Plant Tickling

Did You Hear About The Gardener Who Went Crazy?
He Was Hearing Voices In His Shed!!

A friend told me that she knew someone who was having trouble with his spinach plants and said he had read and followed an article on line about tickling the plants roots before planting.

I thought I had heard it all but was determined to find out if such a thing was a good practice or even advisable.  Most plants are sensitive to transplanting and it will slow their growth for a short while, some plants are even worse, like the cucumber, it is very sensitive to transplanting.  Therefore I would not recommend Tickling or otherwise messing with the roots at all.  One should always make the planting hole deep and wide enough to accommodate the plant entirely and refrain from pushing down on the roots.  Some plants if root bound should be gently opened at the bottom to allow for downward root growth.  This often is referred to as teasing or tickling but as a rule Tickling of plants has nothing to do with its roots.  It is the practise of stroking or bending (gently) the stem of a plant.  It is called Thigmomorphogenesis,

Easy for you to say!  Plants are sensitive to the touch of wind and rain and respond to this by slowing growth rate and developing shorter stronger stem.  This is why a gentle breeze on seedlings is recommended for healthy strong development.  Touching or tickling a cucumber plant tendril on one side will cause the plant to bend and grow in that direction.   

Another great day at the Market with lovely sunshine and plenty of vendors and shoppers.  Again it was quite chilly in the morning and I did hear reports of some people losing a few plants to frost.  One interesting question of the many I was asked was about the propagation of Lilacs from cuttings.  This can be done and is not too difficult and this is the time of year to do it.  Take cutting of new growth from a favourite lilac bush and remove all but the top few leaves.   

Sprinkle Rooting Hormone over the lower parts of the cutting and plant in sterile soil.  Keep moist and in about a month or two roots should develop where the nodes of the leaves you removed were.  Do several at a time to ensure some success.  An easier way to propagate Lilacs is by cutting out the suckers at the base of the plant and either planting them in pot or directly planting the root in the ground.  This works much better than taking cuttings.  Both these procedures should be done in the early morning when it is cooler and the plant is richest in moisture. Place both cuttings and suckers in water to keep them hydrated until you plant them.

I will be bringing some Perennials to the market nest week as they should be planted before our days get too hot.  Well I guess I better get out to the greenhouse now and Tickle some plants!

Happy Gardening!  See you at the Market!

Samantha Nason
BS Ranch & Greenhouses
250 547 6567 • samanthanason@hotmail.com

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