A Reminder: Check your tubers in storage

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

The cold winter is upon us, some areas cooler than others. But now that most of the holiday rush is over, it's a good chance to check your stored tubers for rot or moisture loss. Suzy, I promised to remind you, and here it is ;)

If they're rotten, throw them out! Don't even think twice. If you think the rot spread in your storage box or bag: discard that medium and start with a fresh supply of peat/vermiculite/perlite/sawdust/ whatever for any healthy remaining tubers.

If they're partially rotten and you absolutley must save them; cut off all signs of rot until you get to healthy, non-discolored tissue; spray the freshly cut areas with Lysol, let dry to touch, or dust dry-to-the-touch freshly cut areas with an antifungal preparation dust/dip and re-store.

If they're shrivelling, rubbery, or showing prune-like skins, spritz whatever you're storing them in with water, stir the medium up a bit and re-store them. Recheck them every couple weeks to a month until Spring. It sounds like a recipe.... a recipe for a wonderful pot, plot, row, or gardenful of blooms in a short 6-8 months from now..... What will I do to pass the time?

Appleton, WI(Zone 5a)

Hi Annie, once I can get through my son's room I'll get in the attic and check them.

maybe you should take up bowling ;)

Thumbnail by bigcityal
Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Thanks for the reminder -- I went downstairs and they all felt firm with some condensation on the insides of the bags (yours, too, Tod).

Do I actually have to look at them, or is feeling them up good enough? LOL!


south of Grand Rapid, MI(Zone 5a)

Just took peak at mine too - they were fine...phew... only a couple more months to go!!

Chicago, IL

I am just watching the spindly sprouts, folks. I can't move them outside because it's in the upper 20s or hovering around freezing during the night. Then during the day, it's in the 40's and 50s for weeks on end. I think I'll just let them be and hope for the best. I am eyeing catalogs too and debating whether I should order more or take my risk.

Pooch, I have been very busy with my seeds. I am offering seeds for SASBE on the Winter Sowing & Seed Exchange forums on the other garden web. If anyone is interested, please check my trade list on the Gardenweb
Winter is actually very busy for me for a few years now.

Oh, lol, I impulsively bought a plasma HD TV and got Direct TV. lol. My family is still puzzled why I did something that is so out of character; I never watched television. lol. And I normally saved every penny for trips. :-D

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

LOL Mone!
You must be getting old, LOL

But what seeds are you offering??? Can you tell me here at least in a D-mail? Please let me know.

Chicago, IL

I AM getting old. lol. I see more grey hair everyday.
I'll Dmail you my trade list.
I actually have a lot more than what's on the list, but I'll share them all with you here on this forum. :-D

Delhi, IA

I'm with you Pitimpinai____way to warm here. And I need some snow. This is not an Iowa winter____thunderstorms in Dec. And lots of fog. But snow will come and my cross country skiis will come out. (at least they always have before) More grey hair you say___isn't that my natural color??___no, there's still a dark one to every 800 grey!!!!

The coldest snap we had was right at the first of the month when Tod sent me a huge box of tubers____thought he would have trouble keeping them. Temps down to zero and I feared for the tubers freezing. But cardboard boxes are good insulators and all came through well. Tod, they look just like they did a month ago.

Well, back to reading another novel. I've whipped through 7 this month. That's usually about a year's reading for me.

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Al, last time I bowled, not only did I bowl like your son ( in the gutter) but I managed to fall down. How can one fall down in such a gentlemanly non-contact sport as bowling????? I managed! Slippery floor, soleless shoes was my excuse LOL.

Suzy if you have condensation, you might want to air out those bags/boxes just a tad. Too much of a good thing isn't that good.

Jam, do you have anything of the leftover Colorado Blizzard II coming your way or not? I know my mom in MN is crying for moisture for her gardens and so far, pretty scant.

Mone, I don't know what to tell you to do with the splindly sprouted tubers. Part of me would advise you to break off the sprouts and let the tuber conserve energy as a normal winter dormancy, but I'm not sure. Take your chances might work just as well; or do half each way as a compromise?

I'm immersed in a little side project and then the priority here will be cutting up fallen trees from the recent winds/waters and getting a new dahlia bed started west of the house. I should have had a bulldozer in last fall to level it, but no.....of course, I waited : )

Aptos, CA

LOL, I just put away 50 bags of tubers today in the cellar...I have SO many more to work on...have around 15 to divide in my shop and probably another 100 to dig up...hahahaha...it this rate I will be finished in March..yikes...oh well...Jan 1 2007...a dig divide marathon day!

