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The Secretary's Diary   2005
Through the Season with Alan Harris  (NBS Secretary 2002 - 2013)
July - December

1st. December
These
are all that are left now of the adult tubers, the rest having lost their tops.

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The tubers are shaken out of the pots after a week or two and left in the trays to dry.  To do this I set the soil warming cables to 65 degrees and leave the tubers for about two weeks.
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After the tubers have been on the heated cables for about two weeks, the scabs are removed and the tubers are put in trays under the bench for storage.  They are in a single layer with the labels held on with a rubber band.  It is easy to check them just by looking over the tray every couple of weeks to make sure no rotting is evident.
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The cuttings are starting to go yellow and watering has now stopped.  The canes and ties are removed at this stage and the plants are left to die back naturally.  The tubers are left in the pots until the spring and are only removed when they are started up in February.  If the small tubers are removed from the pots they tend to shrivel.

22nd. October
What a topsy turvy year.
This is a picture of my basket of "Roy Mackey" taken on the 17th October.  Some years the baskets are down by now, but I think this one still hanging on my pergola lost it's calendar.

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This is my shade house (yes, I still have lots of plants in the shade house) on the 17th October as well.  I leave the plants in here as long as I can because they go down all the better for being cooler.  I have just about stopped watering now and just do them if they wilt.  Notice the hanging baskets in the roof, funny how these are nearly down whilst the other one is still flowering.
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 These early cuttings are now well on the way to dying down.  When the tops yellow, as these are, I stop all watering and remove the stakes to let the tops fall away.

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I still have a few plants outside.  These were ones which had the dreaded mite and so I will leave them until the tops are frosted and then bring them in.  I hope the mites don't have overcoats.

28th. July
The hanging baskets have done particularly well this year, even with the hot weather.  I suspect they will be past their best by show time, but I like them where they are.

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This is a view of the greenhouse showing how large the plants now are.  Note the spacing between plants to stop them becoming leggy.  It's always better to grow a few less and give them the space.  These are all intended for the National Show and so will now be looking for buds of the right size to start the timing.  Any idea what the weather is going to do?

The cuttings at this time of the year are rooted in the cold frame which is in the shade all day.  I find that it is much too hot in the greenhouse and the rooting is very slow, whereas they go well in the frame.

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I have had a lot of calls and e-mails with this leaf problem this year.
It appears to only affect the mature leaves and only the odd one.  The greenhouses are all shaded and so I can only think it is caused by the high temperatures, I am sure it's not a pest or disease so we have to live with it. Hopefully you don't have the problem, but if you do you are not alone.

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April, May, June
January, February & March

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OTHER PAGES BY ALAN HARRIS
The Secretary's Diary

Cut-blooms
The Secretary's page on growing for exhibition.

The Secretary's Page

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