We start out tubers in a mixture of potting soil and vermiculite in early March. We plant them about halfway down in 6 inch pots. We inspect each one for sprouts, which get placed upward and cover the tuber with soil. We maintain them in our small greenhouse where we have a propane heater and a temperature alert moniter. It takes about a month for them to poke out of the soil typically.
When the soil temps are close to 55 degrees, we start preparing the greenhouses. Rotolling, making the rows into hills and covering with landscape fabric.We also run water lines at this time. Then we begin to plant out dahlias about 30 inches apart in the greenhouses and closer outside. We place tomato cages over them, anticapting the everspreading foilage..Make sure you pick a sunny location for them. They really like at least 6 hours of sun a day.
In terms of fertilizers, the organic options inculde ground fish bone which will set the stage for nice leafy foilage that will support flower growth. You can also use commercial fertilizers as directed. Be on the look out for slugs and aphids, both of which can be taxing to your dahliasl.
For aphids we use lady bugs released into the greenhouse, for slugs crushed oyster shell or diatomacious earth or if you want to share your brew, a small amount of beer left in a beer bottle or saucer the slugs crawl in and pass out. This year, we used an organic slugicide "Sluggo" with good results.
Continue to Harvesting your flowers and tubers
We planted several new varities in the summer of 2013 - most of which typically are not able to be shipped to Alaska! Update 5/01/2014: We have planted all our tubers - we will have some varities for sale on Saturdays at the market - in either 4 or 6 inch pots. Come by and see us!! Looking forward to a wonderful year of cut flowers!
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