Be gone begonia seeds – save tubers

Begonia Non Stop red.
Begonia Non Stop red.
Dahlia Brandaris

BRIAN KIDD: Weekly tips for gardeners and their problems solved

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Doesn’t time fly. January has gone and it’s still light at 5pm.

In the autumn I wrote about begonia Non Stop which glorified thousands of gardens last summer. If you followed the advice of allowing the plants to die down after the November frosts so all the sap went down to the base of the plant, you would have been blessed with begonia tubers.

Your letters have been really heart-warming. Sally who lives at North End, Stan who enjoys gardening at Clanfield and Chris who lives in a mobile home at Petersfield, saved their begonias and want to start them off again.

This is very easy to do.

Place a two-inch layer of loamless compost in the base of a seed tray and simply lightly place the tubers in rows so that about 12 are set up in each tray.

Make sure the tubers are the right way up. The bases are round and the tops have raised edges with a sunken centre. There will also be some scars left from last year’s stems. Yes, these are on the top.

If you can’t find the right way up, put them in lines an equal distance apart and if one or two don’t produce a shoot within a month, simply turn them over.

If you didn’t save the tubers on last year’s begonias you will find new tubers in boxes at your garden centre. Start them off as suggested and you will be off to an early start. All you need is a light place in a temperature of about 55F (12C).

A greenhouse will be fine, but an indoor windowsill will be equally as good as quite a number of readers produce wonderful results by using their initiative.

If you enjoy growing plants as seedlings you will find begonia Non Stop and several other varieties in stock at your garden centre.

It’s a good idea to go along regularly because begonia seedlings sell like hot cakes and once they are gone, that’s it for another year. If you wonder why this is, it is because the garden centres order what they need in September so the nurseries which grow them can produce them when we need them. The numbers and varieties are based on what sold well the previous year.

Begonia seedlings are produced by the million because they are the best summer-flowering plants, but you already know that...

TIP OF THE WEEK

If you like growing vegetables and have trouble with slugs, place a plank of wood on the ground and leave it for a week.

Turn it over and kill the slugs underneath. They will be on the back of the wood. Make sure you don’t miss the tiny ones.