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2014 Diary

Stephen Jones
THE BRITISH SOCIETY
CHAMPION   2013 & 2014
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October 

   17th The night temperatures have not fallen low as can be seen from my min /max thermometer hanging in the greenhouse Fig 1.also plants are really slowing down as each day I remove fallen leaves and stems . I gave these plants a small amount of water last weekend as the sun was strong and some plants appeared to be wilting as I read not to let the plants wilt. I did have one plant with mildew but sprayed him and so far had no more problems. I did notice the mildew was on a plant which was bright green and seemed to want to be growing and must have been short of water as the yellowing plants have no signs of mildew.  Fig 2 shows the heater set up just in case the temperature does drop as I have moved all my pot plants into this greenhouse so only having to heat the one house. The cuttings I took earlier in the year approx 40 look ok Fig 3 are in the propagator in the small greenhouse which I am watering quite a lot as the temperatures are high for October. Once again I did read from a previous Society Bulletin that you get a better sized tuber if you donít keep the cuttings short of water. Last winter I did keep that seasons cuttings very dry and the tubers were very small when I did finally harvest .We will see what happens this year although they are spring cuttings and not autumn taken so they have been growing for several months already this year.
   27th October. Still no frost but you can see how the plants have got a lot smaller Fig 4 from earlier in the month also you see I have fitted bubble insulation in the large greenhouse. I had a rummage in my shed found out enough insulation to near enough do the whole greenhouse as you can see I havenít gone right to the ridge but fitted the insulation on top of the wires I use to support my layer of light shading in the summer months Fig 5. This cuts down on the space I will need to heat if temperatures drop and the heater starts. In the past I had grown freesias in this large greenhouse during the winter but after stopping growing them had kept the insulation in bags in the dark of the shed .This had stopped the plastic breaking down as which has happened to the stuff which was left fitted inside the small greenhouse needing to be replaced this season. I have still got the magnetic door screen fitted which is still working well and I open the doors each dry day as with the plastic all around moisture would soon build and cause issues. I noticed dropping leaves with the temperature being so high I put a small amount of water on one plant and checked the next day and it had perked up so I gave all the limp looking plants a small amount they did look better the next day but as mentioned Iím being cautious with not over watering. At this time Iíve no plants that have finished and havenít harvested any tubers as with not taking any notes last year Iím not sure when their cycle will be completed and harvesting to commence. I was thinking about the growing season next year and have bought some more 10Ē pots hopefully will have enough large tubers for these extra pots then will have more choice with what to enter into competition in the unrestricted classes. Having received several new varieties this season which I grew in 7 ďrestricted as single stemmed plants they looked really good so if they do survive and throw up enough shoots should be of a suitable size for the unrestricted class. I did read with interest the Begonia section article by Alan Harris in the Garden News telling his 10 steps to safely get your tubers through to the spring. I will keep my tubers in the garage which is integral as the warnings of power cuts this winter would make it appear a bit risky to chance keeping them in the greenhouse with no electric heating. Several years ago when I first started growing large begonias I tried keeping the tubers in the greenhouse over winter but with the very cold weather during those years I lost all my tubers. So have learnt from this especially with the high cost of electricity plus I do not over winter any other plants any longer as I did twenty years ago prior to the price of plant plugs being available in the spring at reasonable costs.
  


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