Gresham, OR(Zone 8a)

say what are you sharing for sasbe? dmail me also :)

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Oh my, Sudhira. Only 50 bags???!!! LOL
Guess you will be done in time to just put them back into the ground, LOL
What a gal you are!

Chicago, IL

50 bags? And still more? Are you planning to expand that beautiful bed of yours? :-P
Won't it be all right to leave them in the ground for winter?

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Sudhira- so good to have you post. I was worried you had abandoned us for Hollywood.... or something worse! I ran into a dahlia seller last year when Grannymarsh was out for the Tulip Festival: he was still digging up some of his 10,000 plants in APRIL. Can you imagine? That is a serious obsession.

Keep on digging girl! I read from posts in the warmer climates that only short number of weeks like 6-8 is used to keep the tubers 'dormant' so you should be in good shape. Really good shape from all that exercise!

A gal brought in maybe ten clumps of dahlias to our office yesterday and I spent several hours dividing them in the comfortable environs of our conference room LOL! Thank Heaven a vacuum cleaner is available, and that I brought lots of bags and newspaper. But it felt good to get dirty hands and blue No Blot marks all over my fingers again.

Don't be a stranger....

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Oh, Annie, you just can't keep your hands off those tubers, can you? LOL
I thought you were sick of dahlia tubers, hehehehehe
I can just imagine the mess you made in the conference room! LOL

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

You should have seen the little worms, Carol! Right there on the tables where up to 50 professionals gather every day LOL!~The gal didn't wash her clumps other than a quick rinse. So there were worms, dirt, roots and stems ,a few rotten tubers, spray bottle to try to clean up my dahlia cutting targets: every array of cutting tool I own, Sharpies, No Blot pencils.... right on their little conference tables (covered in newspaper of course LOL) It was Heaven! I know I grouse about the cold/wet work of digging dahlias in the late Fall months, but it was 70 degrees and light in there. With cable TV! That's my kind of dahlia dividing!

Unfortunately, I was not paid for the hours I spent there :) but she got her tubers divided and back, and I got the extras to donate to the flooded farmers- well worth the effort.

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Yep, sounds like you were in heaven then, LOL
And those poor worms! Hope you donated them to the outside, LOL

Delhi, IA

Pooch, Western Iowa got 6 inches but not a flake hit here. Just more rain. Well at least it's moisture. Sounds like you had quite a picnic on the office table!! Seems like you just can't keep a dahlia enthusiast down____rather away from the prduct. And one of my last attempts at bowling ended up with me in a pile also. How I remember the feeling!! You just can't jump up quick enough before someone else arrives to see if you are actually hurt.

Sudhira, You aren't warm enough that yours can stay in the ground over winter, or is this effort just for the fun and exercise?

Pitimpinai, Are you getting more and more shoots on your tubers or have things kind of come to a standstill?

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

I just checked my tubers which I am storing at work this afternoon. I had stored them last year there too but wasn't happy with the tubers at all. So this year, I put them in peat moss (actually broke down and bought a bale), totally covered the tubers, and put them in the same area as last year. Last year I stored the tubers in sawdust and the tubers weren't covered very well so they dried up pretty bad.
The tubers felt great!!!
The peat moss is still quite moist so I think that is helping.
Was glad to see/feel that.

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Good report there Carol. Glad they're holding up for you.

I went out and really dug deep in a couple coolers of tubers last night and found my first rotters- only 3 so far, and one little root-end that was soft and needed trimming/re-storing. The ones that were total smushy rot were not suprising. I had labelled the tape on that pack of tubers "Ferncliff Copper soaked in bleach 24 hours" LOL

So don't do that to your tubers! It was quite a mistake to make. Other than those few, things look great. One even still has it's little half inch sprout exactly preserved as when I wrapped it in November.

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Wow, a little sprout, huh? Hum, very interesting.
Will be interesting to see how they all do the rest of the winter tho. Is to get very cold starting tomorrow so.....
But am glad you didn't find anymore than your boo-boo ones. Your memory must be going if you left them in that long, LOL

Appleton, WI(Zone 5a)

Well jeez Pooch, now you need a new 7'er for this year.

