December 17, 2012

Update: Cloning Tomato Plants

Remember my post on cloning tomato plants? Just take cuttings, root them in water, keep them alive over the winter, and replant in the spring. Ta da! No seeds needed. I might never have to buy nursery plants again.

I took cuttings from my Bradley tomato plants, and stuck them in a glass of water. After a period of time, which seemed to take much longer than I'd remembered, they developed roots that grew

and grew

and grew.

And the plants in my garden died, so it's a good thing I'd taken the cuttings early.

And then before the frost came I took cuttings from the Early Girl plants. I know, it's a hybrid. When you buy seedlings from a nursery, you're probably going to get hybrids unfortunately.

It took less time for these to form roots, more like what I expected.

In the past, when I've planted tomato seeds indoors early in the spring, I planted 2-3 seeds in each peat pot like the directions say. Then they say to keep the strongest plant and cut off the others. I hated to see that waste, and learned that if you stick those cuttings in water, they will form roots and you can replant them again.

I didn't manage to get cuttings of the Better Boy plants before the frost destroyed them. My windowsill was full anyway.

The Early Girl roots are so different from the Bradley roots. The Bradleys are long, long, long, and fragile. Not as many roots, just extremely long, vining around inside the jar. The Early Girls are bushy and sturdier, uncountable in number, and only as long as the inside of the jar. So far, they are doing well. I hope I can keep them alive all winter. So far, so good.


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