Dahlias: Spring 2015

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Here is our new thread: this is where we came from

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1383748/

This message was edited Mar 29, 2015 1:23 PM

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Good job!

Mentor, OH

I see sprouts! I love your set-up, Mary. I wish I had room to set up lights. I just went into the attic and checked my tubers. I'm really disappointed. I've had more shriveling in the past two weeks than I've had all winter. I'm going to mist them a little but will probably end up tossing a lot of them. Every year I ask myself if it's worth the time and bother to store tubers. I sometimes think I'd just as soon leave them in the ground and buy new ones every year. I've bought quite a few for $2-3 each when buying five of the same at a time. So I could probably replace all for $300 or so. I'd hate to have to buy them and the selection wouldn't be as good. And too many of the same variety. But after a while, you really have to ask yourself how much is your time and aggravation worth to babysit these things. Maybe if I cut the numbers back a little. lol I've never had any problems until the past two years. No idea what's changed. Sorry for the "downer" rant.

With all that said, I'm sure I'll be out digging again this fall. I have a few clumps that I stored unwashed in plastic bags. They still look pretty good. Thanks for the idea, Arlene! I may clear a section of the attic and store that way next time. I'm also thinking about buying a small humidifier for the attic to try and combat our cold, very, very dry winters. I think I've gone through a gallon of Jergen's lotion this winter.

Wyoming, MN

Stopped by Menards today. They have a nice selection of dahlias. They were priced at 5 for 9.95 or 3 for 5.95.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Some of my sprouts are quite impressive while others look wimpy but being crushed in plastic bags for months doesn't allow for good growth. By next week I expect to see more and bigger sprouts.

Dan - try wetting paper towels and wrapping the shrunken tubers in them and enclosing them in a plastic bag. You have nothing to lose by trying.

If the 2016 offerings could be guaranteed it might be worth the risk of not digging. I've considered it often. I also thought of laying bags of pine bark mulch atop the dahlias. Maybe that would save them. If I could just be 100% sure of eyes I'd have only one bag to check and only one bag to deal with next spring. The great majority of mine are clumps so that's my weight training for spring! I just might go downstairs and examine each one to see precisely where to cut.

Glad it worked for you Dan! I didn't wash any of them and I'm very pleased with the results.

Did you buy any, hostages?

I stopped to buy more suet cakes for the birds and came out with them...and peonies and another bag of dahlias! This one is new to me - Dazzling Magic.

Wyoming, MN

Yes I got
Holland Festival
Brilliant Star
Onesta
and Ferncliff Illusion which I had already purchased at Walmart. The pic on the pack from Walmart looks like the pics on line, the pic on the pack from Menards is a splash petaled dahlia. I am hoping it is the splash petalled one in there

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Onesta is a classic and I've grown it for many years.

We all hope the dahlia inside is the same as the photo. Sometimes it isn't but most often it's at least named correctly even if the photo has been enhanced.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Well, I finished potting up the dahlias. I have five and a half flats with the tubers just laying there. I potted 114 besides. I, unfortunately, have another 32 coming. I really messed up this year. I have no clue where I will put all those plus my regular vegies and annuals.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Good job, again!

Could you rent a neighbor's garden?

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Ha. No one gardens here. And no one I know. I live in a virtual desert in some respects. that is which I like the botanical garden. If the plants grow well I will see if they want the duplicates to sell in their annual plant sale. I can print off pictures so people can see what they look like.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Only one gardener around here so I know how it feels.

Great idea about the botanical garden!

Mount Sterling, KY(Zone 6b)

Hey you all! I just got my internet back on after a week of trying to figure out what was wrong. My ISP finally figured out that my modem was bad and sent me a new one. After spending an hour and a half on the phone with tech support tonight, we got it up and running. So now I have to go back and catch up on what I missed. I will be back tomorrow. Goodnight!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Glad to have you back, Annette!

Mount Sterling, KY(Zone 6b)

Thanks pirl! Glad to be back! I am at work so just checking in to see what is going on.
WOW! Mary that's a lot of dahlias! You have been one busy lady! I have 2 flats and about to start several more. I have to get some more soil first. bbl

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Hi Annette. Glad you got your hookup figured out. I only potted those with eyes or actual growth. Those with no eyes were laid out. I don't know where I would have put them if I had potted them all up. And a few of those pots actually have 2 or even 3 tiny tubers in a big pot. If they had eyes. As they grow (or not) I will split them up.

After my morning at ABG (Alaska Botanical Garden) I will start planting seeds in six paks that will go outside into the raised bed hoop houses. Mostly poppies those. And iris pots will be put out also. Then I will have room (with some judicious shifting of stuff) to plant my vegie and some annual seeds.

Mount Sterling, KY(Zone 6b)

I sure know that routine of shifting things around. I am doing that in the greenhouse now, and we are still a month away from being able to put things outside. I am going to run out of room before the weather allows me to start shifting to the outside. I have built new shelving in the greenhouse to help hold the big pots and may have to make a few more shelves before I am done. I have over 200 tomato seeds sown. Lots of different varieties. I will give some to the family and friends. Might sell a few if there are any leftover. Sometimes I give them away if they get too tall to sell. I also have several varieties of peppers, mostly sweet peppers. And some "heatless" Jalepenos. They didn't do too well last year but I am going to try again, this time using a heat mat.
I haven't even started on the flower seeds yet. lol.

Mentor, OH

I took this photo last fall after dividing and drying the tubers and just before putting them into bags of vermiculite for storage. This represents probably less than 1/3 of the tubers I started with. My tubers used to still look like these AFTER I took them out of storage in the spring. Not so this year or last. I've never had such a problem with shriveling before. I think it has to have a lot to do with the dry air. I've even misted them more than before. I'm going to wrap a few in moist paper towels as Arlene suggested. I'm not worried about having enough to plant since I've already bought about 75 new ones. But I enjoy giving dozens away every year. This year I'm not sure what I'll end up with.

One thing I've noticed this year is that the packaged tubers I've bought have few if any ventilation holes in the bags. How long they've been in the bags is anyones guess. But I'm wondering if maybe the open bags I store in are allowing too much moisture to escape. All this time I've been more concerned about rot when maybe I should have been sealing the bags to hold moisture in and just poking a few holes in the bags so the tubers can breathe. I know there are no established rules for storing since every area of the country has different humidity levels. But it sure can be frustrating.

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Your tubers have always been really nice looking. I seem to have so many that are long and skinny. I have been nipping the ends off of some just to get them in a reasonable sized pot. Or even nipping two and putting them in a larger pot standing up like carrots or crosscrossed. Talk about frustrating. I like to get the eyes buried at least a little.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Your tubers looked great as of dividing time, Dan. My purchased dahlias are all in sealed bags without any holes...so much for the allowing them to breathe option, yet they don't seem damp at all - very dry in fact, but no shriveling.

I'd bet that suppliers to the trade have temperature and humidity controlled storage facilities.

Mary wants her eyes buried a little and I don't want mine buried at all. We each do have our own preferences.

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Hi you all, nice day here, but I am afraid to plant the dahlias outside, maybe in 2 weeks when they finish the Masters golf tournament. I will work again , do housekeeping in one house, make some more money for more plants. If anyone can tell me how deep should I plant the already sprouted bulbs, and should I put some bonemeal in the bottom of the whole. They look nice, I gave 3 bulbs to the lady that already has some of my white dahlias Snowbound. She has problem with deer, so we are trying to plant everything deer proof. I hope everybody is well, and ready for the Spring. Etelka

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Hi Etelka. I guess Dan will have to be the tie breaker on how deep you plant dahlias.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

So good to hear from you, Etelka!

Dig out a hole about 6" deep and work the bonemeal into the soil at the bottom of the hole, then lay the tuber down horizontally, cover with soil but do not water until they begin to grow.

Worth reading:
http://www.dahlias.com/howtogrowdahlias.aspx#2

Up here the deer would always nibble on my friend's garden, just a mile away, but they'd leave mine alone. Last year they ate the buds on every dahlia at all heights. There's no telling when they'll attack or what they want for dinner this year.

Mentor, OH

I've heard so many opinions on planting depth it's sometimes hard to decide which way to go. If I'm planting a tuber with a short sprout (no longer than 1") I usually plant it 5" deep. Same with a leafed out plant. I plant it so the tuber collar is 5" below the surface. The ones I have trouble with are the "tweeners". the one with sprouts several inches long. In other words, between a bare tuber and an actual plant. I have sometimes covered up the entire sprout on some of those and killed the sprout and it never grew another one. Probably the safest way is to cover the tuber only up to the sprout, reserving some of the soil, and adding more as it grows. Being this shallow, the sun will warm it up faster.

Whether I'm planting a tuber or a plant, I dig the hole about 10" deep to loosen the soil. Then I put half the soil back into the hole with a tablespoon of 5-10-10 fertilizer mixed into it and then plant.

I talked to my uncle in Virginia yesterday. He told me he planted most of his dahlias last weekend. I reminded him of all the buds on his fruit trees he lost during a freeze several years ago after the first part of April. He said he thought they would be fine because they wouldn't grow above the ground surface for a few weeks. I hope he's right but I'm not so sure. I tend to think that planting anywhere north of Florida in March is a little risky.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Uh, I would think so. I am safe from that temptation as my soil is solid ice below about 1". lol. I know that I am supposed to plant them horizontally but most of my stupid tubers are so long that in order to plant them in pots I have to plant most partially to fully vertical. Have done so for several many years. Don't know what difference it makes unless it is a stability issue.

