Digging, Dividing & Storage forum: Digging and Dividing in 2019 for 2020 Season

 
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Imageteddahlia
Sep 26, 2019 8:32 PM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
We are doing our annual cruising of the dahlia rows to :
(1) Record what is planted where as any map made before planting would be useless due to losses and changes.
(2) Mark healthy and best plants and plants that are sick.
(3) Verify that there is a tag for each plant so we can attach it with a rubber band to the clump.
(4) Verify that the tag has the correct name
(5) Keep me in good shape as I am crawling on the ground and Margaret writes it all down in the notebook.

It started to rain and we finished less than half of the garden.
“Flowers are like friends; They bring color to your world.” – Unknown
Imagesylviap
Sep 26, 2019 10:34 PM CST
Name: Sylvia
West Sacramento, CA Zone 9b
Ugh. I've been trying to keep notes on my planting guide: which ones to pull and toss, which ones to pass along to a new home and which ones to hoard. Along with notes about when they bloom though not sure this year is one to plan by.
Imageteddahlia
Sep 27, 2019 9:31 AM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
Connie in Canada is cutting down the stalks in anticipation of digging very soon. If we do get frost this week end, I will move up our digging schedule but usually we start around the 10th of October.
As I crawl along the ground, I find tags and no plant occasionally. M & M Buttercream was one. I have heard good and bad things about it but would like to try it. Our seedling of similar form and color has wimpy stems and will be culled. .
“Flowers are like friends; They bring color to your world.” – Unknown
ImageIslander
Sep 27, 2019 2:05 PM CST
Name: Noni Morrison
Vashon Island, Washington
growing and selling organic cutflow
MM Buttercream is tricky. I had tons of tubers from it and only one grew this year in my garden. But I love the color.
Imageteddahlia
Sep 28, 2019 5:52 PM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
Every time we try to finish this walk around, the rain comes to interrupt us. We were able to finish all but 3 rows but those are important ones. Not too many surprises but 3 Dragonfire plants were actually Golden Boy. Huge thunderstorm stopped us and electricity went off briefly. Tomorrow is another day.
“Flowers are like friends; They bring color to your world.” – Unknown
ImageIslander
Sep 28, 2019 7:05 PM CST
Name: Noni Morrison
Vashon Island, Washington
growing and selling organic cutflow
All around us seem to have had worse surprises from the weather then we did.......yet! No hail here yet,,,just chill and wind. and some rain when we were setting up for market..none of these make it fun to dig dahlias. I would be unhappy if 3 Dragonfire plants were Golden Boys...I love my Dragonfire!
Imagesylviap
Sep 28, 2019 9:49 PM CST
Name: Sylvia
West Sacramento, CA Zone 9b
It was too chilly here this morning to work outside! Then around 6:30 pm we got a tornado emergency alert followed by thunderstorms!
ImageIslander
Sep 29, 2019 10:08 AM CST
Name: Noni Morrison
Vashon Island, Washington
growing and selling organic cutflow
I think the pictures on the web of snow and hail on other peoples gardens have me convinced to start digging...I can be selective and maybe just dig the ones I want to take with me now, and leave the one that my buyer will get until after a few more markets. I generally have flowers for market through the end of October or first frost which happens about then. These last few Market days tend to be the most profitable...I hate to loose the income...Of course once we do get a hard freeze it is not something I have a choice in..
Imageteddahlia
Sep 30, 2019 7:41 PM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
Walk around completed. Found a bunch of mis marked ones that continued the mismarking from the year before. Oh well, so we grew some extra plants. Found another Meggos seedling that is B C purple. Pretty color but probably not as nice as AC MP.
Thumb of 2019-10-01/teddahlia/b9c653
Show-N-Tell are the best flowers in the garden.
“Flowers are like friends; They bring color to your world.” – Unknown
Imageteddahlia
Oct 5, 2019 10:25 AM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
I am going to harvest the pot tubers today or tomorrow. Pot tubers are the dahlia insurance policies: Tubers can rot whereas pot tubers do not(Not completely true but true enough). If all the tubers of a variety rot, the odds are that I have a pot tuber and will be able to take cuttings and revive our stock. I store pot tubers the "lazy way" and that is by leaving them in the pot. I have tried it both ways and if you take them out of the pot they do not store as well. Some of the pot tubers are actually tubers that I put into a pot and took some cuttings and then left in the pot. That works well too.

