Karma dahlias

flowers4u(z6 OR)May 25, 2006

Hi....another question!

I received my flats of Karma dahlias...and they're not "tubers" - should I pot them up into bigger pots before putting out into the field? They're in either 72 or 96 plug flats...

THANKS!

Wendy

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flowerfarmer

Our Karma dahlias came in 72 plug flats. We picked them up from the grower on March 20; and, we bumped them up to 4" pots. They were planted in the hightunnels on April 16. This is a photo taken in one of the hightunnels.

This is a photo of Thalia taken today, May 25 (Five weeks after planting). They grow really FAST. And, they need support netting.

If I was planting the cuttings in our field, I would bump them up for a couple of weeks. However, if you have rich, well drained soil, you may not have to do this. We find they do well with alot of watering.

Trish

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 6:42PM
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Fundybayfarm(z5westernN.S.)

Trish,
I love when you post pictures! I'm so amazed at how fast they grew, and how many you have in there. How big is that hoop house? I bought tubers, is that going to be much slower?
Cheryl

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 7:27PM
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flowers4u(z6 OR)

Trish...WOW!! I too love your pictures...it helps soo much.
THANKS. Well, my soil is clay, it has been amended, but is still kind of heavy and watering and support netting isn't a problem. When I see your high tunnel, it makes me want one even more... :) But, that is for another year.

Our nights are still cool...so, bumping up might not hurt. But, I was also thinking of planting these guys through lightweight weedcloth, to help with both weeds and warmth. Do you see any issues with that? Of course, with my other dahlias, can't quite do that!

Thanks again, and I'll try to post pics too! I only have 288 to plant - of the Karmas at least!

Wendy

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 1:27AM
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flowerfarmer

Yes, Cheryl, tubers are going to take longer. Dahlias tubers planted in the field mid May here don't usually start blooming until the first of August. We started planting tubers the end of April. We're hoping those bloom mid to late July. We expect the Karma dahlias to keep producing up to the point where our field dahlias start producing. Anyway, you could pot up your dahlias in your greenhouse, and let them grow for a bit before planting them out in the field.

Wendy, I asked Mr Flower Farmer what he thought about the lightweight weedcloth on your clay soil. He thought it would probably be a good for weed control. Dahlias don't like competing with weeds. And, weeding in clay soil is just no fun. As you already know that clay soil holds alot of water. Four flats of Karma dahlias is a good thing. Which ones did you get? We have our favorites!!

We have market tomorrow; and, this is what the Karma dahlias are doing today. Drives me crazy!! Of course the ten days of rain and no sun didn't help. That's just about how many days we are behind.

And, the lilies. Same story. Gotta love flower farming.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 4:45PM
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Fundybayfarm(z5westernN.S.)

Trish,
Your plants are SO healthy looking, and they look they they are planted very close together. I have potted up the karmas, they've been growing in the greenhouse for 2 weeks, and starting to form nice bushes. I am even going to leave some in there to grow all summer in large pots so that I get some earlier flowers. Do you know how to start your own plugs from the tubers? Is that how it's done, or are the plugs started from seed? I grew from seed last year and was amazed at how fast they grew and how large of a tuber formed in one season.
Cheryl

    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 6:12AM
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rita2004(8)

Flowerfarmer,
You're dahlias and lilies are beautifull. I love when you post pics. I have a question about the yellow Karma. The blooms are starting to open and it seems that some of the petals have a discoloring mark on them. I think it might be thrip damage. Does that sound right? I already sprayed them but I'm wondering if the thrips do the damabe way before the flower bud actually opens?

Thanks,

Rita

    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 8:38PM
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flowers4u(z6 OR)

Hi - Trish, I didn't get to choose my varieties, it was a special for 1st time Karma buyers from Gloeckner...but, I ended up with Thalia, Serena, Ventura, and Sangria. I hope they'll all work! Below is a the bed! The far half are the Karma dahlias, and up close are tithonia plugs. I'm not as straight a planter as you!

I hope these grow well! The tithonia will grow tall fairly quickly and provide wind protection.

The beds below are planted with other "regular dahlias" - 7 rows - about 60' x 4', not your 2 acres, but still a bit to plant! Thanks for your help!
Wendy

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 1:09AM
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flowerfarmer

Nice setup Wendy. Is that mulch on the dahlia beds? Do you have a couple rows per bed? When you have the grid on the support netting to work with, it's easier to plant straight rows. You don't want to see how not straight my annual rows are in the field. Anyway, once the plants start to grow, no one can tell. I really like Serena. It's a beautiful white with a touch of lime green in the center. Actually, I like all the varieties you got. I think you will too!!

Do you see the support netting in this picture? Do you see that it's on the ground? Do you know where it should be? It never got pulled up. The plants get so top heavy that they start leaning into their neighboring plant. Not good. I said to Mr FF that I don't think two people can effectively run this operation. His only reply was, "I never said we could." As soon as the grandkids get here, it should get better. Meanwhile we are operating full bore with very little sleep. Does not make for really fun people to be around. So, anyway, I make excuses as to why the support netting didn't get pulled up. Oh, and we have moss growing from too much rain which seaped into the hoophouses.

