I've seen some discussion about the search for low cost, attractive dahlia stakes and thought that this might help those of you in New England.
This week's Ocean State Job Lot flier advertises dark green, 6ft, spiral stakes for $1.59 each. They look like these advertised at Gardener'supply:
I haven't put hands on them yet so I cannot vouch for their sturdiness.
The sale dates on the flier are 3/15-3/21/07.
pretty dahlia stakes $1.59 each
I've seen some discussion about the search for low cost, attractive dahlia stakes and thought that this might help those of you in New England.
Here's a blurry picture:
I really don't think these will do for dahlias. Or even for tomatoes. Both of these are heavy when you have the blooms or tomatoes on the bush.
But hey, try it and see!
I bought 2- 100 ft. rolls of 40 gauge aluminum wire. I'm thinking of attaching it to metal stakes (either the spiral, the green garden stakes, or rebar) at one-foot intervals using perforated aluminum strapping (pipe hangers) and a nut and bolt. I figure this will give me the lateral support needed, but I'll still need a metal stake every 3 to 4 feet. Thanks for the tip! This is getting pricey!
Was checking out the Agway flier and they have substantial looking green metal stakes: 4, 5 and 6ft for $2.60, $3.20 and $3.60.
They also have 50ft rolls of 4ft high green vinyl coated wire mesh for $20.
Don't know if this is cheap enough to do 160 dahlias, but if the stakes are more substantial, you might need less.
Sis, Excellent! I have an Agway very near by. They don't seem to send out flyers; I wonder if all Agways run the same sales? Well, I'll have to go see! Thanks!!!
If you google Agway, the weekly sales flyer will come up as I discovered when looking for the nearest Agway. It does look like all Agways have the same sale.
I got the spiral stakes that were advertised in the Ocean State Job Lot flyer and am delighted.
They're metal with a green vinyl coat, and tough enough that I could not bend them using 2 hands.
Height is 6ft and width appears to be 3/8in.
Could you please take a digital picture of them? To show us all the real thing?
I just made one last attempt at obtaining rebar. I went to the local construction supply place near me, and they sell their rebar for $3 per 5' piece!!!! I give up.
I can get the green metal stakes you are talking about in 6' lengths for $2.50 at HD, and the 4' for $2.
I still haven't made it to Agway.
It sounds like Ocean State Job Lots would be unique to RI. I wonder if they have diff. names in other states? Sounds like a job for Google!
AAhhrgghh! MA has RI Job Lot stores, but they're all on the Cape. I'm about as far North in this state as you can get, but the NH locations are far from me, too. I wonder if a 4-hour drive is worth it if you calculate gas? I have a F-150 pickup, and it takes $60 to fill up these days...
I don't have one of those. If they are 6' and 3/8" metal and painted then it sounds like a good deal.
I should count and see how many stakes I really need. I may have 160 dahlias, but I have lots of bedding size.
I guess flower sizes AA and A's would need the tougher stakes. If I have a miniature flower size on a 5' plant, I assume it would need less support, and could get by with a (cheap)bamboo stake. Is this correct?
Not so fast Melissa, my plants that needed the most support were BB's and an M. Yes the big ones do need support, but there is the rest of the plant to support also.
Al is right.
You don't need to stake all. To me, anything below 3' do not need staking really. Or at least a heavy type of stake.
School of Hard Knocks, here I come!
I'm going to have to count on that 4' garden fencing I bought. I'm hoping I can stake at wider intervals (fewer stakes).
Why do I envision 25' of fencing flat on the ground? HHmm...
Your "flat on ground" description made me wonder if you might be able to use the wire mesh as a "grow through" support. You could support the mesh at the 4 corners and intervals in between and have the mesh horizontal and the dahlias would grow through like a peony support.
Hi sis- I was thinking of that, too. Then I wondered if I would wind up having more stakes than if I just staked each plant? I could try some like this. I have the space.
After looking at growers' fields in photos, it looks like most of them use small gauge PVC (yuck) with single horizontal wires running every 12". I don't see how that would work; I'd think the torque would pull up all the stakes, unless they're cemented into the ground. Which, at this point, is certainly an option!
For gate posts, no cement and 1/3 in the ground is "supposed" to be enough. If that works for posts holding a gate, you'd think it would work for a stake. So for a 6ft stake, 2ft in the ground and 4ft above ground should be enough to keep it in place. You could always tap around the base of a stake with a small sledgehammer to make the soil more like concrete.
Just read your thread ,do you have a farm store in your part of the country? I was thinking the stakes used for electric fence,some are pretty tall and about as big around as rebar.
