Tuesday, January 4, 2011

First Tea Cuttings Arrive at the Tea Farm







Today I worked on the newly arrived tea cuttings with Juan and his friend Pablo. We took large cuttings and trimmed off excess leaves, dipped them in root starter, and planted them in small heated germination stations for easy control. If this works we will expand the operation (currently 250 cuttings) to 1,000 plants or so, move them into pots, and place them in the large green house once they take root.

I may postpone planting until the fall and keep all of them in the greenhouse; we'll see what happens over the next few months. Right now I am waiting for a break in the rain so that we can start work on the hillside where the tea plants will eventually go in. We need to compost and plant more winter cover crop. This tea farm is starting to happen and I am excited...

Photo descriptions, from top: A fresh batch of tea cuttings; trimmed cuttings ready to go into germination stations; a filled germination station.

2 comments:

Alex Zorach said...

Does tea grow easily from cuttings?

In the long-run, you may want to consider getting some diverse genetic stock and growing more plants from seed. Especially, given that you're growing tea in a new area outside the ideal growing conditions for the plant, if you grew successive generations from seed, they would begin to adapt to your local conditions.

You also might create some variation which could be a valuable innovation, you might stumble upon some particularly interesting or useful varietal.

But I think it's exciting that you are actually starting a tea farm, regardless of how you get the plants propagated!

nigel said...

Alex: It's reckoned that only one plant in 40,000 seed derived bushes is worth propagating by cuttings - that is why the tea industry has embraced VP - vegetative propagation- from elite selections (they take 15-20 years of selection evaluation before becoming certified cultivars).

Roy: cuttings are best made with just one leaf and one internode. Means there is much more room in your propagator for more cuttings. Rooting hormone is not necessary of teh right section of stem is utilised - just between red and green wood. Best to douse the young cuttings with Dithane 45 and keep them in saturated humidity/deep shade.

Good luck with rooting.

Nigel at Teacraft.