I SUCK at finding eyes!!

threeorangeboysNovember 19, 2006

So, I just dug up my tubers. Very carefully printed out the photos from all you experts so I knew what to look for. Each clump of tubers was so twisted and complex, I felt like I was ripping them all apart. I couldn't really find the eyes except on a couple of occasions. I cut them down and let them for a couple days so the eyes would "pop" as you recommended, Poochella. Oh dear. Well, it was my first try so if none of them come back, I'll have to try again next year!

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grannymarsh(z4-5 U.P. MICH)

Please don't feel badly. Many tuber clumps look like gnarled stumps. It's not unusual to get just a couple good ones from such a mess.

The Nasty:

The lucky and well behaved:

The top photo was Rothsay Revelor and I believe it gave me two good 'uns. But, it was easy to get cuttings from those few eyed tubers.

The second photo was Marika and this year the darn thing was so late to bloom, I don't even remember what it looked like, because the frost hit it first.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 8:09AM
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Thanks! That makes me feel better. Most of mine look like your top picture! I have NO idea if I found any eyes. Ugh. so, do I just toss all the other tubers that I cut off? That seems like such a waste?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 9:25AM
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grannymarsh(z4-5 U.P. MICH)

Not a total waste, the cast-offs go into the compost bins. LOL
If you can't see the eyes very well, maybe you could try to get a hunk of stem where the tuber grow out of it. I usually wait about 10 - 14 days after whacking or killing frost before I dig. Then the plant has usually tried to start growing again by sending out eyes. But I think this depends on the weather/temperatures.

Don't wait too long to get the good tubers into storage, before they start to shrivel. I try to have mine dug, dipped, dried, dusted and wrapped in one day.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 9:46AM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Those are great photos Granny showing the variation in messes of tubers one can unearth: some are pretty tidy, some are a challenging mess.

Threeorangeboys, there is a ray of hope. It will get easier each time you face a clump. You could leave the clumps in the ground longer next time if you want. That might help eyes become more prominent, but I find a couple days works just fine. Some people just cut and dig the same day.

Try to take off one tuber at a time and work your way slowly through the mess if you can. Perhaps you had a clump that didn't produce many eyed tubers in the first place? Some will produce many eyed tubers, some just a couple, if that!

If you could find someone else who grows dahlias near you, arrange for a quick tutoring session. I bet they'd be happy to help you.
Here's a contact in the DC area. (I think.) Why not shoot him an email?

National Capital Dahlia Society

Harry Rissetto
Falls Church, VA 22046
(703) 241-0442
~ riss@erols.com

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 10:09AM
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Oh wow! What a great idea! I would LOVE a tutoring session!!! Okay, well I will trust you that it will get easier each time. Maybe I just need to slow down- I am not always known for my patience. I did try leaving it in them in the ground for a couple days after, but maybe I should have waited longer.
Thanks for your help!!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 3:34PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))


If you can show us a photo, perhaps we might be able to identify just where the eyes are, or should be.

Don't give up hope yet. We want to help.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 6:06PM
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Thank you so much- I have no idea how to post a photo here. I am such an idiot! I have cut them all up, so hopefully what I think are eyes will actually turn out to be true! If not, I guess I'll just have to replace theme next year. I love the idea of the tutorial though!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 10:05AM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Threeorange, I just posted a long description of how to post photos for Karin under "Kenora Superb" in the dahlia gallery here (Gallery link at top of page.) See if either of those methods work for you. If your photos aren't online somewhere, then I highly recommend Photobucket. Very easy. Even I can do it!

Now I really want to see your tubers! And if you want, throw in a photo of your three orange boys. If I can't look at dahlias, animals are a close second.
Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Posting photos FAQ

    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 12:26PM
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I am ALWAYS willing to share photos of my precious boys. I'll try to take a photo and post it!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 3:54PM
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Wait until spring when the eyes will be more prominent.

Go into the website of the "dahlia societies"....U.S. and Canada....read there about how to store dahlia by removing the tubers from the clump. Cocooning in plastic wrap.
It goes on to explain that "eyes" can be formed over winter on those tubers without them.
That information was the one big thing about why I don't choose to do storage in that fashion.
I do it the old fashion way. The clump....the eyes have it.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 6:20PM
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So in the old fashioned method you leave it as a clump and then cut it up? Interesting. Is the risk of mushiness greater or is it just that it takes more space?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 10:15AM
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grannymarsh(z4-5 U.P. MICH)

For me, the plastic wrap method is prefered for several reason:

Storage space
With each tuber in it's own cocoon, it is saf(er) from rotting neighbors.
The work is done when Spring shows her lovely side.
And last, but not least: It works for me!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2006 at 8:24PM
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I did well last year with the 'Early Bird' minis, but this year with full-size ones, I totally sucked, too. There was a mass of shrivelled, soft, squishy tubers, none of which were as 'hard' as the ones I experienced last year on the EBs.
So into the compost pile they went. Sigh. Hated to do it at the cost I paid for them, but I'll try again next year.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 11:18AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

soft and mushy is not good. Any soft ones end up as compost at my home.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 9:29PM
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I just checked on my tubers and about half were soft and squishy. Soooo sad. I must have done it wrong-frustrating since I spent an entire weekend doing it. I guess I'll have to replace them all this year.
Such a drag!!!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 10:00AM
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Oh lordy now I'm paranoid mine are going to be ruined too. I have no idea about the eyes. I cut mine back and dug mine up and left them upside down to drain the stems for a couple of days as the local gardening expert recommended then sat them atop some vermiculite in some plastic toes with the lids off. Mine are mostly masses of tubers with some growing off of others. I didn't cut back the roots at all thinking the more root the better for replanting.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2007 at 2:30PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

I'm still waiting for that photo of the three orange boys! Tap, tap, tap.....

Sorry to hear about the mush. Thankfully my tubers are faring well, even with our hideous 5+ day power outage and temps down to 8 F. in December's wind storm extraordinaire. They were kept above freezing and I've only had to pull about 8 rotten ones out of many wrapped tubers in storage.

I can't emphasize enough about the need to clean and protect those tubers with antifungals before trying the plastic wrap method. It saves space, it's efficient, it's very effective, and I feel fiercely devoted to the memory of dear Bernie Mandella who helped develop the whole notion of such a practice after years of trials.

Now let me see those cats!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 8:33PM
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The three precious boys on the bed . . .Mansfield, Gryffin and Toulouse

And the MONSTER gremlin-Toulouse- who reeks total havoc in the garden ALL THE TIME! He is lucky he is so cute!! LOL

    Bookmark   February 5, 2007 at 11:37AM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Finally! Threeorange, you may suck at finding eyes but you're great at finding orange cats LOL! They are marvelously handsome and soooooo cozy looking both indoors and out.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2007 at 10:32PM
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Thanks for admiring my boys! I must say, I agree- I think they are marvelously handsome and squishy. They rule my life, don't know what I would do without them. I routinely wake my husband up in the middle of the night to admire the huge orange pile in the middle of the bed! LOL

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 9:33AM
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