you grow by its hardiness. Right now we have shelling peas, garlic, beets, spinach, brussels sprouts, kale, cilantro, carrots, turnips, potatoes, radishes and scallions there. And that is on a space about 15 ft by 30 ft. We lovingly call it our little Produce Stand. We are passionate about eating healthy food and we know how our food is grown.
If you are looking for ways to reduce your spending on groceries, give vegetable and fruit gardening a try. Your local community extension offices probably have Master Gardeners and programs too that can help you with anything from pests, to soil testing to what to grow in your area. And most of what you will learn is completely free. I made a little VIDEO about our trip so you can see just how many people of all ages came to our propagation clinic.
Here are also some books if you are interested in getting started with propagating your own plants.