And, if you don't use the netting. These ugly things find their way into your dahlia beds. The dahlia is Thalia, a waterlily. You have to catch it before it opens fully like it's doing in the photo. They should have been picked a couple days ago. We don't have market until Saturday. So, I'll deadhead; and, we should have more to cut on Friday.

Another point on Karma dahlias. Those from cuttings have been virus indexed from certified virus free mother stock. Apparently, Karma dahlias from tubers are not. So, Cheryl, you'll have to keep an eye out for the virus in your plantings.

Trish

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 11:01AM
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flowerfarmer

Well, your clay soil is prettier than our clay soil. Planting in beds is hard on the back.

Rita, I remembered after I posted about your question regarding aphids causing discoloration on your dahlias. Most likely that is the problem. We have had so much heat for this time of year in Michigan. Ninety seven degrees for two straight days caused some blooms to burst.

Trish

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 1:07PM
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flowers4u(z6 OR)

Trish - thanks! No, that's not mulch...yet! It's our "clay soil!" That had been lightly tilled prior to planting the dahlias! Two rows above the Karmas - near the far end is lilies - that also had austrialian peas/rye planted over them last fall...and they're working as support netting and weed control! Although, I've had to pull some of the peas, but I'll tell you...that's lots easier than weeding!

Next step is to get the support netting out so our red heeler doesn't step on them!

We understand lack of sleep, and having more than 2 people can do! My kids are transplanting volunteer sunflowers to a new spot, (our neighbors actually) and that will give me more space in my field!

Take care,
Wendy

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 1:40PM
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flowers4u(z6 OR)

Trish --- I love my kneepads!!!

Wendy

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 2:35PM
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rita2004(8)

Trish,
Is there a site where you can look at problems with Karmas such as virus's, bugs, defiencies. I don't think it is aphids because I havn't seen any but that doesn;t mean there arn't any. I will go out and seach tomorrow again. The plants are very pretty and the blooms are ugly. It is just on two of my colors, Ventura(yellow) and Amanda. I have 5 other colors and they are fine. These two are right next to each other down the row. Any info would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Rita

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 10:50PM
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rita2004(8)

I know I just posted but I went over to the Dahlia forum and read in one of the posts about dahlia's having too much water. Could this cause the blooms like amanda and ventura to discolor? Just wondering.
Rita again.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 11:02PM
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flowerfarmer

I'm sorry, Rita, I meant thrips. I had aphids on my mind because we had an outbreak in the lilies. I've never seen aphids on the dahlias.

Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. If you look at one of my first photos, you can see a yellow edging on some of the leaves. That's from too much water. We had several days of rain; and, the dahlias in that bed got really wet from water coming in the hightunnel on one side. The leaves have since straightened out. The plants are huge. Like Pam and Frank Arnosky say, "If you don't water them, who will?"

Karma dahlias from cuttings are shipped unpinched. We have to remember to pinch them. Otherwise, they will get a really long terminal stem -- and quite possibly an ugly flower. They can also be pinched a second time. We haven't ever done the second pinch.

We had problems with Prospero last season. It was an ugly, stunted plant. The grower suggested pinching it back hard and fertilizing with a 10-10-10 solution. They seemed to straighten out later in the season.

I think the really hot, hot weather is hard on the Karmas. You might need to provide some type of shade cloth.

If this information doesn't help, you can call the grower directly. If you need his telephone number, let me know.

Trish

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 7:43AM
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rita2004(8)

Trish,
I called my friend this morning who got one third of the order of Karmas that I did and guess what, hers are doing exactly what mine are doing. We live about 45 minutes apart and now I'm starting to wonder if something was wrong with the plants. Whats the chances that we have the same fungal problem or same bug problem doing the exact same outcome. I am really getting worried. Yes I probably need that phone number for the grower of these Karma plugs. Maybe what we have is something we got when they came in. Anyway, I think I am going to spray with a fungicide like Zerotol or something close to see if it helps in the mean time.

Rita

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 1:37PM
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flowerfarmer

Oh, goodness. Sounds like they may have some quality control issues. I'll email you Bob's telephone number. When you talk to him, picture him wearing his glasses on the tip of his nose in typical Dr Doolittle style!!

Trish

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 5:27PM
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Fundybayfarm(z5westernN.S.)

