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Growing for Showing – Begonia and Tomatoes

Sorry for the delay in updating you (read my last update here) – but it has gone crazy! The weather hasn’t been great for cricket but my goodness, it’s been good for growing. My four raised beds are almost chock-a-block with fast developing crops – all with an eye on entering my local village show on the first Saturday in September. Hope they aren’t too fast.
Tomato Flowers
Ideally I would grow hundreds of each crop to give myself a good choice, but with limited space each and every plant has to work hard. My carrots, after sporadic germination are now up, up and away ( or hopefully down, down and away!) – Sweet Candle are looking particularly strong with 100% germination. I’ve also treated all of the plots with a biological control to reduce carrot fly and other pests.

The potatoes have grown bonkers – the rain and relative warmish temperatures are perfect for growth. It never fails to amaze me that from a small hen egg sized seed you get enormous plants – and all grown in a  medium sized plastic poly bag filled with compost. I’m dreading the blight warnings though.

It does however need to warm up – the cucumbers are sulking and need it warmer. I did plan to grow them in a greenhouse but somehow I didn’t manage to get the greenhouse ( don’t talk to me about finances!!) so they will have to get on with it. The tomatoes are looking good, grown in terracotta pots, and already the first trusses are forming.
Begonia Plants - Crackling Fire
I am delighted with the Begonia Crackling Fire plugs I have grown on and potted up. Gorgeous lance shaped leaves and I’m already nipping out the flowers to allow plants to get established, bigger, better and potentially ( hopefully) prizewinners. The tuberous begonias are scary. They have grown really well but every time I look at them a leaf seems to rip or snap and one plant looks like it has been sunburnt with reddening leaves. I’ve never grown them before so this might all be normal. However, they are all now re potted into large and final containers so they now just have to grow to the expected 18in or so and flower their socks off at end of August or more importantly, on September 6th.

So, it’s around 100 days to the show and the last of the gladioli are planted – dig hole, layer of grit in bottom of hole, gladdie corm nuzzled in, backfill with sieved soil to remove stones that might cause kinks in the shoots – and stand back. The first lot ( all 18 gladdies) planted a fortnight ago are through and the last batch ( a further 10 corms!!) are just in. Surely one spike will be perfect on the day?
Begonia plants - Sun Burnt
At the moment most things are looking healthy with a cursory aphid having a nibble but being soon despatched. I’m not seeing slugs yet ( could be the biological controls working) and even the pigeons seem to be looking elsewhere for their plunder. So far so good but I know things can change over night. I’m hoping the temperature does ( for the cucumbers) but the rain is welcome as it’s long walk uphill with a watering can.

More updates soon!

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