Agriculture is a great industry to enter especially here in Zimbabwe. Barriers to entry have lowered due to more activity in the space plus several support structures in place. The use of the US dollar as legal tender has also created a semblance of economic stability. This means it is now relatively easier to save up and start a business in agriculture. The number of service providers in the space has resulted in prices becoming a bit more reasonable due to competition. In this article, I want to explore one way that makes crop cultivation relatively cheaper. I am referring to crop cultivation using cuttings; thus I shall be discussing crops one can propagate for free from cuttings.

A Note On The ‘Free’ Aspect

It is quite possible to find free cuttings that can use for your crop propagation needs. However, in some cases, it might not necessarily be for free. Fortunately, in the majority of cases, the cost might be very small – almost negligible. Thus the use of the term ‘free’ connotes those two broad possible scenarios.

Why Cuttings?

The main reason for using cuttings is to reduce turnaround time. Just imagine how long it would take to start from the seeds – that takes longer. In some cases, access to seeds can be a tall order which then necessitates the use of cuttings, where possible. Some deliberately use cuttings to reproduce crops that wield certain desirable traits. It is easy to do so because you would have spotted such traits on crops that are already at an advanced stage of growth. Needless to mention though is the fact that the use of cuttings is relatively cheaper. Purchasing seeds and other routine processes underwent from seed sowing entail costs.

Herbs And Flowers

In general, most herbs can be propagated from cuttings. Examples of herb plants are mint, rosemary, garlic, thyme, ginger, and basil. The same goes for flowers which can mostly be grown from cuttings. Some of the examples of flowers that can be grown cuttings are lavender and hydrangeas.

Fruit Crops

There are quite many fruit crops that can be grown from cuttings. For example, berries such as mulberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries can be propagated from cuttings. Avocados can be grown from cuttings and so can grapes.

Vegetable Crops

Some of the key examples that come to mind here are tomatoes and peppers. Under vegetable crops, I can also mention tuber vegetables such as potatoes. Potatoes are essentially tubers i.e. the edible part is the underground tubers. Those tubers can also be termed rhizomes. Cuttings taken from the tubers can be used to propagate potatoes. In fact, it is the most common propagation method for potatoes. Other vegetables that can be propagated from cuttings are lettuce, pumpkins, celery, cucumbers, cabbage, eggplants, and green onions, amongst several others.

Sweet Potatoes

I had to mention these on their own because how they are propagated differs from potatoes in general. If you cut some of the stems (along with their leaves) of sweet potatoes currently growing you can use them to propagate other sweet potatoes. In fact, you do not even need to use any special technique in cutting them. You can simply cut them off with your bare hands and plant them elsewhere. It is quite common for someone to ask for sweet potato cuttings even from a stranger and get them for free. Now that people are becoming more aware they know that spells out ‘money’ and they end up charging you (though it is usually very affordable).

Some Pointers On Cuttings

As much as using cuttings can be cheaper but you must exercise caution in how you do your things. There are things to bear in mind when extracting or caring for your cuttings. I did mention how sweet potatoes might not necessarily need special attention but that is not the case for most cuttings.

If you can provide the equivalent of a greenhouse setting for your cuttings that greatly helps them to take root well. Typically your cuttings should be an average of 15 centimetres – can be slightly shorter or longer depending on the crop in question. Make sure the cuttings are extracted the tip that is presently undergoing growth. Not just that only though; also make it is immediately below a node.

You are usually advised to get rid of any leaves on the lower end of the cuttings. Where you will place the cuttings for them to root is called the rooting medium. Just like you pay close attention to nursery bed the same should be so for the rooting medium. It should be equipped with rich soil that has good drainage and retains moisture appropriately. That is basically it about some of the cash crops you can propagate for free from cuttings.