Itís surprising how quick things start to move once the tubers wake up & how space is used up. My propagator is just about full & I've started to pot up some of the basket varieties. When the first pot is a 5 litre you soon realise the room required to move things on. These large sized tubers will be used 1 per basket or a large pot, so we can see already they will need to be planted up in their baskets or final pot in about 4/5 weeks time. Having thought about producing a show basket Iíve already realised that they will need to be planted up fairly early. Most of my cutting basket varieties are started in a 1 litre pot which I had originally thought of using 5 pots per basket. By using 5 pots would give me a North, South, East, West & one in the middle an all over flowering basket. First headache the basket would need to be 2 foot diameter, much to big to transport. Even 4 x 1 litre pots in an 18 inch basket is very tight so we may have to go down to 3 in a 16 inch basket.

   As most realise most of my growing is aimed at the cut blooms classes. Anybody wishing to get into cut bloom exhibition must first ensure that they have the correct varieties & stock.

When I say stock you need to understand what you are growing over the years Iíve seen bad stock of Sweet Dreams, Powder Puff & Falstaff. I base much of the blooms I use on tried & tested varieties that have stood the test of time of these I may grow 6/8 of what I call my Bankers. The bankers for me are as follows Sweet Dreams, Powder Puff, Falstaff, Bali-Hi, Tigger, Tom Brownlee, Moira Callan, Burnout & Joyce Champion. So you can soon see that takes care of 60 odd blooms nearly half of what I start with for each show. Some varieties lend themselves to producing better blooms from early cuttings, Symestar is one that I canít get a bloom out of a tuber unless itís a very small cutting tuber, but I prefer growing from cuttings of this one it then becomes a banker. A few other growers are convinced that the cutting method produces less faults in the blooms. Another variety Tom Brownlee I struggle to get a good number of older tuber through the winter, again the cutting method works well & you can actually flower this on the second bud. Any variety that I intend to use for early cuttings are started in plain peat no fertiliser, I use Bord Mona medium course peat. I used to have a problems with early cuttings rotting but since changing to plain peat I have no problems, I felt that the fertiliser in a potting mix caused the cutting to be soft. Well I have already taken the first early cuttings & have them straight into a 1 litre square pot.now that we are drawing towards the end of Febuary my back up tubers for the National are now out of the garage onto the open bench, space is running out already.

    Any questions??? Ask through the new Members Face Book page & Iíll give you an answer, or Iím sure someone will hopefully looking forward to any discussion.


Phil Champion


January   March Late March