Reving up for 2012!

Noni MorrisonFebruary 20, 2012

Last year my first ever batch of chickens who were supposed to keep the dahlias clean of bugs, carefully scratched out all my labels I had carefully planted in each hill with the dahlias! Whenever I found one over the summer that I knew was correct I wired it to the support post as I should have done in the first place. Yesterday it was pleasant enough to go out and chart my ground (I leave them in the ground over the winter, with extra mulch) and compare it with 3 series of photos I took over last summer. I now know what most of them are, a good step to dividing and restarting and re-organizing this year.

It felt so good to be out working and thinking about dahlias again! I haven't ordered many new ones but need to do some selective elimination this year as there is only so much space. I came up with 158 plants, only a few are duplicates. I probably have 20 more coming.

I think I will sit and try to figure out which ones I don't love enough to keep!

I might actually be BORED with a few of them, but sure as shooting if I get rid of them I will miss them!

I do sell the flowers in the summer, but only have so much land.

What are the rest of you doing to get the season under way?

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My son brought me over 20, 10 ft lengths of rebar. I have a carborundum blade on a mitre saw so no problem cutting them into 5 ft lengths. First a coat of rusty metal primer, then a coat of rustoleum Hunter Green. That will take couple more days. This will give me a total of 80 stakes. I made up a few supports from inverted tomato cages a couple of years back but prefer stakes. Then guess I better do another tuber check and possibly start to divide. Steve in Baltimore County.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 6:17AM
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Linda's Garden z6 Utah

Hi Liza.

I have spring fever in a BIG way and can't wait to get outside and do something. The snow has all melted away (for now) but it is still too wet to do anything outside.

I am planning on starting some of my dahlias early in the house so hopefully they will be blooming by mid July. I will probably start them in a few weeks. I will also be starting tomato and pepper seeds. Guess I will have to be happy with indoor gardening for a while longer.

I have ordered 10 new ones and received several more in trades so I will have a lot more plants than I did last year and I just can't wait to see them bloom.


Linda :)

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 7:23PM
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keriann_lakegeneva(5B WI/IL border)

I hear Ya Linda

I have Spring fever too. We have had such a mild and no snow winter.. but then we might get 4" of snow tonight.... what the heck...... I am over it and ready for Spring!


    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 6:24PM
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Well, down the coast here in SF, due to the remarkable lack of winter so far, I am restless to get started also but have limited space. So I decided to clear one of the last 2 'plots' of ground I have and plan to drop about 9-10 dahlias in it next month.

Half the spots are going to dahlias that didn't do well where they are/were - the rest are new ones. I plan on adding ranunculas and glads around them so I should have a heck of a colorful show come July from this previous weed and blackberry bush overgrown area.

Because I have had mixed success over the years with bulbs mailed from the major growers, I am experimenting with some chain store bought tubers versus a few bought from a higher class Garden Center store and yet still ordered a few fill ins from Dan and Swan and Am. Meadows.

I plan to carefully keep track of who goes where and see if my hypothesis is correct that the Garden Ctr tubers ALWAYS bloom, whereas I seem to lose about 1/3rd of my mail order tubers every year. The final straw for me was digging up a HUGE tuber that I ordered from a grower last year that never came up and never bloomed. When I removed it from the ground, I noticed it had NO EYE at all, so of course it did nothing. The tuber itself is hard and healthy but totally devoid of an eye. (Don't ask why I didn't notice that LAST year - I must be totally devoid of an eye also!)

Granted I can always ask for a replacement but I am an ornery sort and I figure if a grower can't tell they are sending a tuber with NO EYES, then I probably don't want another tuber from them anyway! And again, every packaged tuber I ever bought from a chain store or garden center always bloomed. (Not necessarily the VARIETY they claimed it was but oh well... with shipping charges added to mail order tubers, they are always cheaper from a store anyway)


    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 9:58PM
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Linda's Garden z6 Utah

I have always had good luck with the mail order tubers that I have received from Swan Island. I have been ordering from them for years and have only had a couple that didn't grow. I did let them know and they did send replacement tubers the next year. This year I have ordered more from Swan Island and some from a couple other growers that I have not tried before (Lynch Creek and Red Hawk). Hopefully they all grow. I have been looking at the tubers for sale in the stores around here and haven't seen anything yet that I had to have. But I will keep looking:) I also am planning to go the tuber sale the local dahlia society will be having in April. I hear they sell them pretty cheap and I am very excited to see what they have!

It has been a really mild winter here too with not much snow to speak of. I REALLY hope that mother nature doesn't decide to dump on us later and we end up with a nice early spring.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 8:55AM
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Noni Morrison

I usually pick up one or two new tubers at Garden Centers but order all my others from tried and true distributors. When I have ordered from major, nationally known garden catalog distributors (As opposed to dahlia farm distributors) I have found way too many broken off clusters of tubers. They might have 6-8 different tubers on the thing and if I am lucky 1 or two will actually still be attached to the eye that is supposed to go with it. I always look at them now to make sure I can see a viable eye on the messy monster before I buy it. Too easy to have no eye, or to have had the eye broken off and withered. And no, these certainy don't grow better for me then the ones I order!

Last year I did not have a good result from a particular grower of big beautiful dahlias, but I ordered again because other people have loved theirs and I liked the pictures, and one of the few that did sprout was gorgeous. I am wondering if someone needs cataract surgery or new glasses! OR Maybe they were teaching the grandchildren to cut and prepare tubers and these got by them? Here's hoping the new glasses happened!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 9:42PM
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Linda's Garden z6 Utah

I looked at the tubers at Wal-Mart the other day. They didn't have much that interested me except AKITA. I am thinking about going back and buying that one. Has anyone grown that one?

