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: 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
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
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: 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
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
INTRODUCTION PREPARATIONS SEED SOWING