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Nursery Bed ideas

 
pollinator
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I am wanting to make an outside nursery bed to help start cuttings outside so they can grow through the fall and go dormant over winter.  
Nothing big, just 4x8 ft.

Does anyone have any recommendations as to depth of sand/compost/other, how to water (auto), shade cloth?
I am hoping to do this right this year since last year was marginally successful since all i did was stick stuff in the ground.

 
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pollinator
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Dennis, I'm wanting to do the same this year as I have young goji berry cuttings and some ornamental cuttings that have rooted but not ready to go to their permanent homes yet.  I'd also like to try some hardwood cuttings over the winter as well.  For the cuttings that have already rooted and are potted individually, I'm thinking about sinking the pots in an established bed for the winter and maybe mulching with a layer of shredded leaves.  Most of the "recipes" I've read for a good mix for cuttings usually mention sharp sand and peat, or something similar.  Will be following for recommendations as well.
 
Dennis Bangham
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Hi Michelle,  
I was thinking of using a bunch of the concrete blocks I have and putting this directly on the ground and having a wooden box top with white plastic cover.  I am a zone or zone and a half south of you so this may work for me.  
Not sure if misting is needed and would plain old sand be the recommended media?  I know Dr. Redhawk mentioned sand, compost and vemiculite mix for a misting bench for cuttings.  Is what is good for semi-hard also good for hardwood cuttings?
 
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I'm also a noob who's trying to up his rooted cutting game. I think the sand/compost/vermiculite mix would work well for both softwood and hardwood. It creates a medium that drains, doesn't hold air pockets but doesn't compact so it works for forming roots and for gently digging them out when the time comes. I'm planning to try half sand half compost.

As for misting spray - as far as I can tell, that might be needed for softwood/semi-harwood summertime cuttings, but I don't think it's needed for dormant cuttings. I'll watch this thread for replies from more experienced propagators.
 
Nick Neufeld
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A great resource that I've been tapping into is a channel on YouTube called Mike's BackyardNursery. He goes into all the detail anyone would need to run a nursery business. I believe he also wrote some books with detailed strategies for rooting cuttings of different species, because each one is different.
 
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The year I had success with cuttings I used potting soil and a opaque covering.
This was in buckets, covered with white garbage bags, and only included grape and mulberry.
Yesterday I took cuttings of mulberry and pear,  and stuck them in half barrels of composted woodchips.
I stripped each of all but one leaf,  and today I will cover them with opaque plastic.

I'm counting on a free house effect to create and maintain humidity.
I'm sure it risks fungal problems,  but the infrastructure of a larger misting system is not in the cards right now.

In my greenhouse I'm hoping to build bottom heat propagation stations in surplus laundry sinks.
Edible Acres has great videos on bottom heat propagation.
To scale up I would probably build an outdoor  wicking bed, give it bottom heat and cover it with plastic sheeting.
 
William Bronson
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This is located at my second property.
IMG_20200828_170546.jpg
Half barrel of mulch with pear cuttings
Half barrel of mulch with pear cuttings
IMG_20200828_170558.jpg
Cut the leaves off, left the bud
Cut the leaves off, left the bud
 
Dennis Bangham
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Here is my latest effort at building a nursery bed.  Lined the bottom with expanded shale since it is supposed to be a mole/vole block.
Of course the rest is sand and vermiculite.  Later in the year I will add some compost.
Will add a top and cover later.      
20200904_134459.jpg
Bottom covered with Shale
Bottom covered with Shale
20200904_155854.jpg
Sand and Vermiculite and packed down
Sand and Vermiculite and packed down
 
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Speaking of wicking beds, a friend of mine has been enjoying his.  

He has a very professional looking setup with an amazing SketchUp video describing its construction.

https://www.homegardenfarms.com/build-your-own-wicking-bed/

He sells the plans online, too, if folks are looking for more details.
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