On August 1st, I planted some left over pot tubers into the ground in the gopher damaged area. The are now starting to bloom. They are extremely healthy looking plants. I anticipate harvesting some of them as whole clumps as there certainly has not been enough time for normal size tubers to form.
“Flowers are like friends; They bring color to your world.” – Unknown
ImageIslander
Oct 5, 2019 4:33 PM CST
Name: Noni Morrison
Vashon Island, Washington
growing and selling organic cutflow
I have flats of plants that just spent the summer in the garden because I never found spaces for them..so now I have flats of "pot tubers". Good to know about the lazy man's way....that is probably how I will treat mine... just pick them up, let them dry and tote them to Oregon with us, LOL. I will inspect for slugs as well as I can and hope the ducks did their job. Some of the most neglected are getting a flower or two now and verifying what variety they are...
Imageteddahlia
Oct 9, 2019 8:48 AM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
Dahlia club meeting last night. The tuber clump sale was interesting but not too many choices. One clump of a new one called Ryecroft Blackberry MB DK RD interested me but it was up to $20.00 and I did not bid(at least 6 tubers on it, I should have bid on it). Wildwood Marie was there and it was the same stock I got last year and the stock is excellent. I clued some people about it and it sold well.
Digging and dividing was the main program. Hard to pay attention as this is probably the 30 or 40th time I have seen such a presentation. Cinnamon was touted as a fungicide for dahlia cut ends. One presenter espoused the use of a commercial disinfectant used in poultry barns for disinfecting tools between varieties. He passed out some free samples. One presenter recommended vinegar to remove the rust from your tools caused by the use of of the disinfecting chemicals. Tools used for dividing were demonstrated although no one brought in the chain saw I mentioned in one my Facebook posts. Bonsai scissors were recommended by nearly everybody and the club wisely had an entire box of Zenport ZS-104 scissors ready to sell for $10.00 each. I bought one as it is always nice to have new ones and the price was excellent. They sold like hot cakes.
Vermiculite as a storage medium was recommended by the main presenter but he wisely discussed several others such as cedar shavings and peat moss. Whenever peat moss is mentioned, someone comments that all their tubers shriveled and many died. However, there will always be people using peat moss that have figured out how to get the moisture levels just right. The saran wrap guru touted his saran wrap method and did a demo on a table. We had several new people at the meeting and I bet their collective heads were spinning.
“Flowers are like friends; They bring color to your world.” – Unknown
Imageteddahlia
Oct 16, 2019 10:28 AM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
Thumb of 2019-10-16/teddahlia/2bf804
I dislike unknown tubers and for years have just trashed them. This year I planted a couple. One hardly grew and that is good and I culled it. . The other is a very large nearly 9 inch in diameter flower that grew very vigorously . I have no idea what it is other than it is probably a seedling. Now I am forced to dig it and plant a few more and wonder what it is. Margaret likes it. Perhaps my dislike for unknowns is related to the endless posts on social media asking for the identity of some scrawny, ugly flower that no one should should grow let alone take a picture of and inflict your poor taste on us. There, I said it.
“Flowers are like friends; They bring color to your world.” – Unknown
Imagehonnat
Oct 16, 2019 12:00 PM CST
St. Paul, MN
I plan to use the same method as last year as my results were excellent. I wrapped in Saran wrap (actually the Wal-meet version as I like their box that includes a "slider" blade for cutting).
I pull out about 2-3 feet of wrap and then sprinkle Vermiculite on the plastic. Then I roll the tubers one at a time and get about 4-6 tubers in each bunch. I close it up with a small piece of masking tape that I write the variety name and # of tubers in the bunch.
Sprinkling the vermiculite seems to have cut the amount of condensation way down from what I had experienced in other years. It also gives the tubers just a bit of breathing room which I think is important. The basement in the house that I'm living now doesn't get very cold even in our frigid Minnesota winters. Even with temps around 50-60° in my storage area my tubers stored extremely well last season.
Imageteddahlia
Oct 16, 2019 1:57 PM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
One of the biggest advantages of wrapping in saran wrap or plastic wrap that is not mentioned is that the tubers take much less space to store. I believe it is probably 1/3 of the space needed for storing in vermiculite in plastic bags. So if one is storing 21 boxes of tubers using vermiculite, you would have only have 7 using the wrap method. Perhaps my ratio is off a little bit but you get the idea. That means also that you need a smaller storage space.
I do like the idea of using dollar store shoe boxes for storage as it is easier to access and locate varieties as each box has a label. But you would probably lose all of the above savings in space by using them. Probably worth it.

