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A question for jroot

Posted by cats39 z5 Upstate NY (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 9, 07 at 15:05

Hi jroot!

Id like to ask you a question regarding your reply to your Ontario neighbor marrics post of "When do I start?".

You replied I usually start in late February / early March with laying the tubers out, slightly/half covered with a growing medium, under lights.

Its the slightly half-out that Im referring to. Ive been saving tubers for about 3 years. Ive always just taken the tubers out of storage buried with a medium and waited for sprouts. Then took my cuttings. I start them in March and the problem I face is what I call bolting, or the plant growing to fast. I use flourescent lights with 2 - 40 watt bulbs.

Do you feel by slightly half-covering slows this type of growth down? Or do you think there is anything else I can do to try and prevent this quick type of growth before they see daylight?

Personally I don't think waiting 'til April is the answer as our season is to short as it is.

Thanks in advance.

BTW Although these plants arent effected by early bolting. You asked about my 7' tall plants several months ago. One is pictured in the 3rd photo down in the post, Dahlias from 2006 1/22/07

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RE: A question for jroot

  • Posted by jroot 5A Ont. Canada (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 12, 07 at 10:24

Hi Jim:

You asked a question regarding why I put the tubers slightly half-out in the growing medium. My answer is no particular purpose except that having the lower part in the medium gives the roots something in which to grow. Having the top part exposed to the light seems to encourage the tubers to sprout, and I can readily see where the new sprouts are, and which tubers are duds.

I think we are both accomplishing the same thing using slightly different methods. Mine works for me, and I believe I got the idea from viewing photos of several dahlia societies' experts.

Starting in March sounds like a good idea. The problem which you mention where the plant grows too fast is common when we start early. I also use flourescent lights with 2 - 40 watt bulbs to get them started and then I introduce them to more natural light.

Do I feel that slightly half-covering slows this type of growth down? No.

Do I think there is anything else you can do to try and prevent this quick type of growth before they see daylight? No, except to start a little later. If my plants get too tall and lanky, I pinch the centre stock as others have described, and form a bushier plant. Hence more flowers. But they need proper staking then for sure.

I agree that our season is to short as it is. That is why I usually start early, and have blooms well in advance of many other growers. This year, I won't start early, as I am out of the country for a while, and won't have someone to watch them on a daily basis. I'd rather have late plant than have my plants die from lack of water at this critical stage.

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