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Seven footer? No way: I have Karma Sangria and Haley Jane who both topped the 8 foot mark most of the season. I might have another Ferncliff Copper somewhere, but I can't recall if I soaked all the tubers off it for a day or not. :(

Daisyruffles: I just spent 3 hours driving or sitting on the icy/snowy freeway home from SEattle. I mean NOT moving for up to half an hour. I am soooo glad to be home: it was a skating rink, parking lot and terrifying experience all rolled into one, and I am an experienced snow driver. You are right, it is going to get cold and that spells driving doom for those in the frozen Pacific NW. I already have 2 inches of snow on my car in under an hour, but that should let up through the night. I will just breathe deeply and check tubers through the cold spell to relax.

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Oh my, it sounds bad up there. Here it has snowed off and on all day but the sunshine kept coming out, then snow again, then dark clouds, on and on. Not cold enough to stick yet but..........who knows what tomorrow will be like here.
Stay home and bundle up, then Annie. Hope you don't have to go out again for work? Sounds very nasty up there.
Just breathe heavy on your tubers and they should stay happy, LOL

Boxford, MA(Zone 6a)

And it's been so mild in MA that I've been weeding! Either getting a jump on the Spring mess, or continuing Fall clean up; I can't decide which! I'm finding it very easy to pull up woody weeds (honeysuckle) from cool, wet soil; no frozen ground, no snow. I actually planted some crocosmia bulbs that I forgot to put in.
So, guess who has a rip-roaring case of poison ivy in the middle of January?

Back to subject matter, I checked my tubers. Only one rotted, and it was a no-name, so I don't know how upset I should be ;-) and the others are a little squidgey. I just made that term up to mean a tiny bit shriveled and not so firm. I sprayed them down and dumped an armload of wet pine needles in their box. The ones in the best shape (perfectly fine) are clumps that I pulled and tossed in a box with dirt attached! So much for fussy treatments. A lady at my local greenhouse says it's OK to roll tubers in pure captan. Hhmm; I thought it should be mixed w/water and diluted, otherwise it is very poisonous. She told me that this is how commercial potato growers prevent rot--- yikes! At any rate, I'm going to have to check these tubers often b/c the temps are just too warm to have them properly dormant. My EE's are sprouting.

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Jax, you darn warm east coaster! YOU< YOU STOLE OUR EL NINO WEATHER! GIVE IT BACK! Here is my beloved little car with white knuckles of mine removed 2 hours earlier. It is still snowing lightly and will no doubt reach a foot by the time it ends, followed by way sub freezing temps. It's just all wrong! It was supposed to be warmer and drier here......

I just saw the very early purply buds on the alders along the freeway and posted about them the other day. Heck, tonight I couldn't even SEE the freeway. I only hoped to stay on it going forward. Lane Lines were completely absent, what used to be 3 lanes was down to one "best driver that gets up the hilly terrain gets to create the lane."

Carol, thank heaven I have the next two days off. If it doesn't thaw out, I'll either quit my job or call in stranded for Saturday when I'm next due to work. If Connell's Swan Island and Dan's all had tuber sales for 10 cents each in the next two days, I wouldn't even DREAM of getting on the road to take advantage of them! That's how bad it is right now. All we have to do is get DD to the airport late Monday; hopefully it will thaw by then.

Jax, your post makes me need to google Captan. I had pictured it as a dip/solution for tubers, but it sounds like a powder too. I might have eaten some baked, with sour cream for supper! LOL

Thumbnail by Poochella
Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Wow, you sure do have snow!!!
It must be pretty bad if you wouldn't even do tubers for 10 cents, LOL
Nope. It ain't worth it to drive and kill yourself in this kind of weather.
So hope you do get your DD off on Monday. It should be better by then. Enjoy her tho now!

Appleton, WI(Zone 5a)

Tough break on the snow **snicker** How much do you normally get a winter?
I did check my tubers and they were drying out on top, I wanted to not fill the containers all they way up and leave the top 1/4 empty - but I didn't. I wet them down some.

We had some old Captan at work for spraying fruit trees. It went to the clean sweep since it's a wettable powder which I hate because they don't stay in solution well. Probably better to use for rolling in. I didn't come up with any other fungicide to use from work this year, last year I used Clearry 3336 which is listed for dip applications.

