Another storm for Long Island! We had our first frost a couple of nights ago and now we are covered in 5" of snow. Will my dahlia bulbs survive?
Dahlia bulbs covered in snow!
Me too in NJ - they should be fine, it will be warm this weekend, so the snow should melt. They will be fine until the ground is frozen down to tuber level.
lol. I was wondering until I got to the second sentence.
Yes, they'll survive but it's a good lesson on why you shouldn't cut them back early so they'll be easier to dig up eventually. One year I cut back about 24 of them since we hadn't had a frost. Along came a freak sleet storm and the ice water got into every stem and killed all of them.
Arlene, I always put a sandwich size baggie over the open stems and hold it in place with a rubber band. It's surprising how much water can get into the stems if left open.
My golly. You learn the darndest things here. I just let mine freeze then dig the whole clump up. Never thought about cutting them off, thank goodness. I would never have remembered about the stems filling up and would have lost them all. I am checking my bags every two or three weeks. Lots of eyes forming, some growing and I have pitched a few that were soft.
Dan - you do have the patience of a saint.
Mary - that's the safest way. Any ideas on why some go soft while others remain fine?
I just read an article in a book that said to let them remain upside down for two entire weeks after digging. Here I thought three days was enough.
I think a week would dessicate them. they have to maintain some moisture to make it through the winter. It is a fine balance and I think the material you overwinter them in is the determining factor. This is the first year I am trying Dan's mixture and so far I think it is working well. At least I can get to them and make minor adjustments to the mix if I need to and pitch any soft ones. The ones going soft or really shriveled were 1) really too small to survive anyway, 2) already had some rot within the tuber as I noted when I cut them apart before storing (pitched the ones I saw like that - some rotted entirely through the center), 3) material mix a touch to moist and bag not open enough, 4) tuber still too moist. Those are my guesses but Dan has been doing this longer than I have.
Thanks. This year I'm going to try storing them in very slightly dampened shredded straw. My issue is the temperatures. Every place here is too warm or too cool. Maybe the steps to the attic will be just right for them.
I'll go with draining them upside down for three days and hope for the best.
Are you going to cut them up or store full clumps. Wash them? If you are storing full clumps and need to wash out the dirt (which you should) you might let them drain upside down a bit longer -- maybe a week. Perhaps that is why the suggestion of 2 weeks - they were speaking of clumps not individual tubers.
I don't cut them up since I still am unable to locate eyes but I may cut them in quarters. It all depends on how cold it is when I do the digging/washing job.
Happy February! Are we all checking our dahlia tubers? I haven't faced that job yet. Every year I feel I'll be a better dahlia mother but it just doesn't happen.
Why do we go through this angst every year, Carolyn? I haven't checked them since that would mean bringing in the giant bag holding the many bags of dahlias and it will end up a huge mess on my light colored kitchen floor.
In the meantime I went back to checking out every dahlia on Corralitos (for the third time) and selected a huge amount. I can narrow it down from there. If I select the same one three times then it's a good sign I love it.
http://cgdahlias.com/dahlia_catalog.html (link to Corralitos)
If the dahlias in the garage have turned to mush...there's always Home Depot and Lowes.
I think that is alot of it. I would have to haul mine out of the attic and then it would be mess of vermiculite on the floor of my spare bedroom. Yes, it is a matter of running the vacuum, but the hard part is hauling them out of the attic. Hopefully this weekend I will get to my poor dahlia tubers.
I guess I am lucky in that mine are in the garage in boxes (bags in boxes with open tops). I have a counter out there where I can check them. I put a pan (like a littler box on the counter then open the bag over that. I still get dirt on the counter but not as much as would be otherwise. I guess I need to start thinking about removing the snowblower from the garage and firing up one of the growlite shelves for begonias and vegie or flower seeds that have a long germination period. I have to plant out everything the end of May as I will be gone 10 days from June 1. It should be safe by then.
If only I had kept the top of my garage workbench clean! Then I could check the dahlias.