SorryI don't remember It been a while, also the price of steel shot thru the roof last fall and fence wire doubled.
Yes!!! I noticed steel and copper are sky-high. 2 men were recently killed around here: they entered an electric substation to steal copper wiring. It didn't occur to them that cutting into the substation wiring might send a charge of about 41,000 volts through them... oops.
We are an extremely horsey area. I'll check at the feed store.
I explained what I needed to one helpful store manager. He told me to buy 10' rebar and then buy a sawzall to cut it. Hmm, if I spend $200 on a sawzall, I won't have saved any money. I could buy deluxe wire tomato cages for that.
There are cheaper reciprocating saws than Milwaukee's Sawzall, that's the Cadillac. Still, I can't imagine something as thick as rebar would be much fun to cut with a reciprocating saw.
I've seen big pipes cut with a hand pipe cutter, I wonder if that would work on the lumpy surface of rebar? That would be a much cheaper tool.
Hum, speaking of pipe, I'm thinking that the 10ft lengths of 1/2 and 3/4 inch pipe I got at Home Depot to use as fence posts (I needed something that I could pound in with a slege hammer because of all the rocks) were around $3.50 each. They were painted black & you could cut them in half easily with a pipe cutter. I don't know if they come in 12ft lengths, but that'd work better to give you two 6ft lengths. They pounded in nicely without bending.
This looks like a good price. Not tall enough for all, but might help for some.
Thank you, sis! Those are great! (Only 48, tho') They would be fine for some, plus, when my bigger stakes come crashing down, those would be good for emergency back-up, to keep a blossom from hitting the ground.
HEY-Y-Y!! What are you doing indoors? Get to work on that garden! ;-)
Me, I just came in for coffee... I decided to completey re-seed the lawn (something that should NOT be decided at 2 pm... but it's supposed to be rainy and yucky, so it's perfect grass-growing weather.
Jax - are you going to use the green vinyl 4' tall fencing? If so, you could plant on both sides of it, right?
Those plant stakes are 3/32/ inch thick. That's less than 1/8 inch. Not strong enough for a big dahlia. I'd still go with the Ocean State Job Lot spiral stakes. Sure there aren't any OSJL's near you, there are so many in MA?
Not out in the garden B/C it's drizzling. I'm on vacation this week and it is supposed to rain 5 out of the next 7 days. Last year I moved my office during my April vacation and it was warm and sunny every day. No fair.
Jax, these are the OSJL locations in MA...aren't any near you? My stakes are tuff stuff.
Norwood is closest; it is an hour both ways. Why are they all clustered in the South?
What I have isn't the green fencing, it's the similar 4' galvanized steel. I cut 2' lengths, then cut the bottom wire off (to make prongs) and folded it into a right angle. By using garden staples and the prongs, I thought I could anchor them in the soil, placing each next to each other like a row of v's= vvvvvvvvvv. I could plant one tuber in each of the v's angle... I think if I had all the fencing angles connected, there would be greater chance the whole deal could fall down. Plus, I will inevitably have to adjust their placement due to rocks made of Leavitite (as it leave it, it's too heavy).
Do you think this would work???
Sis, my guess is the wire would topple.
My wire cages are cylinders and hold up peonies, Siberian iris etc. I've needed to attach them to rebar at one side (the back to conceal the rebar) to anchor them. Since the cylinder is more stable than the folded arrangement, but still requires a rebar anchor, seems like the above won't hold up.
If you use a zigzag, but have a one foot length at the ends then a bend rather than a cut every two feet, you could plant dahlias on alternating sides. The wire won't topple, but only one side of the dahlia will be supported.
When my dahlias with dinnerplate sized blooms got wet with rain last year, they would be ok on the side that was against the fence, but the stems would break on the other side. I ended up using the wire cylinders or individual supports for each branch. I only had about 6 so that was possible.
If I were going to do a row of big dahlias...I might do the zigzag with bends every foot and put a row of zigzag wire on each side of the dahlias. If you wire the two lengths of wire to each other at every other bend at the top and botom and put a rebar at each end of the row and in the middle, I think that the wire wouldn't topple and the dahlias would be supported.
However, this way you'd need two 25ft lengths of the 4ft wire and 3 rebar per 12 dahlias. It would be stable, but would the cost be prohibitive? You'd need 27 rolls of wire if they come in 25ft lengths for 160 dahlias and about 40 6ft rebar. That sounds like way too much money!
Could you just run string tightly in between rebar that's been pounded in good and deep?