Boxford, MA(Zone 6a)

Hey, GIMMEE OUR SNOW!!!! I LOVE snow!! When it is just cool and wet, my garden looks like a disaster, and I have to got out and poke around, then I get poison ivy!!! When there is a blanket of snow, I can sit back and imagine all my little daffodil bulbs and perennial roots sleeping in little nightcaps.... LOL... there is nothing like seeing crocus poking through a coating of snow in April.
There's still time!!!
All kidding aside, it isn't fair b/c we are all armed and ready for 2+ feet of snow; I have shovels, boots, gloves, ski bibs and paw-friendly ice melt at the front door. I've paid extra for a 4wd truck and all-wheel drive cars. My mail box is tied on with bungee cords, and my poor plow contractor is going to starve. Also, we'll have a drought in spring!!! Lousy global warming...

Boxford, MA(Zone 6a)


Thumbnail by Jax4ever
Boxford, MA(Zone 6a)

This would look beautiful coated in snow! That reflector was wishful thinking in September! There is a huge dent in the arbor behind it, made by the plow. I mounted a stake in a bucket of plaster to mark the arbor a few feet BEFORE they hit it again. This is my border garden where I've planned for the dahilas to grow. The top drive is an easement road on my land that travels through the woods to 2 new houses behind me; I try to plant for privacy. Between the two rows of stone is about 25 feet; it is 55 feet to the far tip, and there's another 10 X 25 feet to the left. Over the arbor is "New Dawn" rose; the front hedge is "The Fairy" rose, and the shrubs to the rear are lilacs. In between are various perennials that I am constantly re-evaluating. It gets 12 hours of dappled sun spring to fall. The question: HOW MANY dahlias will fit???

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Would a dozen make you happy or would it take two dozen?

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Jax, sorry about your poison ivy! It's not safe any time of year from that stuff.

I love your arbor and rockery. Are you saying that you've got 25 x 55', plus 10 x 25' of sunny or even partly sunny area for dahlias? That's a lot of space! Your neighbors using the easement will have a display to knock their socks off this summer and fall. You can get a lot of plants in there; even more, spacing at 2 ft intervals. ooooooohh :) Can't wait to see the 'after' photo.

Boxford, MA(Zone 6a)

Yup, another 10 X 25 feet that's a tiny bit shadier. There is even more land, but it's full shade; I've planted hostas, foxglove and astilbe. I also divide clumps of ferns from the woods, and I've found that Jack In The Pulpits will divide and grow like crazy with a little love. Unfortunaly, poison ivy loves all these conditions, too. It has the unpleasant habit of growing UNDER the roots of perennial plants and emerge between them! Ask me how I know that!!!

If I could start and handle a big chainsaw, I'd sure have more sunny areas!!!

Pirl, I'm a seriously addicted plant nut. NO amount of plants will please me until I drop dead from heat stroke or frostbite while I'm out there fussing over the garden!!!

I guess an attraction to dahlias is that you have a tuber to own and handle!!! (Picture mad scientist me, sitting in the basement, stroking and talking to tubers). I have a dozen or so in storage, plus I've accidentally ordered 50 more from various suppliers. If I toss a few older perennials, I can cram a lot more in there!

This message was edited Jan 14, 2007 1:32 PM

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Now, Jax, if you fall over from heat stroke how will you tend your dahlias? Just start earlier in the day......sunrise.

Appleton, WI(Zone 5a)

Jax - I got it all laid out for you already.

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Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Hee Hee Al! What ARE you thinking- wasting that entire strip with a paltry path? Tsk tsk. There could be another 20-30 dahlias tucked in there. It's good exercise to try to weasel in between those plants.

What did you order Jax? I'm going to start a new thread with that topic. Standby....

Boxford, MA(Zone 6a)

LOL Al!!!
You are going to be wisked away to England to design gardens for the Queen if you keep coming up with such innovation!!!
The path you drew exists, but I was thinking of doing away with it and just plunking down the paving stones randomly between plants so I can cut w/o getting muddy. Pooch, good ab excercises- kinda like hula-hoop or the watutsi!!!
I have a very real looking plastic skull on the right just inside the arbor. I don't know if you can make it out. I use it for impromptu "Hamlet" performances for unsuspecting visitors... "Alas, poor Yorick; I knew him, Horatio..."

Appleton, WI(Zone 5a)

There was no path - stop stealing my ideas

As a certified dahliascape architect I am full of ideas. Hey Annie - this fits your new look.

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Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

LOL! Now you are at the absolute top of your game Al! Love the fin! I think with some good composting and mulch, some solar heat lamps and reflectors, one could give Mt Poochberg a shot for a few fast blooming dahlias, hoping to high heaven that there were rocks below the ice so it all wouldn't sink into shark territory.

That is too funny! Reminds me of the mound I shovelled this afternoon.

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