Tod's Dahlias for 2006 - so far!

Willamette Valley, OR(Zone 8a)

Ooooooo....good idea, Carol!

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

OMG, the pressure, the pressure! I have never stored a dahlia overwinter before (successfullly) This year I am putting tubers in a fridge, the garage and in the middle of a leaf pile outside, unprotected except for the leaves themselves and some peat. We'll call this my practice year and see if I can find a way to get these suckers to come back! But yes, of course you can have tubers if I have them.

LOL! On the RoundUp, Carol, but I think he might figure it out, especially if it happened to be in the shape of a flower bed. ;) Did I also mention he's the one who would bust the sod and make the first pass of the tiller? I sort of have to keep him happy. It's okay, all I can think of when I work out front is one of those garden signs that look like a lady's big butt working in the yard...I always think that's what I probably look like.

Today I planted a flat of pansies, a dozen lilies, a few daffodils, and dug the rest of my dahlias They are now awaiting the wrap. I am ruminating the best way to store them in the leaf pile, including keeping varieties separate from one another. So far I thought a cardboard box filled with more leaves. (in this case they are dry and mulched) Leaves are weird. The inside of the pile actaully stays totally dry because the pile sort of sheds water, well, not sheds, but the water only soaks in so far and no father. I've seen it here year after year, so that doesn't worry me.

Suzy

Willamette Valley, OR(Zone 8a)

LOL, Suzy! I KNOW that's what I look like when I work in the yard! I just make sure to aim my big behind at the neighbors who always talk about me behind my back. Another one of my neighbors goes over to his house and they talk together about me and then the one tells me all about it later. They deserve to see my big backside!! LOL I think they need to get a life!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I'm both amused and amazed at how people, larger than I in width and rear ends, can comment on mine when I'm doing the work and they're driving by.

Suzy - no basement or attic or garage to safely store the dahlias?

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

LOL on the pressure. Of course you have pressure now. You opened up your big mouth bragging about all those gorgeous dahlias, what do you expect? Us to just sit here and drool? No way! We want some too, LOL LOL

But Suzy, those dahlias will not survive outside there at all under the leaves, etc. They have to be inside. You are way too cold there. Believe me! Just like Pirl says, basement, attic, or garage. They need to be protected from freezing totally and then of course, the water too so they don't rot.
But just my friendly advice. I don't live in your area so...............

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Very nice flowers Tod. I have to study that 'Sunny' more because I was given a tuber labelled SUN and don't think it's Hamari Sun.... so I will try to find more with Sun in the name. I tried Anna Mari once and rotted it. Sure is pretty, even if it only bloomed once.

Suzy, I agree, if you can get some in the garage, why not put all of them in there? A stryofoam cooler is great insulation. In zone 5 ( I think you're about there) I wouldn't trust leaving dahlias outside unless they were buried below the frostline in your yard.

One year my mom dug a huge pit in her garden for leaves I think, like a subterranean compost pit. We put up board walls and tunnelled out the sides, put up board roofing, covered it up with more dirt and had our own little dungeon in the garden! Nice mom: "you kids go play in the cavern in the garden and hope it doesn't cave in!" LOL Can't imagine how dirty we got but it was fun!

But if you could similarly dig down deep enough then maybe your dahlias would be insulated enough in a box or in a big gunny sack of leaves or vermiculite well below the freezing level. Are you dividing them into singles Suzy? It takes so little space to store them that way.

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Hi Tod!!

We're having a party without you, but sorry for snagging your thread! Meanwhile Anna Mari is wonderful!!! What's wrong with her? Why is she "little" and 'sad"?

Well hells bells, Pooch! Make up your dang mind -- I *did* put them below the frost line where they wouldn't freeze -- when I planted them! But that wasn't good enough, so I dug them up this fall only to put them back 20 inches deep again????? :)))

Oh, man I have always wanted a compost pit! Seriously, I have! The place where I'd want it, though, is too hard to access with machinery, and unlike your mother, I am NOT going to dig a pit with a shovel! There are some little neighbor boys who cut through my yard and are both a general and a specific nuisance. I think they'd probably make pretty good compost. (Not their fault, their parents just had 2 too many children. LOL!) My pit could double as one of those snares the natives use to catch wild boars.

