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Growing For Showing – gladioli and begonia

At ease – the worry is over. For the time being anyway. You might remember I was suffering from allium envy – but no more. My lovely shallots have all sprouted and do, I have to say, look a healthy shade of deep green.Begonia Tubers Phew – there’s still a long way to go but at least they are out of the starting blocks. And so are my begonias. I chose two varieties – Primadonna Yellow and Primadonna Red – for what looks like in the catalogue superb flowers and plenty of them. The tubers arrived and after a bit of background reading, I decided to plant them in seed trays of gritty, well drained compost.

The idea is that because the tubers had already started to sprout small shoots, they needed to be kept growing. The last thing I want is for them to dry out and die. So, into the trays so that the compost just covered the concave, uppermost surface of the tubers. And they are loving it! They currently sit where the washing machine, drier, boiler and fridge live – nicely sunny and never cold.

I hope they don’t mind the constant noise of white goods humming and whirring. The Primadonna Reds look stronger at the moment but the shoots on the yellows are developing. They won’t go outside until all the frosts have finished and will, before that, need to be planted up into larger pots. But again, they are off and on the road to the show bench. Fingers crossed.gladioli corm

I’ve also got myself some gladioli for that class in the flower section. Luck would have it I bumped into a champion gladioli grower on my travels and he told me that to get the best, ram rod straight gladdies its best to take the outer skin or tunics off the corms and then put the naked corms on a tray in a light, frost free yet cool position. So obviously I have! It was quite therapeutic gently undressing the gladdies in the shed, radio on and mug of tea to hand. I haven’t got many (30 in total) but hopefully there will be a winner in there somewhere. They are a long way to planting out yet ( my personal champion mentor ( !) reckons 100 days from planting to flowering) so it’s mid -May in the soil. Have to make sure the mice don’t have a nibble in the meantime.

Next up is tackling the soil for my carrots. I have to admit that I’m still undecided whether to simply sieve all the soil in the carrot bed and use that or import and mix some lovely concoction specially for the carrots. Sieving fills my back muscles with dread but buying in tonnes of growing material makes my wallet tremble with fear. I’ve got to make my mind up soon as it all needs doing…..ASAP.

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