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My 2009 crop on the way

Posted by sturgeonguy 5a ON (My Page) on
Thu, May 7, 09 at 9:42

2009 Tubers growing well

So far so good this year...no spider mites around my dahlias. I bought 80 new tubers (sorry Corry, never got around to that money order) which were potted up in 4" square pots on 3/30. I took 74 cuttings on 4/15, and another 41 on 5/4 giving me more than I need for my beds.

Of the 38 varieties I've planted, only Iceberg is having problems...neither of the tubers I bought have given me a sprout yet. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

I added pole beans to the cabinets based on a recommendation from the person I bought the predatory mites from. She said that any spider mites would first attack the pole beans before anything else, so they'd make a great warning sign. So far, my pole beans are doing just fine (and I'm amazed at how fast they grow!)

I've already put a few dahlias in larger pots, taking a queue from Vikingcraftsman. I'll be putting a few more in pots too, particularly where my pond overflow is as those near there last year rotted due to the excessive water.

While my 4 x T5 lights per shelf aren't "enough" according to the recommendations, my dahlias are not spindly and are filling out quite nicely. Others would have a tough time convincing me there needs to be more lighting. The lights are on for 16 hours a day.

Now I have to give more thought to staking. I think I'll be going with Corry's "rows" for my roadside garden, probably using 2 pieces of angle-iron spaced 4" apart at each end and whatever number in-between (every 8'??) and christmas twine.

What I haven't figured out is how to hold up the ones on the waterside. Those beds aren't rows, so I was thinking about 3 pieces of angle-iron per plant. They really need the support as they're subjected to the occasional strong winds off the lake.

Any suggestions would be welcome, particularly those with pictures.

Cheers,
Russ


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: My 2009 crop on the way

No wonder I haven't heard from you. The lighting and plants are beautiful.
This may be stupid but I am overwhelmed with tubers. When you say you put them up in 4 inch pots, I would like to know how you get the tubers into 4 inch pots? You must mean the cuttings? So where are the tubers growing that give you the cuttings? I have some in litter boxes with peat but I don't know whether to water or not. It is still cold here?


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RE: My 2009 crop on the way

If you look closely at the middle shelves, you might notice the tops of tubers sticking out of the pots. Perhaps you can zoom in with your browser, or go to the flickr link and look at the largest size picture.

I don't have any clumps this year as all of last year's died due to mites. So I had to buy new single tubers. I don't bury them completely, and I don't lay them on their side. This way the bottom half of almost any tuber will fit into the 4" square pots.

Last year I only planted cuttings in my beds. Almost all of my dahlia tuber clumps ended up being completely contained by the 4" pots. Granted, some were quite a mass and very difficult to seperate.

This year some 80 of my dahlias will be tubers that have been put into the 4" pots. It will be interesting to see how these end up at the end of the season. I am hoping that, like the cuttings, they too will be mostly contained in the 4" pots, or at least that there is a sufficient tuber mass in the 4" pot that I can ignore everything else.

In the fall the plan would be to lift all the 4" pots, cut off at the top of the crown, and start propogating right away. This time I will have a bunch of predatory mites at the ready when I bring in the pots.

This will be the first year that I attempt to put grow tubers in 4" pots. Last year I only grew cuttings in them.

Watering is fine in my opinion, assuming you want them to sprout and start growing. As I said, I put 1" - 1.5" of water into each tray of dahlias (12 x 4" pots to a tray) per week. That's about 5 gallons of water per 24" x 16" tray. It looks like a heck of a lot of water when it first goes in, but with the lighting and moisture control soil it seems to be fine.

Cheers,
Russ


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RE: My 2009 crop on the way

Good to see your progress. Very busy very tried.


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RE: My 2009 crop on the way

I do see the little tuber sticking out of the pots. I have some that are as big as my foot! Some of the eyes are on the crown part of the tuber that is sticking out. I have to cover that don't I? I now have to find something for my aching back. I just had to many tubers that made it through the winter and I hate throwing anything out. I may just order next year. Actually I am getting a big order of cuttings in late May so have to save some space.


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RE: My 2009 crop on the way

Lol...big as your foot...;-] Well, ok, if they're that big then clearly they ain't fitting in no 4" pot. None that I received, nor any that I harvested from last year's crop were anywhere near that big.

Last year I did cut tubers that were extremely long, or had a funny shape (e.g. L shaped.) As best I could tell, they sprouted just like any other. I probably wouldn't cut and then store them, however...others might have more to say about that.

Best I can tell the tuber is only there to provide food for the sprouts at the crown before roots are established. Given we know that cuttings survive without roots, I'd probably go so far as to speculate that you could whittle your foot-sized tuber into something that would fit into the 4" pot and be fine...but that's just speculation. I would more likely simply throw that one away assuming I had more tubers of the same variety handy that weren't so large.

I hear Margaritas do wonders for back pain, btw...;-]

Cheers,
Russ


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