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The Lonely Begonia Grower

Phil Champion's Diary
2011

INTRODUCTION.

 MARCH.
   My first batch of compost arrived mid Feb. 12 x 25kgs bags. (A) The compost made with Kettering loam, (B) is low in nutrients & will be used throughout, for the first potting. Will also be trialing this as a starting compost. My second batch of compost is John Innes No2, again made with kettering loam, to be used for all subsequent potting. Early March will see the larger tubers (C) for the south coast mini show & my second show. With only 30 tubers required for the south coast show, an additional 70 tubers will be added for the second show.
   Cutting tubers that have been kept back for the national & are placed in the house fridge (D) I don't have a greenhouse fridge & the wife doesn't know these are in there yet. They are due to go on the hot bench 1st. or 2nd. week of March. Main tubers for the National will be started at the end of the month Any pendulum or the small cutting tubers that are to slow, or not already potted (E) will be removed from the bench to make room for show plants. Although my sand bed measures 6 foot x 3 foot (2mtrs x 0.9mtrs) & have a hot box heat panel of the same size, space is hard to find at this time of year. The problem is having too much stock. I am trying to use mainly tubers of 2 year & older for show work. If you read into the writings of John Hamilton some of his tubers just fit into 10inch pots, another grower who I enjoy is Ian Donaldson his first pot is normally a 2ltr pot this tells me that older tubers are the way forward. This has proved to be my first obstacle of the year, too many cutting tubers, the heated bench is already full (F) & I don't have enough large trays for the older tubers.
   The earlier started plants are potted into their first pots, ensuring the root ball just fits the pot. I then water the plant & leave for as long as possible before another watering. No watering is carried out until the compost is nearly dry. The 1st. week of March will see the start of the cutting tubers (G) from the fridge started. The large tubers aimed at the National (H) will be towards the end of the month . Now I have a bigger problem I knew I had too many tubers even with throwing cutting material away last year, less than 2 weeks to go before my larger tubers for the National need to be started no room left on the heated bench. Now I will have to be ruthless & sort out stock by removing anything that is not required for showing off the heated bench. Will have to be even more selective on what cuttings to take this year, if I take any at all, little white lie, have already taken a few cuttings (I) at the end of January from the late cuttings grown through the winter. (waste nothing) Still looks like I will have a good show in the front garden after all with lots of named varieties to be planted out with the few seedlings I have (J).


A


B


C


D


E


F


G


H


I


J

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