Whomever, I'm too tired to read back, pardon me, but I will say this:
I've read of two parties using the plastic snow-type grid fencing as grow- through- support for 4 ft dahlias. It did not work well. The width was prohibitive to tend the innermost plants much, didn't offer the support needed for all side branches.
You don't need a stinkin' $200 Sawzall: get a hacksaw with a metal-cutting blade (or a new blade) for $20, add a little elbow grease and that will slice through half inch rebar in a minute. I've done it. I'll do it again soon.
Jax, I don't want to discourage you, but your zig zag thingy sounds like it would fall. Those plants get heavy, especially in bloom. Add rain and a breeze to the mix and you would likely be disappointed with broken branches and flowers in the dirt.
I am stuck to the stake and tie method: Rebar being the favored stake, or a green flanged fencepost. Ties are from cut up nylons/pantyhose, Tshirts. They are flexible, reusable, and you can always cinch up that stray branch if a big storm is coming etc. The cotton t shirts really take a beating in the sun and last only 1-2 seasons. Nylon is much more durable: lasts for years.
If I get my new bed done, IF being the big question, I will go with intermittent green fenceposts with crossbows and wires at different heights running their length mentioned above. But I bet I'll be in there with pantyhose fussing over the stray branch or extra heavy bushy plant as needed. Haven't figured out the cross bow construction just yet, but I will.
The fencing I have isn't snow fencing, it's pretty heavy aluminum. I got special cutters for it. It comes in 50' rolls; 4 ' high, for about $32. I made a bunch of row covers for my winter sewing by tying sections of a clear shower curtain to 1/2 circles of it. Then I bent a bunch of pieces into my right-angle sections, just to see how sturdy it was. I also thought of sticking bamboo stakes horizontally between the openings as needed to support laterals. I bought 100' of the same gauge aluminum wire for very cheap-- do you think that several rows of wire (well anchored with rebar) will hold up AAs??
I recently had a HUGE area of my lawn cleared of trees!!!! This gives me a new sun bed!!! I am thrilled... pirl got an eyeful as I emailed her all the pics. I HAVE to find an asthetically pleasing stake system for that bed; it will be mostly border cultivars and perennials, but it would be so lovely to have big flowers, I HAVE to put in a row of A's or B's. My DB gave me 3 wrought iron finialed stakes for Xmas; those are around 3-4 ft. and will go in the yard.
I already have lots of different stakes from all my plants I've tried to grow: about 7 green coated metal, 8 or so green flanged fence posts, tons of bamboo, 5 big wooden dowels-- this is going to be a motley arrangement!!! My challenge is to make it look as nice as possible while still holding up the flowers (assuming I get them to grow!!!).
Congrats on getting the trees cleared Sis. Did you bend or break DH's arm?
Still think the zigzag thing will tip even with bamboo.
If you ran wire between stakes, would the wire be touching the stems? It might be kind of sharp. Can you pad it with pipe insulation where it gets near the stems?
I'd use the stakes to anchor one cylinder of wire around each big dahlia. I'd spray the bamboo, dowels and wire green so it'll blend in. If you pound the stakes enough they won't be too obvious once the dahlias get far enough along.
Poochella, where does the cross bow come in? Do you shoot the dahlias that flop over?
Unfortunately, DH gave the green light on the trees only when I said I'd pay for it! My temp. agency seems to have a contract for me with the IRS for the summer (June through Sept.). (I say "seems" b/c I've passed the background check, but my fingerprints still have to be run. Unless they find out about my dealings here at DG, I should be OK... ;-) ) Anyway, that means I'll have "my own money", so DH wants the $$ for any yard/garden work. It was actually very reasonable- only $800 for about 5 trees and some brush. Before:
Those ruts in the lawn took me all day yesterday to try and fix. The area between the white birch and the pond's edge is about 15-20', and maybe 25' long; all full sun! I am going to have to add a couple of yards of compost. Not this week! (Maybe I shouldn't have fixed the ruts if I plan to back a truck w/ compost over the lawn again.)
Sis, I am sorry about your vacation being wet. If you haven't read it, go buy "In The Heart of the Sea: The Story of the Whaling Ship Essex" by Nathaniel Philbrick. It won the National Book Award a few years ago.
Back to staking: are you taking into account that I am using landscape fabric staples along the bottom? (She said with anxious wimper.)
My sprouting tubers are about 12" below the lights. I know, too far, but I'm at the end of my (light) chain!
Then it doesn't sound as though the tips are being burned by the lights being too close.
The cleared area looks great!