Sunday, November 3, 2013

Winter Dahlia Storage

Here are the Dahlias August 25, 2013.
I planted the tubers in a row. Next year I think the row will go across so the flowers can be better seen. Every week since they began to bloom I cut several to take to work.

Here is what they looked like earlier today, Nov. 3, 2013. The temperature has been consistently freezing at night. Today was in the high 60's so a good day to dig up the tubers for winter storage. We are expecting a few inches of snow in the next few days so, no time like the present.

Here is a close-up of the dug up tuber with the soil washed away.

Here's the lot of them trimmed and washed. I let them dry in the sun for a few hours to remove the water.

Trim down the stalks some more, wrap them in old t-shirts, then stuff them in a plastic sack in the crawlspace till next spring.
I will actual try to mist the t-shirts in the winter to add some moisture.
Several years ago I omitted the plastic bags, worrying about mold. but the tubers looked very shriveled. Our climate is very dry even in the crawl space. So back to the plastic bags.
I don't have any pictures to show but when I was forking the tubers from the ground, I saw lots of worms in with the tubers and roots. I've seen this before. I think the dahlias must put lots of nutrients into the soil for the worms. The worms are really worked into the mass of roots. My soil is very heavy clay, so I use the garden hose with a sprayer and really work the "soil" from the root mass before putting them in storage.
I would like to take this opportunity to ask Santa for a proper basement with a cold room/root cellar for winter storage, although the crawl space under the stairs works pretty well.
One last close-up of the sun lovers.

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