HELEN LANG: Plant tubers hollow side up

I know I’ve mentioned finding that sprouting begonia in the utility room.

I know I’ve mentioned finding that sprouting begonia in the utility room. It is now five inches tall, sitting in front of a west-facing window and looking very handsome indeed.

February is the month you usually start begonia tubers into growth and for those of you new to starting with a tuber, a few hints may be in order. First, when buying the bulb(s) pick the largest ones, making sure they are firm.

Fill a planting tray with peat moss or potting soil, dampen this thoroughly and place your bulb(s) hollow side up (rounded side down), mounding the peat up around the tubers. Keep the peat moist and within a few days you should see pink sprouts appear. At this time you can plant them in a pot filled with damp potting soil, again hollow side up.

Years ago, when I had a garden shop, I bought 60 tubers and started them in damp peat. My neighbour Hazel, who was a wonderful gardener, came over.

As we worked we chatted and it was several weeks later when I discovered the bulbs that showed no signs of life had been planted up-side-down and when turned right-side-up had sprouts that had been buried under the peat. Ridiculous!

•   •   •   •

Not much gardening going on here. I have spent the past four days recovering from a fall. It all happened in an instant. One minute I was standing, peering at the Anglican church parking lot and the next,  found myself peering at the pavement under my nose (very close to it).

People in Sidney are wonderful.

A car stopped and the young man offered to help me get up. A woman came hurrying in our direction also wanting to help.

I convinced them that I was better able to do it myself, thanked them heartily, rolled over onto my knees and with the aid of my cane got to my feet and my daughter helped me walk home.

I did go to the hospital for an X-ray and it turns out to be bruising — no broken bones, thank God.

Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 30 years.



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