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CULTURAL DIARY   2018
John Hamilton
National Begonia Society Cut Bloom Champion  2008   2002
British Begonia Champion  2012  2009  2008  2004
SBS Pot Plant Champion 2012

March

 

One word can describe March COLD, the weather has not been ideal for growing and this year has seen a slow start. We were lucky to escape the worst of the snow but for a four day period the warmest it got was -6c in the middle of the day and although no plants were frosted a yellowing of the leaves has shown that they were not happy.   Despite this I now have around half the plants potted up.  With the weather again turning cold towards the end of the month a rethink on the heating had to be made.  Newly potted begonias and cold wet compost are a recipe for rot.  I have again used Clover potting compost having been unable to mix my own due to the fact the soil I use was frozen solid.

 

Unfortunately, the oil heating system needed repair and all the propagators were full up, so another heated bench was the order of the day.  Hopefully this will not only solve the immediate problem but also increase the heated area I use for the cuttings later in the season.  There is not a lot to do once plants are in their pots other than be patient and wait for them to grow, but this does give you some time for preparation and a bit of forward planning saves time for me in April when things start to get a bit more hectic.  The ingredients for final potting can be purchased and preparations made for when I can move the plants onto the open bench.

 

I prefer to mix my own compost for the later potting and this consists of the standard John Innes No. 2 mix with the addition of 6oz of nutrimate per bushel (8 gallons).  The nutrimate helps the plants take up the fertiliser in the compost and reduces the need to feed the plants.  The soil is dug out the garden and broken down using a mantis tiller, gone are the days of riddling it.  The peat used is a coarse grade sphagnum moss and this helps to provide an open compost that begonias thrive in. 

A few of the larger tubers are now showing signs of producing shoots facing the correct way and it will soon be time to remove the remainder for use as cutting material, these early cuttings if treated correctly can also be flowered later in the year if some of the varieties are in short supply.  They will also produce much better tubers than stem cuttings taken later in the season

 


New Propogator


Plants still to be potted


Some plants showing signs of cold

                             
Pot plants starting now to grow

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British Begonia Champion  12 Cut Blooms   2012

      
Scottish Championship 9 Pots    2012

John's Open Days
2016          2014          2013

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