The fifth item needed to start a plant propagation business is the actual misting beds to root your cuttings in.
I touched on the rooting media you need for the misting beds in part 4 and will explain how to construct a misting bed and a few tips when building one that will greatly aid in rooting your cuttings.
Misting bed locations and dimensions
Misting beds are usually built on the ground. Flats can be set on benches to bring the cuttings up to a comfortable level, but one thing to keep in mind when constructing a raised misting bed is the fact that the rooting media will dry out quicker because there is more area exposed to wind.
A good size for a ground based misting bed is 4′ wide by whatever length you decide. Typical beds are 10′ long, but can be made 20′ long if desired. The only limiting factor is the number of misting nozzles that you will be able to use per zone. Look for my article on determining how many misting nozzles can be used per zone that is based on your water pressure and flow. The 4′ width is determined because you will have to get on your knees and bend over the edge of the bed to work with the cuttings. You can access half the beds width from one side and the other half by the opposite side. If using rooting flats, 2′ is the furthest you want to reach and lift a flat from.
Construct a box out of 2×6 lumber that is 4′ wide by whatever length you have decided on. Set this box on the ground in a flat area that drains well. Read this article on how to move water away from your misting bed if your soil drains poorly. Mark out the area around the box and remove all the grass by either spraying it with roundup to kill it or by cutting through the sod and removing it. NOTE: If you decide on the roundup, you MUST wait at least 3 days for the grass to die before you build your misting bed on it. For added insurance, place 3 layers of newspaper on top of the grass before you fill the bed with the rooting media. If choosing the cut and move method, place the sod upside down to help kill the grass. These pieces are great for starting raised beds!
Once the area is free of weeds and grass, place the box on the ground, install drainage if necessary, and fill it with sand or peat/perlite. Before actually using the rooting media, be sure to water your bed thoroughly to be sure it is moist and drains well.