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Begonias - My Hobby
An Occasional Page by Dave Staines
 PLANTING


A


B


C


D

A: A 15 compartment modular insert for a standard size seed tray. I prefer to break them apart into individual compartments before filling with compost as if the whole complete insert is joined when it is required to remove the plants for planting out they tend to fold and twist with subsequent damage being caused to the young plants. A couple of things to note at this point. The edges of the single compartments are sharp so don't cut your fingers!!  Also; check that all of the holes in each compartment are fully punched out, as some retain the plug that should have been removed in manufacture.
B: The separated inserts in a standard seed tray and filled with my own "Kekkila" Peat compost mix.
C: A hole is made in the compost with my fingers that is large enough to accommodate the root ball of the seedling. Here you will see the roots of the seedling and the various leaf stages.
The small leaf at the base that faces you is one of the pair of the initial seed leaves. The one on the left is the first true leaf, almost always smooth. The leaf on the right is the second true leaf with hairs on the stem and upper and lower surfaces. The central leaf is the third true leaf and the main stem of the plant will become evident as further leaves are formed by the plant as it grows.
D:
A filled tray with the label of the cross inserted. The tray will be immersed in another tray filled with warm water and Cheshunt Compound is added as per the instructions on the container. This tray is then removed when moisture is noted on the surface of the compost and then allowed to drain before being placed on the staging in the unheated main body of the greenhouse.


E


F


G


H

E: The trays of seedlings on the staging in the greenhouse. Plenty of ventilation is given and a close watch will be kept on them to correct any possible problems should any arise. The next move for the seedlings will be at the beginning of June when they will be placed outdoors for hardening off before eventually being planted in the seedling beds. At this time a close watch is kept on the local weather forecast and should frost be imminent they will be covered with horticultural fleece or returned to the greenhouse depending on the severity forecast.
F:
Before I begin to start my adult tubers off for the season I prefer to wait until I see the new seasons growth pips. This tells me the tuber is ready to begin it's growth cycle and I should have no problems with it starting up. I start the majority of my adult tubers in pots but in some cases I will start them in half trays if I feel it is warranted.
G:
This tuber has been started in a half tray as it was fairly large but rather thin. To have started this tuber in a pot large enough to accommodate it's length would have necessitated a great deal of compost in the base of the pot before sufficient roots had formed to use the available fertilizer. This may have become "sour" before the roots had penetrated the compost with the subsequent problems associated with compost toxicity.
H:
The same tuber with six growths showing. I have since placed this tuber in a pot and removed the largest growth as a 3" cutting.


I


J


K


L

I: This is one of the cutting tubers previously started off in trays when the seed was sown and placed in the propagator. The roots are evident and the plant will be potted up into a pot that allows a 2" gap around the sides. Not all of the tubers in the tray would be ready for potting up so once those that are ready are removed fresh compost is added to fill the spaces created and then the tray is replaced on the heated wires.
J:
A tuber started off in a pot with a couple of shoots just beginning to show through the compost.
K:
Proof that roots form on the top as well as the sides and base of the tuber. Although the shoot is hardly through the compost the pink tipped roots are noticeably out foraging. These, and any subsequently noticed surface roots, are just covered with compost although the shoot is not.
L:
A few pots with plants in various stages of growth. Eventually many of these plants will be potted on into bigger pots and cuttings taken where applicable. Many will also be moved to the other smaller greenhouses or the Chrysanth cage as they are not the large flowered double tuberous types that I will be exclusively growing for show in this greenhouse in 2008.

BEGONIAS MY HOBBY  by  DAVE STAINES
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INTRODUCTION          PREPARATIONS          SEED SOWING          PROPAGATING
CONSOLIDATING          SHOWTIME          AUTUMN          HYBRIDIZATION          ...and Finally

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