Okay peeps, I was just going to try a bunch of different ways of storing -- basement, refrigerator, garage, AND the leaf pile. Just sort of hedge my bets, so to speak., but also to learn some things. My hunch: Basement & garage are too hot in *spring* and I'll get foliage too soon. The truth is no one will want the dahlias I have selected as my guinea pigs: 'Fascination' & 'Berliner Kleene', but if you want me to store some for you in a more traditional, and more likely to succeed fashion, just say the word.

Suzy

West Caldwell, NJ(Zone 6b)

Suzy, the center of Anna Mari had a big bald center, instead of full of petals like the picture. The form wasn't so good either. The plant however was the saddest part, it was little and thin and took forever to grow.

Now I am getting all sorts of tiny faint-colored versions of my flowers, ah well, still nice. Next 3-4 nights could be killer ones though. I hate Yahoo weather BTW, they usually underestimate the lows. My Camano Messenger is blooming for the first time, hope it finishes.

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Oh, sounds like it's not very vigorous, but the flower was sure pretty. :)

Suzy

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

todgor - the latest prediction on Weather Bug says frost warning for tomorrow morning and I wouldn't doubt it since at 6 AM it was 32 degrees here.

Bath, NY(Zone 5b)

Grew Anna Mari this year too. Nice looking plant, beautiful flowers but no tubers worth keeping. She won't be growing in my yard again, space is to precious to waste on a non producer.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Before more of us place orders I think I'll start a thread, prompted by todgor and willow, about which ones we wouldn't grow again. Might save us all some grief.

West Caldwell, NJ(Zone 6b)

pirl, you were correct, although they are not quite as bad as those I've seen, they more or less all bought it last night. If that didn't really do it, tonight will. And it really sucks because next week it warms up, upto 68 degrees on Thursday. At least I am almost finished with my Fall planting today, I am going to do the ones people have requested first tomorrow. Don't know how many others I can get to, I don't go on vacation until the end of next week.

I have my "not again right now list" and my "NOIDs I didn't order and I won't again soon", beyond that I like them all, and I never say never! :) :) I have been thinking about why some did not do well, and its probably mostly drainage issues, not that a particular variety is consistently bad. I had at least a dozen that never came up, probably rotted.

I am drooling over my keyboard after work when I am compiling a massive Word document of my round 1 picks. It is like 133 pages long, though many of those pages only have one big picture. Hope to get done with the elimination soon!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Well it looks like tonight may be the night for us todgor but the dahlias are still in bloom. Thanks for the heads up on Thursday. I just might put off what has to be done until then. It was too cold in the shade today but I stayed out there working for five hours. It's always nice to see a big difference.

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Tod & Pirl, Sorry about your frost coming -- the end of the year is always sad here. BUT the Word Doc sounds hysterical! 133 pages of dahlias you want - LOL! I wish I had thought of putting pictures with my want list, but I do have links.

We're getting great weather next week, too. Too bad my day out with my (elderly) mom is going to be the nicest day of the week. :( I'll be at Wal-Mart or something like that when I should be out in the nice weather planting my bulbs...and pansies!

Suzy

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Suzy - I bet there are many of us who'd happily change places to have our Mom back for even a trip to Wal-Mart. Not trying to give a guilt trip - honestly - but I'd give up my garden for a day with my late Mom.

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Yeah, I know, I think about that with my late father, but I SWEAR my weekly lunch and trip out with my mom ALWAYS falls on the nicest day of the week for gardening, and it has for the last 5 years! Okay, not quite every single week, but very close! :)

It would be different if we went to the zoo or the park or the ANYWHERE where we'd enjoy the weather (except the 200 yards of parking lot) LOL! Instead we always end up at some cavernous warehouse of a store where they have something she wants that's on sale -- or where she has a coupon!

Yah, I know -- it goes withthe lavender pantsuits.

Suzy

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

It's supposed to be 68 on Thursday - when I'm due at the dentist for a cleaning. I just might get lucky being the first appointment of the day.

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Pirl, you beat me to the punch by saying that any day with your mom or dad is good. I was going to say something to Suzy about that too. Because I treasure every min I have with my mom now since dad died in May.
Life is precious!!!!
So Suzy, I will say it anyways. I totally understand what you are saying but................ there will always be times for gardening but family will not be there forever...................

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

You'd think that after almost 35 years I'd have adjusted but it's that "one more hug" thought that brings it all back. I bet it's her blessings that makes our garden grow so well.

I'm still looking Tod! No frost either!!!!

