HOME PAGE    THE SOCIETY    SHOWS    MEMBERS GALLERY    DIARIES    MAP  
 CULTURAL     REGISTER OF VARIETIES     POTS & BLOOMS     UPDATES     LINKS 

.

Begonias - My Hobby
An Occasional Page by Dave Staines
 SEED SOWING


A


B


C


D


E

A: Sorting out the larger lumps and twigs from the "Clover" Multipurpose Compost I am using as my seed sowing medium. Taking out the larger lumps and twigs etc; makes it easier to part the seedlings roots when pricking out, as does the addition of plenty of horticultural sand. The small solid plastic tray came courtesy of a Chinese takeaway and I made holes for drainage.
B: The tray is filled right to the top and firmed and the seed packet is chosen ready for sowing.
C: Having made my choice a label of the cross is written ready for insertion into the tray.
D:
A very small amount of Silver sand to just cover the base is placed in a small whiskey glass. Do not use too much sand as it will become encrusted on the surface and the germinating seedlings will not be able to break through to the light. I use a glass as a plastic container will create static electricity when shaken and some of the seeds will adhere to the sides and not flow out with the sand.
E:
The desired amount of seed is tipped into the glass which is then given a circular motion shaking to mix the seed with the sand. I am careful not to lose any out of the top when shaking the glass.


F


G


H


I


J

F: With the label inserted into the tray the glass is held about 2 inches above the compost with the lip angled upwards.
G:
With a left to right forward movement shake the sand/seed mixture out onto the compost.
H:
Having reached the end of the tray turn it sideways and repeat.
I:
Continue sowing and turning the tray until all of the seed has been sown.  Remember to keep the lip of the glass angled upwards because if you tip the last bit out you will cause the last few seeds to cluster on the compost.Be sure to clean out the glass before using it for your next sowing with a different cross. Once sown the tray is immersed in warm water containing Cheshunt Compound mixed as per the instructions on the container. Remove when moisture is just visible on the surface and allow to drain before placing in a heated propagator.
J:
This is my self made heated propagator.  The heating is thermostatically controlled heated wire sunk into washed sand.  It is set to heat between 65F to 70F and is under an open heated bench with a light above that is controlled to give the seeds 16 hours a day light.


K


L


M


N


O

K: Once all of the seed trays have been placed in the propagator any spare space is filled with pots and trays of cutting tubers to give them an early start and filling the propagator helps to retain the heat.
L:
Keep a close eye on the trays and after about 10 days extremely small seedlings will begin to appear in various trays. Once they are noticed I place the tray on the open heated bench above the propagator.
M:
The open heated bench above the propagator. Heated by under soil wire set to heat between 60F to 65F. The air temperature is maintained around 45F to 50F by a Parwin Heater. A twin strip "Grolux" tube fitting is again set to give 16 hours of light to the growing seedlings and the greenhouse glass is covered with bubble plastic to conserve heat.
N:
Various trays of germinated seedlings and cutting tubers on the open heated bench.
O: Trays of seedling on the open bench in various stages of growth.


P


Q


R


S


T

P: Seedlings with one true leaf ready for pricking out.
Q:
A different tray of seedlings that should have been pricked out sooner. I use a small plastic stick to make a hole in the new compost and the tweezers to raise and transport the seedling to it's new home.
R: The roots are fragile and care should be taken when teasing them apart from their neighbours and also when transplanting them.
S:
Holding the seedling with the tweezers whilst transporting them.
T: Seedlings pricked out into standard sized seed trays. The two trays on the left have been filled with "Clover" Multipurpose Compost with the two on the right being filled with my own "Kekkila" Peat compost mix. These trays have been placed on the open heated bench and their next move will be into single modular insert pots containing 15 per tray.  All necessary subsequent watering of the trays is done by immersion in warm water with Cheshunt Compound added as per the instructions on the container. Keep a close watch on the seedlings at all times to be able to correct any problems that may arise from transplanting them.  Should you feel that after about 4 weeks the seedlings are "standing still" then a weak feed of Calcium Nitrate will be of benefit to the young plants.

BEGONIAS MY HOBBY  by  DAVE STAINES
TITLE PAGE

  INTRODUCTION          PREPARATIONS          PLANTING          PROPAGATING
CONSOLIDATING          SHOWTIME          AUTUMN          HYBRIDIZATION          ...and Finally

TOP OF PAGE