I would like to start this insight into a year in my greenhouse by
thanking the website editor for extending me the invitation to
contribute to the web site.
I have been growing begonias since 1979 and have been lucky enough to
have met some of the leading growers in the UK over this time. Most of
my growing method has been based on helpful advice given to me, and
hopefully I can share some handy hints and tips over the following
This year I am going to concentrate mainly on growing pot plants, which
I will have to admit has been my preferred method of cultivation. I
have never grown single stem plants so part of this year’s growing will
be a learning experience.
The year began for me on boxing day when the cutting tubers were put
into the propagator, many of these are quite small and as such would not
survive an extended period out of the pots. I store my tubers in the
house as the cost of heating a 60 feet greenhouse has become
prohibitive. Early in the year I use two 80 feet heating cables and two
20 feet heating cables. I have found with careful planning I can start
all my begonias using these. Additional heat will have to be provided
in March but more about that later.
The next task after removing the cutting tubers from their pots is to
plant them. This year I have re-used the compost from the pots they were
growing in. This will have very little nutrient so the cutting tubers
are given a liquid feed with a balanced fertiliser to get them started.
This is mixed with Rovral to prevent tuber losses due to botrytis. Once
tubers have pipped up they will be boxed up into new compost.
After the cuttings are in the next task is to identify the tubers to be
used for multi stem plants, it is a bit like Christmas again unwrapping
the tubers from the kitchen roll they were stored in.
Winter storage has been kind with only two losses so far and once the
tubers have been inspected and selected, those tubers to be grown are
moved to a warmer room to allow them to pip up. This gives me a two or
three-week period to get the propagating house ready to start them up.
It does look as if I will have plenty of stock this year but homes can
always be found for excess plants later in the year, and I have heard
that a certain Dodgy character from the North West is getting a bigger
greenhouse and an extended list.