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2014 Diary

Stephen Jones
THE BRITISH SOCIETY
CHAMPION   2013 & 2014
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November 

   As mentioned in my October Diary I was looking forward to our area meeting but unfortunately it had to be cancelled as there was a report of a fire at the venue. I hope you did see the message on the web site advising this cancellation if you were thinking of coming along for the first time. The National Begonia Society AGM will be on January 10th. at the new venue unfortunately I will not be able to attend, hopefully Iíll have more luck with the Draw this year. The Central section meeting and tuber auction will be later in the year at this time I do not know where this will take place.
   There is less and less of the plants each day making plenty of material for the compost heap which the resident worms appear to enjoy as Iíve never seen so many as this year. I have got a couple of the plastic compost bins which are a bit awkward to empty which Iíve done over the years a couple of times spreading the really good compost over the garden borders which soon brings the local Robin round with his keen eye sight to enjoy his pickings also giving me a tuneful song. Bob Bryce phoned and commented on my October Diary and gave his procedure for drying his tubers although he uses loam and I a mixture of loam and multipurpose which tends to be more forgiving if over watered. Taking on board his comments and looked inside some of my pots to make sure the roots were not too wet as the compost on the surface may look dry and could be hiding all sorts of problems causing roots to rot if indeed wet inside. Trying about fifteen pots I found only one pot to be too wet and was surprised to find two vine weevils in one pot which I must have missed treating with the provado. Having removed most of the compost from these tubers will leave them to dry out before cleaning the tubers completely with a soft brush before storing in the trays Fig 1 leaving all the other tubers Fig 2 to die down in their own time. I have since removed the compost from several more pots and will let them dry off and the skins firm up prior to cleaning with the old worn down 1 ďpaint brush which seems to work well on a few trial plants. Having fitted all the bubble insulation in the large greenhouse the temperature has not dropped, never mind itís better to be safe as mentioned I had already had it stored so no costs involved just an hour to attach. The cuttings are still growing steadily in the propagator which is in the small greenhouse and none of these have shown any signs of dying down. The weather has been so warm I would think the heating elements havenít been on that much so energy costs should be down this autumn season.
   20th. Cleaned off about twenty tubers with the old paint brush then attached labels with elastic bands Fig 3 then moving them from greenhouse into the garage. Thatís a benefit of having electric lighting in the greenhouse you can have an hour down the greenhouse when you get home from work as I still work full time and tend to go fishing most weekends. Fig 4 shows the tubers which I have removed from their compost and drying off prior to cleaning and labelling. Fig 5 shows the remaining plants not yet died off enough to clean off the compost from around their tubers, I would think another week should be long enough and I can then clean these off.
   22nd. I cleaned the majority of my tubers today which took me five hours and I didnít even have a cup of tea it wasnít a bad day with the sun coming out for a short time. The older tubers are getting quite large so only six went into each tray Fig 6. Last winter I stored the tubers in flower pots I thought using these trays would give better air circulation whilst in storage also keep them apart from each other. I noticed the weather going to turn cold so I got stuck in and put all the cleaned off tubers into trays and stored them in the garage Fig 7 the remainder I moved them into the small greenhouse swapping the heater from the large greenhouse leaving it empty of begonias for the winter.
   30th. The cold weather was only two frosts Monday and Tuesday and back to mild nights .I am waiting for about fifteen plants to die down and that will be all tubers harvested with just my cutting tubers in the propagator.


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