West Caldwell, NJ(Zone 6b)

Pirl, they do look a bit more droopy and blackish today, but perhaps its just setting it from Friday.

Suzy says I can wait till next week to dig, that would really take the pressure off, as I just finished burying my tulips and clematis, and I don't have much daylight left! How long can I go before its too late BTW?

Also, here is a picture of me in the jungle, next to Hakuyoh:

Thumbnail by todgor
Appleton, WI(Zone 5a)

Hey Tod - men do grow dahlias - who'd have thunk it ;)

You should be fine until next weekend to dig.

West Caldwell, NJ(Zone 6b)

Argh, I decided to do a practice session on Gregory Stephen, and , this is tougher than I thought. I used my new digging tool (looks like a giant fork), and dug as deep as I could on 3 sides, and liiiffft... well, there were 3 tubers, mother, a big one, and a small one. They all had split apart like they were hot potatoes and butter. I'll show you the mother:

Look at that gash, I didn't come near the thing, I thought. Should I hand dig em? Is this one salvagable?

Thumbnail by todgor
West Caldwell, NJ(Zone 6b)

Here by the way is Camano Messenger, blooming just in time. Not as colorful as it would have been flowering earlier, but a nice shade:

Thumbnail by todgor
West Caldwell, NJ(Zone 6b)

And here is a shot of the reckage. The stems are mostly stll green, it would seem, though the leaves have all bought it:

Thumbnail by todgor
Appleton, WI(Zone 5a)

I like the fork for digging, some damage is inevitable it seems. If the soil is wet/hard whatever I dig all the way around it before trying to lift, and then I work the fork way under it before lifting. That's the main goal of my soil improvements I do every year is to try and get those suckers to come out easier. Were you saying the clump fell apart?

those leaves are goners, you could cut them down to save some time for the future.

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Tod, good to see you! You know they used to call the dahlia a "Man's Flower." I say balderdash to that notion. I think it's an equal opportunity plant. You guys are outnumbered on this forum, but in our dahlia association I'd say it's 50-50 from casual observation at meetings.

Tod another way to limit the stress on tubers/necks when digging is to rake away or even use hands to clear much of the top soil over the clump. I use a dog poop rake or my soggy, soggy gloves as we had another 5 inches of rain and get this: 6-9 inches more due as the next storm rolls in. SOGGY! Or when the clump starts to come up, clear away more soil to further reduce the weight as you lift it. There is some breakage almost inevitably, but you can minimize it.

Is Hakuyoh the pretty lavender on the right? Very nice.

That little gash shouldn't bother anything. Just let it dry and give it a dusting of sulphur or other fungicide. The tubers below were gnawed by rodents last year and went on to store and grow fine.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v293/poochella/Dahlia%20Lessons/pinkchewedtubersliltiger05.jpg

West Caldwell, NJ(Zone 6b)

I guess the soil is always wet, I just rarely see it, as I mulched everywhere but 10" around the base of the plants. Yes, the clump fell apart, the two newer tubers broke at their necks, unfortunately I couldn't see any eyes on them. I have a raised bed, I put about 8" of top soil down, so when I planted, I just dug to the hard sandy bottom and dropped the tuber in sideways. So getting under them is going to be difficult I guess.

As to soil improvements, I read about buying cow manure and putting it in in the Fall, so the acidity dies down by planting time. I will be looking for some soon. Next I have to figure out how to get a level base for the greenhouse I want to put up next Spring, the area has a slight decline to it.

West Caldwell, NJ(Zone 6b)

Thanks for the info, Annie! No, Hakuyoh is the big white one. I just loved the expressions on people's faces when I brought that 9" full and deep white flower into work, it was so big it didn't look real. Must try some real disbudding on it next year.

The lavender one in the front is Bella S, the one further back is Ferncliff Inspiration. Bella S was one one prolific bloomer, and very bushy. Ferncliff was prolific as well, and its flowers were long lasting and they would change to white with age. What a monster plant though!

Your weather sounds like Hawaii of late, I think the global warming is causing the pressure areas to be "chunkier", hence the extra rain and high winds after. The good only part is an extended growing season.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Tod - per our radio guy we should be waiting for two weeks after a killing frost to dig the dahlias, clean them, turn them upside down for a few days in a garage setting to let any water drain out, then store for winter. I'd say you're quite safe!

Pretty jungle!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Tod - YOU are a gem! Thanks, so much, for the great trade!

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