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2014 Diary

Stephen Jones
THE BRITISH SOCIETY
CHAMPION   2013

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FEBRUARY

   Early in the month I removed the last of the autumn cuttings from the propagator and these tubers were mainly thumb nail size Fig1. These small tubers after harvesting I kept in pots of the cutting compost from which I had just removed them from, this to stop them drying out too much in storage. I did not add any more water as the compost was damp enough.
20th Feb
   I’ve made a start and treated all tubers with a warm water solution with not more than 10% bleach added Fig 2. I did use rubber gloves while carrying out this job.
   Plenty of cutting tubers Fig 3 shown in propagator which is set at 20°c good job as the brown rot for some reason has taken more of my mature tubers.
I used Sinclair’s compost to start my cutting tubers Fig 4.
   My mature tubers which I have left are placed face down on the heated bench Fig 5 when these pip I will first pot them up into pots just bigger than the tubers themselves using Sinclair’s until roots fill the pots and then pot on again when required this time using Sinclair’s, John Innes no 2 and grit.
I cleaned all my pots with the armillatox and left them to dry Fig 6.
   I needed to remove the fleece from the roof vents as it has broken down with the sun light and would not be effective for another year. It was effective stopping flying insects gaining entry if I had fitted it over the side louver vent it would have worked even better. I will cover all possible insect entry points this year when I reattach new fleece later this month.
   Before the end of this month I will give the large greenhouse a clean out Fig 10 and let the sulphur candle off hopefully to remove any lurking bugs Fig 7. As I mentioned previously I had some caterpillar damage so some of these may still be around and need removal.
   My wife and I attended the National Begonia Society AGM on Saturday 22nd Feb at Manning Hall Druids Heath on the outskirts of Birmingham. Everything ran smoothly with the election of officers and the raffle was held but my number was not draw out of the hat with approx 34 prizes of Begonia tubers to be won. I must say they did look good tubers which members had donated as prizes.
   Whilst meeting up with other members I did purchase four new tubers from Terry Carr who does grow some really good plants and also swapped one of my tubers with one from John Winfield.
   On arrival home I promptly put all five new acquisitions in the propagator the small tubers planted in pots and the larger faced down on the heated bench.
   A picture taken earlier this year is my spring taken cutting tubers, Fig 8, which shows how they vary in shape and size.
   Fig 9 shows propagator with thermostat turned up and covered with tubers inside hopefully going to start into growth.
   I had a phone call on the Sunday after the AGM where I had spoken to Peter Sourbutts the current Southport 20 pot Champion and Vice Chairman of the NBS regarding my mature Tuber losses. He very kindly said he would be able to replace a good number of my lost tubers, this I thought was a very kind and thoughtful gesture and very much appreciated. As Peter said that is part of being a member of the Society where help and advice is always at hand.
  


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