So, these cuttings you order are taken from the tubers? Should I be pinching back my plants growing from the tubers? I guess I need to do some dahlia research.
I too can sympathize with all of you who don't have much help, because I don't have any! All my planting so far has been done my me, and I'm about maxed out. I wish I could have done more yesterday because we got a wonderful rain last night and this morning, but I just couldn't find the strength to keep going. My hands are falling asleep as I'm typing this. Yes, it's hard work without the help we need to just get it all done at the right time. This is the year I decide whether it's all worth it.
Cheryl

    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 7:23AM
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heidi41(z5 Mass)

Now I'm wondering also....Should I be pinching my Karma (tubers) ? I've never pinched them before. Heidi

    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 10:23AM
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flowerfarmer

To pinch or not to pinch....

There doesn't seem to be alot of information available on the Karma dahlias. I don't know how the grower does his cuttings. He did mention his "stock." From cuttings we're not allowed to save the tubers because they're patented, and the latent virus. From tubers I take it that you've divided your clumps Heidi?

We've never grown Karma dahlias from tubers in the field. I gather if pinched the plant will produce more stems per cutting as you can see in the photo. The plant also gets bushy much sooner.

Unpinched:

Pinched:

PS Cheryl, keep your chin up. We're all currently maxed out.

Trish

    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 12:01PM
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flowers4u(z6 OR)

Thanks for the help on pinching...I 've always pinched "normal, i.e. non-karma" dahlias, but wondered about pinching these cuttings. I think I will as soon as they're established! I hope by July mine outside look like Trish's do inside!

Cheryl, I find if I focus on one thing per day, i.e. planting x, or putting up netting, or weeding one spot, and try not to look at the whole field, that helps! Then, if I have time for something more, its a bonus! I have weeds, uneven paths between beds, and simply things that don't get done (inside too!) My husband on the otherhand - has a hard time not getting overwhelmed! But, he's a former fruitgrower who has 15 years of fruitgrowing experience and knows firsthand the overwhelmed feeling!

Hang in there!
Wendy

    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 1:33PM
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heidi41(z5 Mass)

Trish:
I bought the tubers from a wholesale bulb company in Mitchagan.(I'll have to look up the name later) I have 50 of them in mixed colors. Can I atleast keep my own Karma tubers to replant for next year? I'm still very confused about not being able to save the tubers because of the patent. Heidi

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 2:51PM
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flowerfarmer

Mitchagan. Ha. Pretty funny. I know that's how people in Mass say Michigan. Sorta like saying, "Park the car."

Yes, you can save your tubers. We can't save the tubers from cuttings said the grower because of the patent and the latent virus. I'm not sure we would want to save the tubers from cuttings. They don't look like a normal tuber should look like to me. They're much smaller; and, they have a weak neck just below the crown. I was wondering what the tubers look like that are sold from this wholesale bulb company in Mitchagan.

Some of the Karma dahlias are no longer patented. Maybe these are the ones sold as tubers?

Isn't there a big grower in the East? What's his name? Matt Something. Oh, yes. Matt Gerald in Bar Harbor, Maine.

I do so love how my brain functions after a day at the farmers market. And, speaking of the market -- they love the Karma dahlias. EVERYONE had the peonies. We had the dahlias.

Trish

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 7:01PM
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bfff_tx(z8b TX)

Rita
My Karmas's Amanda are the first to set buds and bloom albeit on short stems. Field planted a bit later and not G/Hse or planted possibly as earlyier (quickly), like yours. My plants are only about 12" or so and I'm concerned about the height vs. flowering (but since I have no experience with these yet, I have to go with the flow) I have relied upon the grasshoppers pinching for me *&^%$#@#$%%. I did put out a Phosperous and Potash fertiliser mix as Gloeckner's product info advises. I have to wonder if they're flowering coz of the guessed amount of fertilisers put out. I have a couple of the yellow blemishing but don't appear to be too bad. The grasshoppers love 'em. *&%$##*&l !!! Am trying a Habenero Pepper spray as Vicki S. suggested. Shall see what happens. Guineas are 5 weeks away from letting loose but I can't wait to see those guys devouring grasshoppers (beware).
Stay in touch re the blemishing problem you and SM are experiencing!

Anyone ? For stem length, on side shoots, should one let the terminal flower go or cut it?????
Thanks for any additional info.
Kim - BFFF

    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 12:08AM
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sherri1(z7 TX)

Kim,

I'm curious if you had any success w/the pepper spray, and if so what solution you used.

Thanks,
Sherri

    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 3:15PM
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rita2004(8)

My dalias that were discolored are all looking good now. I have been spraying with conserve, sevin and the habenera pepper spray and they were looking great till we have had rain showers every day for days. Vicki told those of us at the regional meeting about the habenera pepper spray and I just went to the store and bought a pound of peppers , crushed them in the blender and covered them in a bowl with about 6 cups of water and let them sit overnight. Then I took them and strained them and that water I mixed in a 2 gallon sprayer and sprayed my little sunflowers, rudebeckia and some other things till I used it up. So far the deer have left the flowers alone. The solution is very strong when you get a whiff of it. I didn't know either what mix to use, so I just tried that and nothing got burned.

Rita

    Bookmark   July 9, 2006 at 7:08PM
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