As a gardener on the cheap I have found that I should really be prepared to leap at any offers of plants or cuttings. One of the guys in our team actually has a ready kit that he carries with him, he showed it me and we went through what was in it… And now I want to share this genius info with you!
What’s in the kit then?
- A small pocket “hook” knife – PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND THE LAW ON KNIVES IN YOUR AREA!
- Cleaning wipes for the knife blade
- A mix of different sizes of zip lock bags
- A couple of elastic bands
- A few pieces of twine or flexible garden wire
- A small amount of rooting hormone powder
- A small bag of compost (This needs to be replaced regularly)
- A small container of clean water (This needs to be replaced regularly)
- A couple of small plastic plant pots
- A few pieces of paper towel
- A couple of carrier bags (Make sure they don’t have holes in the bottom)
- A couple of black plastic ‘Bin bags’ for larger plants (You can reuse these if needed)
- A couple of brown paper bags
- A marker pen
With the above kit you can take any cutting or collect any discarded plants and keep them fresh until you can get home and take care of them properly.
Today, for example, I managed to get 5 cuttings of a very nice white Lavender and if not for the kit bag I would have simply wrapped it in a piece of wet paper towel and hoped it didn’t fall apart or dry out before I could get it home. But with the kit I got it cleanly cut, coated in hormone powder and into a pot with moist compost within 5 minutes while at work! Not bad, eh?
A couple of points before I go any further… Please, please, PLEASE do not take cuttings from plants unless you get permission before hand, it’s technically theft and you can get in trouble for it. Not only that but please take real care of the plant you are taking cuttings from. Keep your knife clean so it prevents contamination from other plants and make sure your cuts are clean and do no more damage than you need to. Oh… And don’t forget to thank the owner. You may well find that they may have another plant you want to take a cutting from later!
With seed collecting, place the seeds in either a paper towel or a paper bag, then place the bundle in a plastic bag to keep them safe until you get home. And don’t forget to make a note on the bag or however you are storing the seeds, with the plant name and the plant colour if the plant has a chance of multiple colours, Lupins and foxgloves for example. Don’t miss this one… If you forget and collect 2 types of seed and forget which is which… Well… I guess you will be playing ‘Guess the plant’ next spring!
One thing that we get at work that many won’t is actual plants that get tossed out. Sometimes when we are out and about we find plants that others don’t want or seem damaged or suffering in some manner. With basic knowledge of gardening and a little time and TLC a huge amount of these plants can be brought back from the brink and enjoyed by others. A quick note on doing this… It’s really advisable that you quarantine any plants that you get in this fashion. Some plants may have secondary issues that you may REALLY not want bringing into your garden! Take a little time at the start rather than suffer later.
The need for most of the items in the list are very much common sense, but many people won’t keep them to hand. These items will all fit in a small bag that you can leave in the boot of your car for weeks at a time. But when you need it, there it is!
So that’s it… The scrounging gardeners ready kit… It’s the new American Express(tm) card, folks!.. Never leave home without it!
*Sigh* Yeah… That was shameless and I probably should apologise. B-)