Sunday, December 4, 2011

Digging Dahlias

On the rarest of seasons, we get a harsh winter with freezing temperatures.  The 2009 season we lost 3000 dahlia tubers because it froze for over a week and a foot deep before we had them out of the ground. We also have a big problem with mice and voles eating our tubers.  So we will always dig the dahlias.

Callie the Flower Dog is helping dig....  voles mostly.
The process begins after a light frost and the tops have died down Tony digs the dahlias up and they are washed and crated up to be divided.  Once the dahlias are clean and dry, the dividing takes place.  Tony has a real knack for seeing the eyes.  I look and look and can't see them even with reading glasses.  I can see them in the spring when they really start to sprout.      

After they are cut and marked with a number to remind us of the variety, we pack them in Christmas totes in wood shavings and placed in our flower cooler for the winter.  We used to pack away about 5000 tubers for the next year and it would take till New Years to finish the job, but now we are older and slower, so now we pack away about 3000 tubers.

We hold about 53 different varieties of dahlias.  New varieties come in and other old varieties are evaluated to determine if they get to remain in our flower mix.  The criterion for remaining is they have to be a great tuber producer for the next year's crop, they need to stand on their own without stakes or netting, and they have to be a popular color or style with us and our customers. 

The method of packing them in wood shavings and placing them in our cooler has been pretty successful for us.  We get very little rot or loss; in fact one year we held a tote of one variety for two years in the cooler because it is such a productive tuber producer and we couldn't plant all the tubers.  They were still good the next year.

        So with much  hard work and a little bit of luck, we get a field of beautiful dahlias that we love.

                                  We hope you will fall in love with these dahlias too!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that is hard work. I to lost hundreds in 2009. I just take my chances and still leave them in the ground.


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