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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Canceling Class Today

Historically, I do not cancel classes.  Today, is different.  I have held off until now, thinking I'll be better, but I have to accept, not only is the weather abominable, I am sick with a devastating cold that will not let go of me.

I am sorry for the inconvenience to you, we will need to find other days we can make up these three hours. 

Feel free to contact me with questions - you all have my email and my phone number.

Class will resume next Sunday as scheduled.  


Saturday, January 14, 2017

2017 Plant Propagation Checklist

    Checklist for Plant Propagation
    Name _________________
    Term __Winter 2017_____­_
This paper must be turned in the last day of class to receive course credit!

Sow small seeds (one six pack)

Sow medium seeds (one six pack)

Sow large seeds (one quart)

Pot on seedlings


Plant Type
Divide perennial 1

Divide perennial 2

    * Initial means instructor's initials


Plant Type (variety)
    1st rose

2nd rose

Fig tree ( 4 cuttings)

Grape (4 cuttings)

Pomegranate (4)

Root stock (8)

Leaf cutting

Grafting (three only)

Scion/Root stock
Chip Budding


Saddle graft

Cleft or Bark Graft

Whip Graft

Welcome to Plant Propagation 20217! (Syllabus)


Instructor: David King
Phone: 310.722.3656

There are no prerequisites for this course, although some knowledge of basic botany is extremely helpful. We meet on Sundays from January 11 through March 29 for 10 meetings, nine on Sunday and one Saturday field trip.

In our field trip we will attend the WLA chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers meeting on February 11th, from 10:00 to noon. This is the day of their annual ‘Scion Exchange’ and is not to be missed if you can help it. There is no other forum in Los Angeles that offers a better introduction to grafting!

All other meetings are on Sunday 1:30 to 4:30 PM to The Learning Garden, at the Venice High School campus. This site is close to the ocean and because we meet outside or in a poorly heated classroom, please dress appropriate to the weather, which is invariably colder than one would imagine. We will do what we can to mitigate the cold and rain, should it come, but the material of the class is best covered with live plant material in the garden – which, of course, is outside.

We will also be working with potting soils and cut plant material in almost every single class, gloves will probably be desired. Dress so that you can comfortably get dirty and still stay dry. Dressing in layers is probably the best idea when it comes to being outdoors at The Learning Garden.

Course Purpose

This course is an introduction to the principles and practice of plant propagation, both sexual and asexual, and the science and art of grafting and budding.

Course Objectives

  1. Understand the care and safe use of tools in plant propagation.
  2. Understand the biology of sexual and asexual propagation of plants.
  3. Understand and use the different styles of propagation of plants.
  4. Be able to create or craft and use a plant propagation system.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the above by propagating different species of plants.
  6. Understand the physiology of plants sufficiently to be able to successfully bud and graft a variety of plants.


The materials presented in this course will enable the student to start plants from seeds and cuttings, in an amateur or professional setting and graft woody plants with a working understanding of the scientific underpinnings of the process. While we are working mostly with food plants, these techniques cross easily to ornamental plants.

Text for this course

Plant Propagation A to Z – Bryant; Firefly Books, 2003 It is readily available online or in the appropriate UCLA Bookstore. There will be many additional handouts from the instructor. Reading assignments in this syllabus are from this book only. The Grafter's Handbook – Garner; Chelsea Green Publishing, 2013, is the current edition. It has been and still is the most authoritative book on propagation in or out of print. This book is a wonderful reference book for someone involved in grafting. Unlike the modern books that only show a few grafts, this one shows grafts for all kinds of plant work and as such, is essential for one who wishes to make this work a part of a skill set
All material for in class will be available online at Additionally, I invite all of you to join the group, Greener Gardens, on Facebook. Handouts are put there as well, and students use the group to contact one another – I also post other items of interest for you. I try to not have handouts in class to avoid wasting paper printing handouts you may not care to keep and I will occasionally link to internet site allowing the use of videos (especially of grafting) you may find helpful.