“Flowers are like friends; They bring color to your world.” – Unknown
[Last edited Oct 16, 2019 2:25 PM CST]
Quote | Post #1330186 (15)
ImageIslander
Oct 17, 2019 6:50 PM CST
Name: Noni Morrison
Vashon Island, Washington
growing and selling organic cutflow
I am trying to process tuber clumps as fast as I can because moving date could be very soon. I hate rushing through this! I could take them unprocessed but hate to move that much dirt! Also, would rather not move bugs between states Blinking
I got through about 7 crates today. I'm tired! My Wwoofer got all the rest of the tubers out of the ground with a grueling long day of dark and rain....I've decided a good Wwoofer is as close to an angel as I need to come!
Imageteddahlia
Oct 17, 2019 8:33 PM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
That is a lot of tuber dividing, Noni. Be careful and do not divide your hands or fingers.
“Flowers are like friends; They bring color to your world.” – Unknown
ImageIslander
Oct 20, 2019 7:19 PM CST
Name: Noni Morrison
Vashon Island, Washington
growing and selling organic cutflow
My Wwoofer finished his stay with us by digging the last small patch...the garden by the gate that had the anemones and assorted odds and ends. What a guy! He is 22 years old, knew nothing about dahlias when he started but was interested in the whole process, and dug and washed in the cold rain without any complaints. I didn't realize until he was leaving today that ours was his first Wwoof visit! I actually think he was a lovely tall red headed angel! . I am going to have to name something wonderful after Kelly!

II have divided tubers most of the day today...no accidents yet, Ted. I just work slow and steady and do the best I can. I think about 2 more partial days will finish them, but will take time tomorrow to make sure the cut ones are drying properly and sort them out.

I have one crate to go to the club meeting tomorrow evening, a donations to their future tuber sales. I had Hotshot pop up all over the garden under various misnames so lots of that to donate. Benjamin Matthew from Swan Island was a cute little orange red flower but the ends of the petals tended to sun-fade so out it goes.
Imageteddahlia
Oct 22, 2019 9:14 AM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
I love it when one of the nice seedlings makes nice tubers. I harvested 9 tubers from one and they were on one of those stalks that would never be able to be cut off with hand loppers. I have 4 levels of loppers above the hand loppers. One that is only a little bit longer than 12 inches has the same size jaws as a bigger set. It was hopelessly too short in cutting through the wooden stalk that was nearly 3 inches in diameter. I had the next set that is about 15-16 inches long. It too was too feeble for the task but since the longer loppers were 20 feet away , I persisted with those and through repeated cuts and with much effort was able to cut through the ironwood stalk. Once cut though to the right length it is much easier to split them so that the tubers could be accessible. However using bonsai scissors was out of the question and the 15 inch loppers had to be used to make that division. I have noticed too that the tubers from these wooden clumps store easily without rot.
“Flowers are like friends; They bring color to your world.” – Unknown
BarryO
Oct 22, 2019 9:58 AM CST
Sounds like your seedling with ironwood stalks is self-staking. In fact, it may provide support for neighboring plants!

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