Plant Propagation References by MGV Ann Marie Ott
While the wait for warmer weather continues and a chance to get outdoors to prepare your outdoor garden spaces is delayed, you may want to visit the public library and select some books to increase your knowledge about plant propagation. Here’s a summary of two volumes that may prove helpful to you.
The Plant Propagator’s Bible written by Miranda Smith is a paperback book published by Rodale, Incorporated, long known for its interest in promoting organic gardening practices. The “Bible” is a complete and thorough reference which includes color, close-up photographs and highly accurate technical drawings to provide information about all types of propagation techniques. A great reference for both beginners and well-seasoned gardeners, the format includes a list of example plant varieties for each technique. In addition, the description of each technique includes a “boxed out” focus text that describes “What can go wrong” to help prevent problems or diagnose difficulties. The last section of the book contains a 30-plus page plant directory that describes plants in detail, the easiest and alternate plant propagation techniques and potential problems for each particular plant variety. Growing zone references are included and should be reviewed carefully because some plants referenced in the book are not hardy in our region’s assigned Zone 5.
For experienced and adventuresome gardeners, check out Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener; How to create unique vegetables and flowers, by Joseph Tychonievich. This young author studied horticulture, plant breeding and genetics at Michigan State University and has been a repeat guest on American Public Media’s food show, The Splendid Table and on garden writer Ken Druse’s radio podcast, Real Dirt. This book will provide insights into the steps you can take to create your own heirlooms, develop seeds that produce plants in your preferred colors or to propagate plants that are well-adapted to your home growing conditions. Because plant breeding can be a long term project, you may find yourself borrowing this book more than once. Although the cover of this book is very colorful, the book itself contains no pictures and only a few diagrams so it may not be a first choice for those who like visual references to guide support learning.
The books described above are just two examples of many on propagation that are available through the South Central Library System which serves 53 public libraries in south central Wisconsin, including those in Green County.