Right about now, gardeners all over the northern hemisphere are getting the itch to go outside and get dirty. I know I am. Once the frozen earth has thawed enough, it will be safe to start putting our potted plants outside for a few hours at a time. 

They and we will enjoy sitting on the stoop feeling the warm sun and air on our faces. But there are still two feet of snow on the ground, in some places. So, finding dirt can be a little difficult, much less playing in it.

HOW to START GARDENING in WINTER

Here, closer to the North Pole, most seeds don’t even think about germinating until at least March.  So how do we scratch that itch?

This is what I do. I start propagating plants that I have wintering over in the house. Plants just itching to multiply. Every year since I moved here to be with Darren, we’ve added plants to our gardening repertoire to include in this process.  To date, I have some perennial chrysanthemums, African violets, geraniums, petunias and various house plants.

At this point, I also start adding fresh herbs to my grocery list. I use what I need for recipes and then stick the rest in water to see what roots. This week its basil, next week, perhaps some thyme, until a whole kitchen garden evolves as the world warms up. 

I’ll give you a peek into what my “playing in the dirt” activities look like today.

HOW TO PROPAGATE AFRICAN VIOLETS from LEAVES

I always start with my violets. Throughout the year, they happily sit on our north-facing, kitchen window. A few years ago, Darren surprised me with one as a “just because”. I grew a second one from its stems. And so on, and so on, and so one… Hahaha

During a period of healthy growth, usually in summer and early autumn, African violets can get quite bushy. The pot can become overstuffed with leaves under all those pretty flowers. 

An Overgrown African Violet

I usually let them go through the holiday season until January. When the temperature outside plummets to -50, and the earth is in hibernation. I’m inspired to do the opposite. To bring things back to life and create new ones. It makes sense to give these little beauties some breathing room, doesn’t it?

An Overgrown African Violet

WHERE to CUT AFRICAN VIOLETS for PROPAGATING

Take the largest leaves from around the rim of the pot, pinching them off gently at the base of the leaf stalk…

Pinching Off African Violet Leaves

Take the largest leaves from around the rim of the pot, pinching them off gently at the base of the leaf stalk…

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE for PROPAGATED AFRICAN VIOLETS to TAKE ROOT

Place one leaf per pot. This will give new roots and leaves plenty of room to grow. Give it some water and all done! Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy!! 

Fully-Grown-African-Violet-after-Propagation

Place one leaf per pot. This will give new roots and leaves plenty of room to grow. Give it some water and all done! Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy!! 

The planted leaf will start sending out new roots and leaves in about 3-4 months depending on environmental temperatures.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE for PROPAGATED AFRICAN VIOLETS to FULLY MATURE

Inside of 6 months, they’ll have full and mature foliage…

Transplanted-African-Violet-Leaves

Inside of 6 months, they’ll have full and mature foliage…

WHEN DO PROPAGATED AFRICAN VIOLETS START to BLOOM

…and be ready for summer blooming.

Flowering Propagated-African-Violet

…and be ready for summer blooming.

Check out Re-Growing Spring Onions from Root Stock where I propagate some fresh spring onions for use in new spring-time recipes.

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Interacting with the Earth is one of our most primal instincts. In this age of  technology and industry, its critical that we nurture that instinct for our own health and well-being. The more you grow, the more YOU grow. 

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