Gardening Matters: Schools of thought | Fenceposts | northcoastcitizen.com – North Coast Citizen

How did we make it to November already? Seems like yesterday when I was trying to figure out what to change in the garden for the spring. But to be honest, by this time of the year I am ready to put the gardening tools away for a while and retreat inside to catch …….

npressfetimg-3431.png

How did we make it to November already? Seems like yesterday when I was trying to figure out what to change in the garden for the spring. But to be honest, by this time of the year I am ready to put the gardening tools away for a while and retreat inside to catch up on my reading and writing.

Before I do, though, I must tend to my dahlias. Having come from Pennsylvania and a Zone 5 garden, I was new to the joys of dahlias. They are tender tubers and not up to the -20 degree temperatures that marked our winters. Most gardeners in my area didn’t bother with dahlias because they needed to be dug every fall and replanted in the spring. The growing season wasn’t as long, either, so many times dahlias wouldn’t be ready to bloom until it was too cold to do so.



But upon arriving in Oregon over twenty years ago, I was delighted to see so many lovely varieties to choose from for the garden. And now with Old House Dahlia Farm firmly entrenched south of Tillamook, we are treated to our very own growing fields to pick from. If you haven’t been there in late September or October, put it on your calendar for next year. The fields are a sight to behold. And you can shop having seen your choices in bloom.

Back to November. There are two schools of thought about local dahlia growing: lift the tubers in the fall, or let them stay in the ground until spring. I will explore both sides and let you decide which works best for you.

First, the benefits of lifting the tubers. Dahlias are not cold-hardy, so if your temperatures dip below say, 40 degrees on a regular basis in the winter, you will want to dig them up this fall. They also are prone to rotting if the winter is wet as well as cold. Digging can start about two weeks after a killing frost or by November 15, which ever comes first. You will know when the plants start to turn brown. Digging too soon will keep the tubers in a “green stage” and they will not be hardened off for winter storage.

Cut the stocks off the plants to about 6 inches and lift gently out of the ground with a pitchfork or spade. Be careful not to break off the tubers’ necks. After gently digging the tubers out of the ground, wash the soil from them and allow them to air-dry on layers of newspaper, protected from the weather, for about two days. Once they are dry, be sure and mark the tubers as to variety in such a way you will be able to tell what they are in the spring. Sharpies can work well, or use plant markers tucked in with the stored tubers.

They will then be ready for storage. I like to use a large, sturdy cardboard box or crate. (Don’t use closed plastic bags as the tubers will hold in moisture and more easily rot.) I layer dampened wood shavings (because I have access to them) or newspaper in the bottom of the box. You can then layer the tubers between moistened shavings, peatmoss, …….

Source: https://www.northcoastcitizen.com/fenceposts/gardening-matters-schools-of-thought/article_eae8126e-1a83-51ab-b3f2-bb48ddaeb200.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *