This winter I plan on upgrading my stakes. I have been using 1/2" hardwood dowels but am planning on using something better next year. I was thinking about rebar or thicker stakes. What have you used that looks nice also?
Winter stake project
Hi Al, welcome to dahlias where we are all abit looney about dahlias. I use rebar painted green. My hubby made these for me. Joann
I am converting to lots of green farm posts 'T stakes' they might be called, with flanged wings to stabilize them inground. They come in various heights from 3-6 ft and are very strong. Although I might go with some rebar too (as my cedar posts wear out year by year) because the flanges of the farm posts got caught in overlying tubers and tore them coming out of the ground. Not good.
I have so much foliage I usually can't see any posts anyway unless I get a short plant by a tall stake as seen front left.
This past year I thought I would try that reinforced tomato cage trick and it was a complete disaster, but I thought the premise of the whole thing was valid. This coming year I will be using some home made pillars of welded rebar that will resemble tomato cages but be more resistant to leaning under the weight of a heavy plant because it will also be quite heavy and well anchored to the soil. I don't know if the idea will work very well, but just think of a tomato cage made out of 3/8ths in. rebar and inverted like an upright cone. I'll make a few prototypes and post them for comment by the group and see if collectively we can come up with the one that we've all wished someone would invent. It should be fun.
Hi Al, as Joann says, we are the dahlia addicts here. lol
I have used many things and haven't found one that I like yet. I have used bamboo stakes, plastic stakes, and was going to try the tomatoe cage deal but didn't. My soil is so bad with hardpan clay underneath the raised beds that any of the mentioned stakes didn't hold the plants much.
This next coming spring, I am going to use rebar. I have found some at a discout lumber store and had them cut them to size. I am going to keep scrounging to find more rebar. It is expensive to buy tho the long 20' pieces aren't too bad priced, but will have them cut them to size for me.
Don, will look forward to seeing your new stake idea when you get it done. Sounds interesting!
Too darn slow here right now.
I went to Home Depot today and bought 10' sections of rebar for $3.47, this one did not have the 20' sections like the other store in town( I think that was $5.80). I cut them in half to 5' - I think that's a good length - 1' in the ground or so..I filed down the edges and will paint in spring when my garage is warmer. Also scrounged up some used pieces of more rebar and fence stakes.
Yep, Al. I have scrounged up some rebar too. I had paid around $5 for a 20' section. The guy even cut it for me! But of course, I wasn't thinking and he cut each one to 4' so I will have to decide who gets the short ones then, dang it!
I need to find some more tho. I am going to look around at the junk yards maybe soon.
Have gotten most of my tubers divided (we shall see how good of a job I did and see if any eyes show up too).
We have been having record rains here plus tons of flooding so.... The gardens are floating, lol.
Carol.... we are flooding too!! But any thoughts on trying a freecycle group at yahoo? We have a local group that is very active on different things available.... things I would never have even thought of "recycling." Maybe some rebar or something similar might be out there!!!
P.S. My saran-wrapped tubers are doing well! Nice and firm! Don't know about eyes, of course, but at least they are not mush!
Well, never would have thought of CA flooding, just being too dry. Too bad you can't save the water for your electricity, lol.
I have tried that freecycle. It is only good for in the big cities, not little old Albany.
Am glad that your saran-wrapped tubers are doing well. Candy won't like hearing that since all of hers rotted but am glad someone's are still alive!
Oh gosh, thanks guys and gals: I now belong to 3 Freecycle groups here in my area! It is a hotbed of activity, I'll tell you. Not quite as fun as looking for new dahlias, but close.... LOL Freecycle is a great idea and looks to be quite successful in matching Offered stuff to Wanted stuff.
Rain: if we get one more inch I'm going to scream!! We're approaching the FOOT mark over the past 8 days and with the forecast, that should be reached today (stay tuned for screaming....) And that is why I don't leave tubers in the ground out here too often- it's just too soggy.
My stored tubers are still all fat and happy ready for the New Year.
Annie, I just found out that my sister and her DH are sandbagging the basement in their new house. The Tum Tum River is behind their house and it is rising quickly!
Yep, Mendy, and it is to even rain more and more until Monday. So hope she will be ok???!!!! Geez, this weather!!!!
Drdon I am glad to hear your experiences w/ the tomato cage thing as I was probably going to try that myself... I've been interested in that idea since i heard about it a long time ago. Probably not so good for Dahlias, but has anyone used the spiral stakes for things like Sunflowers and such?
Screaming, screaming..... We've crossed the foot mark of rain in the past week. Vile, wet stuff- and more due all weekend. Why can't we share with parched Texas and Oklahoma? Mendy, I hope your sister is able to stave off any threatening water with sandbags- sounds bad indeed. We should all be down soaking up the rays with Dr Don! If I even see the sun in the next week, I'll consider it a major accomplishment. Ah, the NW in winter- there's nothing like it- except a long, long shower LOL.
Almcfarla- I do know people who swear by those tomato cages, but I know my plants and I just can't see them supporting the taller ones and all the heavy side branches. Perhaps they'd work for a 3 ft plant and I still may try that next season on one or two. I'm pretty much a stake and tie gardener when it comes to the dahlias.
For other taller floppers I like those flexible Y stakes, or grow through rings. I don't know the spiral stakes but imagine they'd work well for anything like a sunflower with a tall central stalk.
Stay high and dry y'all.
Well, Annie, we are flooding around here in the fields. It is horrible! Rain, rain, and rain!!!
A place that I drive by every day to work had a small plot that they sell tubers and flowers of dahlias has been totally flooded under this morning, I noticed. Mendy, on Oakville Rd. I then noticed buckets and buckets of tubers sitting along side of the water. What a mess!!! I bought a couple tubers from them but they were no-namers. They just do it to make bouquets at the farmers market.
We are to get more rain this weekend and Sunday is to be a big storm moving in so.....
Yes, wished I was soaking up those sun rays like Don, any day!
I do hope Cheryl isn't drowning yet?
I'm going to try some of these; I've been collecting parts for them since the end of this past summer:
Woody’s Folding Tomato Cages: These sturdy wooden tomato stands are simple to build and easy to store. http://www.motherearthnews.com/do_it_yourself/2005_February_March/Woody_s_Folding_Tomato_Cages
Edited to say if the direct link doesn't work anymore. Scroll down and click on link that says: Do-It-Yourself - and find topic there.
What is your opinion on these drdon?
This message was edited Dec 30, 2005 10:06 PM
Well, I tried the tomato cages for the first time this past year and what a difference! I had one dahlia, Gargantum, that was over 6 feet tall and she stayed tall with no damage using a tomato cage. If you decide to use cages, look around as they come in different sizes and different weight of metals. I found some at our local K Mart that were much tall than the normal size and the bottom ring was much larger around and it took 3 men and a boy to cut off the stakes and bend them so I could use them in the flipped position.
There's no danger of hurting the tubers and it gives you a dandy place to hang your tags without bending over to read them later( a consideration when you get old,LOL ). I will be in the market to buy more in the spring and will convert to this method.
When I took them down after digging my dahlias , I popped them over my rose bushes and filled them with leaves to protect my roses for the winter. The smaller cages were 2/$1.00, mediums $.99 and the large ones were $1.49 each which I think is cheaper and safer than rebar.
I always worried about the little kids running and impaling themselves on the rebar so I feel better about using the cages.
Just my two cents on cages!
Willow, boy, your tomato cages are cheaper out there in the east then. You can't buy the large one under at least $3.99. That is why I don't buy those. Can't afford $4 each.
But I would love to use them for the price you pay. That is a great deal. Go for it!
Happy New Year all! Yes, Willow, you are getting a virtual steal at those prices. Cost was half my hesitation for using sturdier wire cages- the least I saw for anything approaching 4 ft tall (without cutting off the 'leg' wires) was $8! Prohibitive to me to use on any large number of plants.
Glad to hear that they worked on a big, tall one for you though and a great idea on how to use them through your winter season too.
Breaking news: I saw the sun! Briefly, but it was sure a welcome sight.
Wasn't it wonderful, Annie!! I couldn't believe it.....a day without rain....and a little sun to boot!!
We've started building the new cages for next season's growth. I don't know if they'll work but the prototype looks good and sturdy. They basically will come out looking like upside down tomato cages made with 3/8ths inch rebar welded. they anchor to the soil by 10in spikes of sharpened rebar of the same size. It will be very difficult for my dinner plates to tip these over as they did the tomato cages last year. I find the wire on all tomato cages to be way too flimsy for the larger dahlia plants that can get much heavier than most tomato plants they are constructed for. I do think that the tomato cage thing would work on smaller plants, but mine grow so doggone big they just bend the cages with their weight. So in light of that we've created this newer version of the inverted tomato cage with much stronger steel and will show pics when I remember to bring the camera down to the shop where they are being constructed....lol. I'm considering coating them with a vinyl material that is used for coating hand tools like pliers. It's a thick paint that dries like the colored coating on the handles of pliers and other tools and would eliminate rusting of the cages. I'm thinking black or green would go away (disappear) nicely once the plants fill the cages.
I hope you guys dry a bit soon and your rain makes it down here. We are so parched here it is becoming worrisome.
best of new years to all,
Gee Guys, I could buy them here and mail them cheaper than you can buy them? That's insane! Maybe it 's a good thing I live in rural NY..
On the other hand try and buy a cup of expresso around here!!!LOL I have to drive 45 miles to get a bag of expresso beans...
Well, Willow, maybe we should trade tomato cages for expresso beans, LOL!!!
We have all kinds of expresso places here in the NW.
Annie is even closer to where Starbucks originated from Seattle, lol
You'll have to post a picture of the cages that you get. I am familiar with the regular tomato cages, but not anything thicker. I do plan on trying to put caps/covers on my rebar stakes.
Al, I took some pictures but I realized that all the larger tomato cages are guarding my roses so it's had to tell the size as they are buried in the ground and filled with leaves but I'll post what I have . I didn't want to pull one up so may have to wait till spring if you are still interested.
Willow, thanks for the pictures. Do appreciate the effort.
My, look at that snow. Like your greenhouse too.
Thanks for the pics. On the bottom photo is the right one about 3' and the middle on 4' or so?
I'll keep my eye out for them this spring. So many people sell them that I really don't look at a lot of them, but I thought they sold for 3-4$
Al, I guess I didn't realize how cheap they are here. You are right about the height and the large one filled with leaves is about 4 1/2 to 5 feet. I bought the middle size at the local feed store where I get my alfalfa pellets. Some SI got at the local building suppy and as I mentioned , K Mart.
I used rebar until a friend slipped on the wet grass and tore the skin off her arm on her way down, she was lucky, hate to think what would have happened if she had fallen the other way. So for that year I put old tennis balls on top of the rebar. I have a friend who taught tennis at the high school and I bought all of the worn out tennis balls,they were bright green, easy to see and good protection. I still use some rebar but only in the middle of the beds and use the cages all around the outside. I think I will be buying more cages as I keep buying and trading more dahlias...LOL
A bit of winter sunshine...Smoots
I have 3 like the taller one with four rings. ( used them for sweet peas) And that little monster will hold up a 4- 6 foot dahlia? I am going to have to try it once and for all.
Thanks for the photos Willow. Even in winter, your garden looks so neat and evenly furrowed. And I love that winter use of the cages with leaves. You are very resourceful.
I'll trade you bags of coffee for tomato cages LOL!
OK Ladies, Hmmmmmmmmmm.. After a 45 mile ride, It cost me $11.00 a bag for the beans and gas is $2.59 a gallon, a heck of a price for a cup of expresso!!!!
Dummy me, I should have brought some back from Rome!
Wow - I just came across this thread. I hope you PNW folks know how to dog paddle! At least you won't have to worry about water rationing this summer; you must be getting a heck of a snow pack in the mountains.
I have some of the 5' 4-ring tomato cages but I use them on my tomatoes. They cost $5 around here and not many places have them. Definitely too expensive.
Ugly rebar ? You can get schule 10 , 15 , 20 , 40 pvc in white and schule 40 in gray for electrical . The gray doesn't get brittle as fast as the white .
The pvc will just slide over the rebar and is easy to make a little longer with the couplings . It cuts easy and you can write the name on it .
Nice job, Al. Want to come to my house and do some for me too???
I need to get mine ready too. I have a guy who works in the concrete business and he is to get me some free rebar poles so.... can't wait for them.
tonyjr, do you only use the PVC pipe to hold up the dahlias??? Aren't they kind of flimsy and expensive? I do like the idea tho since the PVC pipes won't poke you in the eye but.... can they hold up a large stalk of the dahlia?
Tony - I know what you're saying. I would end up painting the pvc also.
Carol - I painted this the hard way hoping it would last longer. I brushed on 1 primer and 2 green. If you can get some free go for it.