(Hope that sounds like a good excuse.)
Now I'm thinking of spreading out a tarp in the laundry room, off the mud room and kitchen, and checking them all in there so I won't make a mess...but it's just at the thinking stage.
Shall we have a contest of sorts? No grand prize, no booby prize, but just a friendly competition to get the job done? Time limit could be tomorrow night at midnight.
I have mine stored in the basement and put newspaper on top of the washing machine and took a peek inside all of the ziplock bags. I had a few soft tubers so I felt good after I did it knowing that the majority of them were doing very well.
So come one everyone it's not such a hard job, so get it over with! Just look at the tags as you are working and daydream about how beautiful they will look this summer in your garden and in vases on your table :)
Actually I've been quite busy making color harmony matches for this year.
Since my Sunday morning radio gardening show was replaced with something worthless (to me) I wouldn't mind sitting on the floor with my coffee and the dahlia bags.
I'm with you, Carolyn. I'd like a few hours of each day in the winter to be applied to those summer days that just go by much too fast.
Amen in spades!! I would willingly donate a month of winter for a month of summer, even spring. Would still leave plenty of winter to plan and rest. If you had two light sawhorses (I found some plastic black ones that fold up neatly at Lowe's) and a square of something light to make an instant table top, it would save your back tremendously. I also found a neat gizmo. I Ordered it online. A square piece of plastic with metal eyes in the corners. You join up each corner to form a box like folding foil to make a broiling dish. Then you don't get dirt all over the place. Plan on using it for spring potting. They are called potting sheets.
Okay! It's 11:07 and I'll tackle it right now! We'll see how long it takes.
We do have sawhorses with a 4 x 8 on top in the garage...which is covered with the last onion & shallot crop because Jack hasn't been up to working outside. He needs to gain weight! How I wish I had that problem!
It wasn't all that bad but the smell of bacon, eggs and the onion encrusted potato pattie was getting to me. I only opened a few bags but did take every one of the bags out and felt through the bags for firmness. Only one had to go to the compost bin! That was a weak single tuber anyhow so no big loss.
I don't divide them - never did master that art. So one I love (no I.D. - huge lavender) is left with a long neck that is squishy near the set of many firm tubers. What do I do with it?
Dan - All of yours made it!
Well Arlene - you beat me to it. I still have not tackled my tubers. I decided I should tackle the widening strip of grey on my head before I did the tubers - so at least my hair is done.
I would cut that squishy part off if you think it will save the rest of the bulb.
Great idea for the table, Mary.
Here's to an early spring.
I'll attempt the surgery later and hope for the best.
Next time I'll use a sheet, not a tarp.
I took care of my 'gray strip' last week. Feel much better now. lol. Now if it was just as easy to remove the lines and sags. double lol!
you are so right on that Mary.
I am sitting here in the living room with my laptop and the tv on. Those dalias in my attic are haunting me.......
Hey. I should have extras so if you lose too many I can try to fill in. I need to update my journal to list the remaining dahlias and I have added a field indicating if I have extras. Note to self: get it done.
It's moving from that spot of comfort that's the hard job. This is the first time I've checked dahlias in years...Carolyn and I always talk about doing it but now I've done it. Your turn, Carolyn! Think how good you'll feel when it's done and off your mind.
Mary - I do appreciate that.
Arlene - I still haven't moved.
I bought some nice ones last year, that I don't want to lose. I am going to have to make myself move. There is something about going into that cold attic that doesn't entice me.
I just looked at my pictures from last year. The pond was open by the first of April but was surrounded by at least a foot of snow. Every year I think the end of March I am going to at least see my earth. Uh-uh....
Try, Carolyn. Bribe yourself if you must!
I'm happy with any 40 degree days without the winds. Have only had three this year. Last January/February was so much nicer. I want a re-run!
I'll take the rerun of last winter too!
Well, I did it. Dahlia tubers were all checked. They looked better than I thought they would. This is the first I have checked them since they were put away the end of last November. There was some rot, but not too bad.