The National Begonia Society
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2014 Diary

Stephen Jones
THE BRITISH SOCIETY
CHAMPION   2013

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March

   Well Peter Sourbutts certainly did me proud and sent as promised some fantastic tubers, hope I can produces some blooms to compete later in the year at Shrewsbury.
   All the tubers from Peter had pipped so I was able to put them straight into the propagator in suitable sized pots as I feel when potting on there is little root disturbance compared to starting off grouped in trays. I did speak to Peter and he told me he had kept these tubers in a warm room to get them moving unlike mine which had been in the cold garage.
   I have spoken to several people about what I grow and they cannot believe the size achieved by the plants in my greenhouse and on display at the shows. Many purchase their tubers at garden centres and of course these are very good stock and produce good flowers but are not the named varieties grown by myself and many in the National Begonia Society. The garden centre tubers will not give the large flower results required for showing or large plants for your own greenhouse display .Whereas the named varieties when in full flower would stun your visiting friends and neighbours. Begonias certainly brighten up the greenhouse and make a change from growing tomatoes although I do grow a couple of tomato plants in my small greenhouse along with some chilli plants.
3rd. March
   I have turned the greenhouse thermostat up to 10deg and the propagator to 20 deg to get the tubers started. To date I have seen a couple of small shoots just showing out of the compost.
Fig 1 shows my maple trees in their wooden trays prior to being re-potted using ericaceous compost and course grit. Maple trees like to have a shallow root run which these trays give them and the time to re-pot them is just as their buds start to swell. They will be in these trays for another couple of years after which time their trunks will have thickened and then I should be able put them into their final bonsai display pots.
10th. March
   Jane and I have had this week off and spent most of the week treating the fence and sheds, itís been several years since was last done and did look a bit neglected. The weather was warm and dry that week so we were able to complete the task using about 11 gallon of treatment. Last autumn I constructed a couple of stands for my Bonsai and gave these a coat and I think itís improved their appearance. Fig 2&3
20th. March
Fig 4 shows about twenty pots with shoots just starting to come through the compost and I have taken these plants out of the propagator as room is a bit tight in there as you can see by Fig 5. The majority of my other potted tubers are still in the propagator and they seem to be taking a long time to come through with half a dozen other pots on the bench sitting on a small propagator with the cover removed. Some pots in the propagator I have been tempted to turn a couple out to see whatís going on and they have made some root so I will need to be patient. So far getting my tubers into their first pots I have used two 75 Litre bags of multipurpose compost and when I transfer them into bigger pots I will add JI number 2 and grit. The mixing ratio same as last year of 4 parts Multipurpose 2 part J and 1 part grit. I have found grit gives the pots a bit of weight making them stable as I think they may become top heavy if I used perlite or vermiculite plus grits cheaper.
22nd. March
This weekend whilst the large greenhouse is empty I will fit the fleece over the roof and side vents.  
  


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