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Planting Dahlias

What is the best way to plant show worthy dahlias?

We discussed different approaches and practices at our last general meeting, and will now share what we actually did at the Trial Garden this year.

  1. All of the submitted tubers were planted earlier in trays and started in a greenhouse. John Kooiman grew them to about six inches tall.

  2. We did not till the soil this year. Larry Bagge weeded and set up the irrigation system. The stakes were left in place last year.

  3. Dig the holes next to each stake, about 7 or 8 inches deep.

  4. We did not use commercial fertilizer but did sprinkle Azomite into each hole. It provides trace minerals to improve root systems, yields, and general plant vigor.

  5. We had a couple tubers that were just sprouting and we planted them at roughly a 45-degree angle with the top (sprout end) almost touching the north side of the stake, and a bit over 2 inches deep. The root end could be quite a few inches deeper depending on the length of the tuber. The plants were planted at a shallower angle because we didn’t want to bury too much of the green stem.

  6. Then we filled in with just the local dirt and patted it down lightly.

  7. Finally, we sprinkled some Epsom Salt crystal in a circle around each plant to promote blooming and enhances a plant’s green color.

  8. Tuber producers advice to not water for a week after planting to ensure the sprout is growing well. Otherwise, the tuber could rot. This doesn’t really apply to plants.

  9. Larry came up with an ingenious was of labeling each plant. He cut some lengths of PVC pipe (a little bigger than the re-bar) heated one end to soften it, and then flattened it in a vice. Cindy then used a marker to identify the plant and then slid it onto the top of the stake.

Hope your planting efforts went well and looking forward to seeing your entries at the State Fair show.

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