Class Meetings

To each class meeting, in addition to any note-taking tools you deem necessary (paper, camera, tape recorder etc), each student should bring propagation tools that will be described in our first class meeting; please don't purchase a lot of stuff until then. You will need pruners, a grafting knife, a regular pocket knife (or one knife with two blades for different purposes), a black, permanent Sharpie, a sharp pencil and a sturdy pair of gloves – leather preferred. If you are unsure of what to buy, buy NOTHING until after the first class meeting – we will not be using most of these items until later.


Your grade in this class is based on a checklist you will keep and two short exams. You need to be able to perform each of the tasks on the log with sufficient skill and understanding of the process in order to receive a passing grade in this course. The completed checklist must be turned in the last day of class unless other arrangements have been made beforehand with the instructor. I reserve the right to administer quizzes throughout the course to insure comprehension. They will count in your participation score.

Instructor’s Office Hours

Please avail yourself of my willingness to meet with you at any time to discuss your progress in the course or to clarify instructional material or to answer any difficulties you are having. My preference is to meet with you at my office at The Learning Garden where we can cover the material without distraction, but I am willing to meet with students anytime, anywhere to assist you in learning; after all, that is the point you're taking the class and my teaching it. It is my wish that all students learn and are profited by their enrollment in this course. Do not struggle; I am here to help.

At The Learning Garden:


Remember its location.
I’m very serious... So far only two students have had to have emergency medical treatment. I don't like adding to that number. It's hard enough to get students without killing them off.

A garden is filled with uneven surfaces, rocks, plants with thorns and other armaments and an infinity of possibilities for injury; most of the time in this course we will be using very sharp tools which deserve your utmost attention at all times, please give due attention and consideration of this. Remain on the pathways and do not walk into planted beds unless it is absolutely necessary. Do not pick anything without permission.

Food and drink are allowed, but the removal of any trash or waste is entirely incumbent on the eator and/or drinkor. I will hold you responsible.

We will probably have hot tea and coffee to mitigate the cool weather we anticipate needing to endure. Bring your own cup or mug and any eating utensils you feel you need. I drink it black – if you want sugar or cream, it's on you.

Appropriate clothing is essential. Remember, Venice can be hot and cold by turns. Layering is suggested; a jacket or sweater close at hand is essential. We will meet, regardless of weather. If it is a light rain/mist, we will continue work. If it is a gullywasher (as though we get those in Southern California), we will meet in the classroom and carry on.

Point Assignment

For Credit Students. It is more important to me that you learn the material above all other considerations. I will endeavor through point assignment, lecture and demonstration to teach you in a way that will facilitate learning the material. If you don’t understand, please allow me to help you.

Tools You Will Need

Each student shall provide:

Pair of pruners – secateur type, like Felco #2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12 or 13. No anvil pruners allowed EXCEPT for those students with hand pain or arthritis that must use the ratcheting type of pruners. Felcos can be bought on the internet (eBay) for much less than most local sources; I am also a Felco distributor and carry several models at a very competitive price. Coronas and other secateur pruners are OK, although if you have ever used Felcos, you can appreciate why I am so fond of them.

Pruning knife – only used for plants. It is suggested that everyone also has a second knife for all the other needs in a garden. If one does not plan on doing a great deal of propagation needing a sharp knife, an inexpensive knife with break-away blades available from many local stores may be used. Grafting knives and horticultural knives are also found for reasonable amounts on eBay and other internet connections; I also have a selection of inexpensive pruning knives from Swiss Army. No one should feel pressured to buy my items – I only have them because they can be hard to find locally and often all you can find are the really expensive Felcos which you don't need.

Pair of gloves – leather is preferred, some folks like to have more than one.

Sharpie – fine point, only black will not wash off

Pencil sharp, wooden (the Learning Garden does have a sharpener)

You will need to take notes, so paper is necessary – may I suggest you take notes in pencil because it won’t run if it gets wet and a pencil is a wonderful small dibber in a pinch.

