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CULTURAL DIARY   2018
John Hamilton
National Begonia Society Cut Bloom Champion  2008   2002
British Begonia Champion  2012  2009  2008  2004
SBS Pot Plant Champion 2012

May

May has finally seen some movement on the begonia front, and most of the plants are now in their final pots, I have 45 picked out to grow as pots and all are now finally starting to grow, amazing how some sunny weather helps get things moving.  Those plants that did not produce shoots where I required them have been stripped down and will be grown for cut flowers.

I have around 500 plants in the greenhouse which will be gradually thinned down to allow plants sufficient room to grow.  The extra plants will be grown on in the cold frame to produce tubers for next year.

Plants are now at the stage to start foliar feeding with Maxicrop which takes place every night with a Sunday reserved for Maxicrop  Xfol which has feeding as well as a growth stimulant.  Plants have now also been given a feed of 1 3 1 fertiliser to encourage the root growth that will help to produce flowers later in the year.  In addition, after seeing signs of greenfly I have been reminded that it is time to spray for it using Aphox. In the following weeks plants will be given preventative sprays for mildew and mite. 

It is now time to start shaping pot plants and one of the main tasks for next month will be putting canes in the plants and trying to make sure all the shoots are growing in the required direction.  This will then be an ongoing procedure.

Cuttings are looking well under the mist and first 200 have been potted on to make way for new arrivals with side shoots from the single stem plants being removed when they are 3 to 4 inches long. The method of removal is simple a cut above and below the bottom eye and a simple push. These are rooted in plain peat as I have found that using compost with fertiliser added often causes them to rot. Around 4 to 6 in a three-inch square pot. I have found that allowing these shoots to develop does not detract from flower size and homes can always be found for extra stock.

  The greenhouse which last month looked fairly empty is now reaching the point where it is full to overflowing and whilst this is a good problem to have it does increase the time that has to be spent on them and a 5 o’clock start is now the order of the day.  Watering can be done quickly with a cane and a cup the one I use came from my Mentor Dan Ramage who came up with lots of handy ideas and this was one of his best.  It is easy to judge just how much water each plant receives and if this correctly done begonia growing becomes much simpler. I use two  barrels that are filled using the hose, which hold 80 gallons and in warm weather they have to be filled every third day. 

The pot plants are now growing well and the current sunny weather conditions are conducive to a high nitrogen feed and this will be given using a 50/50 mix of mono ammonium phosphate and calcium nitrate at a teaspoon per gallon.  The foliage is now starting to turn the blue green colour that indicates the plants are liking the growing conditions.
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Greenhouse view


Plastic cup

              
Taking cuttings

              
Taking cuttings

              
Putting in pot

              
Cuttings pot filled in mist

              
Ready to stake              

              
Greenhouse filling up

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British Begonia Champion  12 Cut Blooms   2012

      
Scottish Championship 9 Pots    2012

John's Open Days
2016          2014          2013

   

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