I also looked at Lowes and they don't have them out here yet. I will check back in a couple weeks to see what they have.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 6:58PM
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mytime(3/4 Alaska)

For the first time ever, I may have lost most of my tubers in winter storage...and for the first time ever, the majority of what I had stored were expensive "bought from grower" tubers. But I cleaned them and dipped them in a clorox solution, and some look like they might make it. I'm afraid "Desert Storm" is a goner, though. Since it looks like I lost many, I've been checking out what's available in the chain stores...I've actually had wonderful luck with those dahlias in the past. This year, the news isn't so great. I've bought 3 packages. I've carefully inspected the one from Home Depot, and will most likely be returning it, as not only do I not see any eyes on any of the 3 tubers, but they also look so mangled that I'm not sure they would grow well anyway. Of the 2 I bought at Fred Meyer, one is doing fine and the other I returned because it molded. I had a difficult time finding a replacement, as nearly every package of every variety that I inspected when I returned it had molded already. Somewhere along the line, there has been a serious problem with that entire batch of tubers. Normally, whenever my dahlia supply gets low (usually from not getting them out of the garden in the fall in time), I just buy a pack of mixed seeds and save the tubers from my favorite ones...not a single pack of dahlia seeds that I can find locally right now, except for small pom-poms, which is not what I'm looking for. My "dahlia hedge" might be non-existent this year :-(

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 12:19PM
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steve22802(7a VA)

Linda, I got a package of Akita from Walmart last year and I liked it a lot. I would recommended it, just make sure to stake it because the flowers are big and heavy. I also got Kelvin Floodlight and Onesta from Walmart and they were two of my favorites.

I got several new varieties from Swan Island last year and I especially liked Maaran, L'ancresse and Victoria Ann. Mystique grew very well but the color seemed dull to me. I think I'm going to try giving my dahlias some partial shade this year it seemed like many of the colors were washed out during the height of the summer heat and then greatly improved in the fall.

I've been hauling my tubers up from the basement today. What's the best way to stimuate then to start sprouting? I'd like to try multiplying some them from cuttings.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 9:41AM
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Well I am back and bought a bag of dahlias at sams club to start this year. I have a new 85 pound puppy which needs to be in the back yard. So a new dahlia garden will keep me back there with him.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 3:02PM
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Good to see you again craftsman. Steve in Baltimore County.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 3:14PM
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Same here Steve.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 4:11PM
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Linda's Garden z6 Utah

I have decided I will go buy the AKITA and try that one. I do like the ones with big flowers the most. I already have Kelvin Floodlight and that one grows really well for me.

Steve, I read on another forum that the best way to get your tubers to eye up, is to put them in a sealed baggie with plenty of moist potting soil and place in a warm spot and they should start sprouting within a week. I have never tried this before but I am gonna try it.

It looks like everyone is ready for spring! I can't wait to get things growing again. I have several tuber orders and I am very excited to grow some new ones this year. I just placed another order for Wyn's Farmer John, Wyn's King Salmon, Sir Alf Ramsey, AC Chicken Ranch and Northlake Pride.

Linda ;)

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 9:04AM
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Farmer John is a goodie

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 12:28PM
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Linda's Garden z6 Utah

Vikingcraftsman, What kind of puppy did you get? I just got another dog too. She is a Siberian Husky. I am gonna have to spend a lot of time in the yard with her teaching her to stay out of the gardens. My other 2 dogs (american eskimos) know that they are to play on the lawn and stay out of the flowers but I have a feeling she is going to be a challenge.

I just went to Wal-mart and bought Akita. I was tempted to buy the Lavender Perfection too but I think I may wait and see what Lowes has. I wish they would hurry up and put them out.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 1:46PM
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Ok I have a pure bred german shepard. This will be my last dog so I went all out. Man has to know his limitation. The wife ordered for this years garden. 4 St. Croix
3 Farmer John's 3 Wynn's Bewitched
3 Mauve Mist We are back.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 11:01PM
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Linda's Garden z6 Utah

Viking, What a great dog you have! I also have Wynn's Bewitched and I like it a lot. The ones I have ordered for this year are:
Farmer John
Wynn's King Salmon
Sir Alf Ramsey
Northlake Pride
AC Chicken Ranch
Elma Elizabeth

And with the gift certificate from Swan Islands photo contest I ordered Vassio Meggos, American Beauty, Honeydew, Shockwave and Mango Madness.

I may have gone a little overboard but I couldn't help myself :)


    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 6:31PM
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You go for it girl.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 8:22PM
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Linda's Garden z6 Utah

I just got back from Las Vegas today and the weather was so nice down there. I got a little sunburned. Now I really have spring fever! I just checked my tubers that are stored in the garage and I see that some of them are sprouting. Guess I will be potting those up soon!


    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 10:58PM
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I have been taking my dahlias out of their light cage and into the sun for three days in a row. Almost time to pinch a couple. We are way ahead of normal this year.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 5:51PM
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Linda's Garden z6 Utah

Viking, How long have they been potted up? I have 15 currently in pots and I am just starting to see a few sprouts poking out of the dirt. We are going to have some really nice weather for the next week so I am take mine outside for some real sunshine.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 6:47PM
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Just a week in pots. But I had the bag for a couple weeks just laying on the floor in the kitchen. It was warm there so they all sprouted. Still waiting for farmer john to arrive. Wynn,s can't feel the excitment I am feeling.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 9:29PM
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