Pam and I like to stop and take a cutting from plants which attract our attention, assuming it is legal and permitted. In order to do this, we needed a kit of some sort which included all the supplies and equipment that we would possibly require. This kit is helpful because we never know when we may find something of interest in our travels. Everyone who is interested in plants and growing them should have such a kit. This field kit is nothing as elaborate as the professional botanist kits, but it is adequate for our use.
In order to be ready for any sort of situation we first obtained a carrier for all our tools and equipment. Fortunately, school is just starting and backpacks can be found at various prices. I picked up an inexpensive one at Walmart for $12.00. The container used to house the supplies had to be light enough that we could carry it with us if we left the car. However, it still had to be Large enough to store all our supplies. The backpack served these requirements well and there is plenty of room for expansion. Additionally, it did not break our pocketbook. It is lightweight and you hardly know it was being carried.
Within the backpack we included a roll of paper towels, a box of Ziploc plastic bags, several pruning shears and a small bottle of water. Among our tools we also included a black marker so that we could write down any vital information on the baggie concerning the cutting we took.
On the outside of the backpack we glued a tape measure onto it so we had the ability to take measurement in the event we needed to. In our kit we included a small trowel just in case we encountered any plantlets or suckers from the main plant. A sharp knife and a pair of scissors were also included. I have added a hand lens which may prove useful at some point in time. I used one during my Master Gardening Classes.
A plant guide book provides a means by which the plants which you find can be identified. No one knows all the plants that are found within a specific area so a little help in this area is usually appreciated. I also like to keep a plant leaf book handy as an additional aid to identifying the family of a plant I am looking at. These books prove invaluable in the field. Guide books which offer a glossary of botanical terms in the back can be especially useful.
I have included some small plastic containers from the Dollar Tree which could hold seeds or other small finds. Tweezers are useful to have in the kit as well along with some plastic gloves. I have included some small collector bags and a paint brush to collect pollen from flowers for hybridization at home.
A journal and writing instruments are essential tools for your cutting kit as it allows you to record notes and observations in your plant travels. Some of the observations you may wish to take note of include the weather data during your cutting adventure, the general habitat, along with the date and time of day. A small digital camera will come in extremely handy for photographing the plants.
We often overlook the hazards which can take place in the wild as we are searching for plant cuttings. It is important that we be prepared for those unexpected bites, sunburn and wet feet. Here is an additional list of personal items you may wish to carry with you.
Bug and tick spray
Snacks and water
First aid kit – Dollar Tree size. Used for small cuts, and scratches, nothing major.
Trowel, and trash bag
Sunscreen, and hat
Comfortable clothing and shoes
Small flashlight or headlamp
Compass or other navigation tools
Cell phone and/or radio
You are now on your way to enjoying the job of an amateur botanist.