The Garden (or instructor) will provide as needed:
Cactus mix and potting soil
Watering devices
Root stimulating gel
Other tools and supplies as needed
Oil, sharpening devices, cleaners and rags for pruner and knife maintenance
Alcohol wipes, Listerine and hand soap.
Plant material/seeds
First aid kit
Plant markers

If you forget your pruners or knife, I do have a few of each, and while I do have gloves, a pair that fits your hand is preferred (and a pair of gloves is somewhat personal too). I can sharpen your pruners and we will learn how in this course.

Lecture: Introduction – roll, Extension policy, meeting time and place, attendance and tardiness, tools etc. Tour Garden. Tool selection, care and safety. Sexual and asexual propagation defined. Introduction to the different arts of propagation. Botany as applied to propagation.
Demonstration: Cutting scions for the exchange
Practical: Harvesting scionwood
Lecture: Meristematic tissue and the principles of propagation by cuttings; Pages 92-113; soil mixes for propagation
Demonstration: Different kinds of cuttings
Practical: Making cuttings
Lecture: General Propagation Methods and Application; Pages 47-91; pests and diseases and methodology to deal.
Demonstration: Division of perennials
Practical: Dividing perennial plants
TEST: Primarily on Cuttings and Safety *
Lecture: Seeds, structure, germination and viability, collection, storage. Propagation, pages 47-74; seed starting problems and their solution.
Demonstration: Scarification/Seed sowing
Practical: Sowing seeds of different sizes
Field Trip to California Rare Fruit Growers
>>> NOT TO BE MISSED <<< your Valentine will forgive you....
Lecture: Grafting
Demonstration: Grafting
Practical: Practice Grafting
Lecture: Budding
Demonstration: Budding
Practical: Grafting
Lecture: Propagating ornamentals; Katarina Ericksen
Demonstration: Ornamental propagation
Practical: Propagating something unusual.
Lecture: California Native Propagation
Demonstration: Fire scarification of a California native
Practical: Transplanting seedlings
Lecture: Uses and Varieties of Grafting
Demonstration: Air Layering
Practical: Air Layering
TEST: Grafting Principles and Seeds
Lecture: Tool Care
Demonstrations: Sharpening knives and tools
Practical: Another graft
Lecture: Covering all things left uncovered.
Demonstration: As dictated by circumstances.
Practical: Work on your checklist. (Student evaluation of instructor/course…) FINISHING REQUIREMENTS FOR CREDIT STUDENTS

Our Class Meeting Locations

The Learning Garden

13000 Venice Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
310.722.3656 (my cell)
The Garden is located on the southeast corner of Walgrove Avenue and Venice Blvd. It is the first gate on Walgrove south of Venice – there is a small amount of parking inside the gate, there is no other secured parking, other than those few spaces, you are on the street and on your own. DO NOT PARK ON THE CAMPUS PROPER.

California Rare Fruit Growers, West Los Angeles Chapter

Scion Exchange meeting on February 11 10:00 AM, Veteran's Community Building, Overland Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232

Tool Suppliers: Search online at eBay and other buying services, but the following companies, in addition to myself, reliably have the tools you need and prices that are competitive.

A.M. Leonard (AKA The Gardeners Edge) They have everything and they make good house brands of knives and pruners. Frost Proof Garden Supply A good source for many common garden tools including pruners and grafting knives and associated supplies. Peaceful Valley Farm Supply Felco and Corona pruners, inexpensive Swiss Army grafting knives. A good choice.
Scoring For Grading in This Class

Class Participation
In class exams
Checklist (handed out in class)  

Grading is as follows:

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* Please note: ALL students take any test or quiz even the not-for-credit students, I want to gauge your learning/my effectiveness in teaching this material. The same is true of pop-quizzes when given.

Contents of this site, text and photography, are copyrighted 2009 through 2017 by David King - permission to use must be requested and given in writing.