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The Editor's Tutorial

.First Potting

    Once the new season's growth is well under way with green leaves and, more importantly, a strongly developing root system it is time to get these roots into a stronger compost.  This will coincide with the plants coming out of the propagator or heated sand-bed and onto the open staging. 
   The starting medium has been a loosely packed mixture of Scotts Levington F1 and Irish moss peat, now we are moving on into Levington M3 which will be compacted more firmly to encourage sturdy growth.

Nichola Coates

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Begonias that have been started in trays (not my preferred method - see picture 3) should be potted on before the roots start to entwine.
This is a tray of cutting tubers (last year's cuttings) and the most advanced ones are now ready to be transplanted into pots.
Note some have two stems, the smaller of which will be taken off as cuttings.

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A vigorous root system is really important, it is the foundation of a good plant.
Ensure that the compost is not dry and that the roots are not damaged as they are eased out of the tray, choose a pot that will comfortably contain the root-ball whilst allowing room for growth.

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 Many growers prefer to start their tubers in trays as in the first picture, but for reasons explained elsewhere I like to start them individually in pots or half-pots.  If, like myself, you have started in pots do not wait until the roots have become pot-bound. Note the root growth is vigorous but the top growth compact - just right in my book !

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Do not over-pot, a correct example would be from 3" 8cm. diameter to 5"12cm. The policy being to move the plants on as the goodness in the compost is beginning to become exhausted and the roots reach the sides of the pot.
Now that the plants are out of the propagator or heated sand-bed and onto the open staging a minimum temperature of  45f. 8c has to be maintained, double bubble insulation will help to keep fuel bills down. 

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Greenhouse insulated with double-bubble.
Ventilate on warm days.
Water sparingly.
Minimum temperature 45f. 8c.
Occasional morning spray, warm days only.   Check shading.

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