Mentor, OH

Our ground was thawed much earlier this year than in a long time. I suppose you could credit that to the fact that we had a deep, insulating layer of snow for most of the winter. Even when the ground did freeze it was not deep. I have never really believed in (nor trusted) an "early spring". Too many things can happen and they're usually all bad. I will still plant in late May/early June.

Zorro and Ben Huston are two of several long tubers with somewhat skinny necks that I have a devil of a time storing. I end up buying new ones every year. I had at least a dozen BH's but doubt even one will be a viable, unshriveled tuber by planting time.

I don't think it would matter whether you plant the tubers horizontally or vertically as far as them growing. The only "slight" problem you might run into is having to dig a deeper hole in hard or clay soil at planting time or when digging tubers in the fall. A little extra work that I don't need. lol

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Dan, I have googled your place and I don't blame you for waiting few more weeks. I came to this country in 1969 and landed in Cleveland in November. I have never been so cold then that first Winter. By August we moved to Delaware and it was much better, hardly any snow. All my dahlias have few fingers, I am still hoping I can separate some of them to get more out them. Thank you and Pirl for advice, I get so upset that sometime I don't remember from previous posts what to do. I ordered Zorro, hope it comes soon. Etelka

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

At least one site said the depth was for stability. At this point I'm hardly stable as I'm most anxious to get out to do more work.

Mount Sterling, KY(Zone 6b)

pirl lol about being stable and you are not alone! I am also anxious to get this party started.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

The gardening spirit lives on and we're all anxious to get moving.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

For me the waiting now begins. I will look every day at the pots for growth and the ones lying in flats also. I know some will get pitched for no growth but it will be interesting to see which ones in the flats produce eyes.

In the meantime I have planted some annuals and some poppies I bought. Then there are more poppies I have in bottles. Please, does anyone want some seed. I must have 10-15 small pill bottles from half to totally full of different color seeds. Just take some and throw it around the garden. lol

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

My dahlias from Corralito's Garden arrived today. I have them potted up. They look really good. Better than last time. He send an extra on two of those ordered. Nice. Am planting poppy seeds now to go outside as WS. No room under lights for them now. Also received the 2015 ADS Classification Handbook. Interesting articles and information as well as the classifications. Looking up and entering any data I am missing from my database.

Mount Sterling, KY(Zone 6b)

I have been checking mine every day too. I guess it goes with the territory. lol

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I have had about 6 tubers from flats to pots as they developed eyes. Slowly....

Mentor, OH

This morning I drove to a big garden center I had never been to before. I had no intention of buying anything. I just went to look. After seeing the scant display of dahlias offered in all the other local stores, I was shocked that this garden center had over 50 varieties. Still, I was just looking. Suddenly, two salespeople leaped from behind a rack like ninja warriors, each grabbing one of my arms and twisting it until I agreed to buy the dahlias in the photo. They said if I ever come back the same thing will happen again. Don't you just hate when that happens? True story.

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Mount Sterling, KY(Zone 6b)

That's your story and you are sticking to it, lol. That happens to me all the time!!!

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

We can have a Kogane Fabuki contest. Three of us here have that dahlia.

Ninja's huh?? You growing something besides flowers in your garden Dan? Hmmm?

Wyoming, MN

Sounds like you found a good place to revisit ,Dan, but you may need to take some self defense training. LOL Good for you! I have been pretty disappointed with all things gardening at local stores for a few years, Not much variety and the smae things available everywhere.

Gary

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Ninja warriors sounds serious! I think Gary is right and you need some self-defense lessons. It's either that or attack them with your metal detector.

I did go shopping at Lowe's today but didn't check their dahlia supply to see if it's improved and didn't cross the street to check out Walmart or Home Depot. I saw a photo of Ferncliff Illusion last night and now it's trying to lure me in to buy it. Does it really look like this or not?

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I have moved some tubers from flats to pots. So I have moved up from 111 pots to 126 pots. And still have more new ones to arrive. Have moved the iris to the hoop raised beds. Also all poppy seeds are winter sown and also outside in the raised beds protected from the wind that blew them all over the yard. Have started annuals so had to move the flats with eyeless tubers to a stack, one on top of the other like pick up sticks so they are not pressing down the the lower flats. This is nuts. Planted 48 peas and still have other seed to plant.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Is that your version of the Joy of Gardening?

I'd be crazed if I had to do all you've already done, forget the planting and tending part of it!!!

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