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The Editor's Tutorial

.Dormancy

   Begonias should never be forced into dormancy.
The latter part of the season is important in that it is the period when the tuber can be given the chance to recoup it's resources.  Think of it as a battery, it needs to be rested fully charged. 
 
As the leaves yellow and fall watering is progressively reduced and finally ceased so that by the time only the stem remains the compost is almost, but not completely dry.
Once the stem has fallen tubers should be left in their pots for another two or three weeks to allow the skin to ripen. 

Falstaff

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Harvesting.
About two weeks after the stem has fallen the tuber can be removed from it's pot, this is known as harvesting.  Any remaining compost is teased away taking care not to tear the skin as roots will not form next year on the damaged area.

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Removing the scab.
At the base of where the stem joined the tuber a scab will have formed, this must be removed as if left unattended rot will form underneath and eat down into the tuber.  The scab can be prized off quite easily when ready.
The wound will dry naturally but the tuber should not be stored away until the wound has healed. 

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Hot water treatment
This is an end of season routine that I have always given my begonias.  It is a precaution against eelworm and many growers believe it also increases vigour in the plant the following year.
The dormant tubers are immersed in water at 115f. 46c. for 20 minutes and then plunged straight into cold water containing a fungicide for an hour. Since the withdrawal of Benlate  and Systhane I now use Bio Dythane 945.  Large cutting tubers receive only 10 minutes in the hot water, small cutting tubers are not treated. 

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Stored tubers
After the above treatment has been carried out and the tubers have dried  they are stored in almost, but not completely dry Irish moss peat.  If the peat clings to the tuber it is not dry enough.  My buckets of tubers go up into the loft, anywhere dry and frost free is okay but if the temperature is too high the tubers will start to pip prematurely.

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Regular inspection
The dormant tubers are inspected every two or three weeks.  Any signs of rot or mould can then be detected and dealt with at an early stage.  The wound is then allowed to dry before the tuber is placed back in the storage bucket.

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In the greenhouse
Meanwhile the greenhouse is given a thorough clean and the top layer of sharp sand in the heated sand-beds replaced.  By the beginning of February all will be ready for starting the small cutting tubers........and then off we go again - into a new campaign with dreams of massive blooms and best results ever ! 

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