Growing new plants helps young readers discover the answers to perennial questions regarding how plants grow and what a plant requires to survive. Call-outs through the text prompt attentive reading and questioning skills as he asks questions about flowers and their seasons, plants reproducing, and asking others to look carefully at the photos and illustrations.
The book rightly emphasizes practicality through the use of everyday language such as “growing” and “taking chances.” It is a good read for anyone who appreciates a lively, well-written children’s book with a unique, quirky style.
There are two approaches to growing new plants that Matt Ward has taken in his writing. The first, and more traditional way, is to use sterile seeds or cuttings from perennials or annuals. The second is decidedly more popular with young gardeners.
They use cutting from the stems of perennial plants. This method not only saves seed money, but it can also be more productive with less care and less investment. Many parents-to-be wonders what sort of plant species would work best for them when they are pregnant.
They want to start growing new plants right away because they do not want their precious baby to suffer from the rigors of germinating. In this regard, many people turn to familiar species such as lilies or tulips because they are easy to germinate with.
However, most people have trouble knowing which flowers and plants would be best to start growing new plants for their nursery. Ward’s work helps readers choose the right flowers, to begin with. One of the techniques Matt Ward uses to come up with the right flowers and plants for growing new plants is to look for seeds that have already been propagated.
He divides growing new plants into two categories: producing seeds that can be started from seeds and producing seeds that need to be propagated directly from another plant. For example, when a plant is desired for its foliage only, a propagator will look for a flower that will grow in that light and environment.
If a gardener wants to start fresh from scratch with a clover he will look for clovers that grow in the same climate. By creating new plants by selective cutting and growing young cuttings, Ward creates a controlled environment that encourages the growth of desirable flowers and roots.
He makes careful selections to ensure each cut is the correct one for the climate and environment in which he wants the plant to thrive. For instance, if the gardener desires to create new plants from cuttings he will look for young cuttings that are in the bud stage between the parent plant and its pseudobulb, or underground stem.
Ward will carefully remove the portion of the stem furthest from the base. After this is removed, he will expose the bulb of the pseudobulb so that it will produce new shoots that will grow from the bulb. The process of making new plants from seeds involves a process of sowing, preparing, and then carefully gathering the seeds.
It takes several days from the day the seeds are removed from the tree before they can sprout and create new plants. Many gardeners prefer softwood cuttings because they are easier to collect. Softwood cuttings can also be used to start a family of plants, such as an orchid family that is popular for its beauty.
When making softwood cuttings from a tree, the gardener will have to do more than just remove the main stem and take the roots. He will need to remove the bark, take off the main leaf and any foliage that is attached to the root system for a green farm.
This leaves the smaller branches and twigs that can be used to make the necessary root cuttings. A fourteen-inch-long piece of root cuttings will do for a three-stem plant, but some cuttings can be longer, up to twenty-eight inches long. Cutting one inch longer each time will give continuous produce.
After the cutting is done and the roots are in place, the gardener will have to start the growing season. Three to four weeks before planting, the roots should be filled with well-rotted compost and then topped with a starter soil mix designed for the new plants to begin growing.
Four to six weeks prior to planting, the gardener should ready his or her garden by removing all existing leaves and stems from the plants and making sure there are no overhanging limbs.