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2014 Diary

Stephen Jones
THE BRITISH SOCIETY
CHAMPION   2013

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April

   29th March and the sun came out so I had a day in the garden and with not a lot of shading left on the greenhouse roof I made the decision to replace. Several years ago I had a cedar wood greenhouse and used a mixture of emulsion paint and water to shade but recently have been purchasing the shading that has to be replaced each year and can be removed with a cloth when dry. These four sachets seems to me to be very expensive so I have gone for the emulsion paint about 10 parts water to 1 part paint.Fig 1 shows the large greenhouse painted.  I have painted on the southern side of all three greenhouses and will paint on the northern side of the roof section later in the year when the sun is higher.  As you can see from Fig 2 I have fitted the fleece over the vents and for extra protection from the sun a fleece laid the greenhouse length. A couple of years ago I laid green shade netting were the fleece is but this made the inside dark so last year I fitted the green shading on the outside which seemed to keep the heat out and the plants appeared more stocky. I held this down with string not too tight which allowed the auto roof vents to open unhindered; I think this shading is what rubbed the cool glass shading off.
   About 50 plants have shoots just coming through the compost Fig 3 and have been taken out of the propagator. One thing about having the heater on for the begonias the tomato plants are doing well.   Fig 4 shows all the re-potted maples which I will keep in the greenhouse another couple of weeks to settle before putting them outside and letting the broad beans and peas have a bit more space. I havenít grown beans and peas in a greenhouse prior to this season so weíll see what develops and hopefully if they do will have cropped before I need the space. Iíve laid out saucers Fig 5 ready for the plants as I water into these when plants are more mature but as plants do not appreciate standing in it make sure you empty out water after a short time. Early in the season I water over the top of plants adding some miracle grow as this contains more nitrogen than phostrogen which I use later in the season. This over the top watering I do in the morning before the sun gets too strong which if too strong could damage the leaves which you want to keep looking good.
   9th April. The sun is rising higher in the sky so I am going to paint the north side of my green house roof as I noticed today it directly on my plants on the North side which I thought would be shaded for another few weeks. Quite a few of my cutting tubers have not started yet although a lot of them have come up and growing ok with half a dozen of my cutting tubers rotting as I had not removed the old stems as with my large tubers as mentioned before and lesson learnt. I have potted on a couple of the cutting tubers as they had roots all around their 3Ē pots and I find it best to keep them growing into fresh compost. Fig 6 shows the mature tubers going on nicely. Fig 7 shows a mixture of plant sizes all I think looking ok.
   15th April the plants look ok Fig 7 and needed to move all my stock into the 20ft greenhouse as the temperature was getting too hot in the 8 x 6. I do not leave the doors open as the tortoise is in his summer quarters and prefers the heat .Some plants are ready to be potted on Fig 8 using an empty pot to shape the compost Fig 9 in the larger pot making it simple just to pop the plant in Fig 10 without damaging the roots Fig 11 job done this task completed using my 4 2 1 mixture as mentioned in the March Diary. Fig 12 shows all the plants that were in Fig 7 which have expanded in size with re-potting and take up the middle of the 20ft greenhouse. There was a frost this morning with ice on the car so good job I set the heater up in large greenhouse which is set at 5įc. The max min thermometer said 5 deg min so the stat is working about right.
  26th April Iíve been away for 10 days in Holland and some pictures of Keukenhof gardens wonderful tulip displays Fig 13 to 15. The gardens have more than 7 million tulips, daffodils and hyacinth over about 32 hectares. A good visit with great weather and can be recommended. My neighbour Malcolm has been doing a grand job looking after everything so I have some re-potting to catch up with and checking which plants I will use for single stem or multi stem plants. Fig 16 shows the growth made in the time I have been away.  


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