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Dahlia: Culture and Care | Volunteer Gardener


¶(soft acoustic guitar music) ¶¶- I’m out here at
¶¶Green Door Gourmet ¶in one of their
¶many flower fields, here with Sylvia Ganier. ¶- Hi.
¶- Nice to be with you. ¶- Great to see you. ¶- Good to see you too. ¶We’re gonna talk about
¶some dahlias today, ¶¶cultural aspects
¶¶as far as growing, ¶and needs, and pests. First off, I see this nice
white net that you’ve got here. ¶- [Sylvia] Yes, the netting
¶serves dual purpose. ¶¶First of all, it helps you when you’re laying out
the grid of your garden ¶¶to know how to
¶¶space your plants, ¶¶because dahlias
¶¶need room to grow, ¶especially if you want them ¶as a cut flower versus
¶a bedding flower. Also, they need support. They’re tall, and lanky, ¶and the blooms can be huge, ¶¶like, dinner-plate
¶¶size sometimes, ¶and so you really want to make
¶sure that you have structure. ¶¶- [Phillipe] Yeah,
¶¶that does help. ¶¶I hear a lot of
¶¶them falling over, people having issues with that, ¶and even breaking if
¶they do fall over. – [Sylvia] Yes. – And I also see that y’all use ¶¶a nice cover on
¶¶the base of them, and plant in the cover. Does that help with
water and all kinds of– – It does two different things. ¶As you see, we actually have ¶our drip irrigation
¶running along the top ¶because dahlias like a
¶dryer sort of moment. ¶If they are too wet, ¶¶the tubers are gonna rot, so you don’t want to
over-water your dahlias. ¶This allows just enough
¶water to seep into the holes, ¶¶and it’s great for
¶¶weed suppression because, I don’t know about you, ¶but I’d rather have more time ¶to cut and enjoy the flowers
¶than to pull the weeds. – [Phillipe] Absolutely. – Dahlias don’t like super hot. ¶¶They really are
¶¶a cooler climate. They’re very popular in
the mountains of Mexico, ¶¶and that’s where they were
¶¶first kind of discovered, ¶¶and came over to England
¶¶from there in the 1700’s, so they like a little
bit cooler temperature, ¶and this time of year, ¶once we start getting
¶those autumn days ¶¶that are a little
¶¶cooler, they’re so happy, ¶they just take off. It’s fantastic. ¶- Particularly in
¶our Tennessee area, ¶most people know that
¶dahlias are really ¶a fall bloomer for us. ¶They kind of grow
¶throughout the summer. ¶You get some sparse blooms, but in the fall is when
they do the real magic, ¶which is fun.
¶- Absolutely. ¶- [Phillipe] So I see these
¶big, beautiful white ones ¶¶right here, and
¶¶they’re very tall. ¶These look really wonderful. ¶¶- And with those,
¶¶just the design ¶¶of the pin cushion is
¶¶really gorgeous on those. ¶¶- Yeah, yeah, that
¶¶is really nice. ¶I see lots and lots and lots ¶¶of stems coming
¶¶out of there too. Do y’all kind of
continuously pinch back ¶¶on the plant to
¶¶help it stem out? – We do. ¶We take the middle
¶part at the beginning, ¶¶the first sign of a bloom. ¶That allows it to bush out,
¶clump up a little bit more, ¶and do side shoots to
¶continue the blooming process. ¶If I was trying to put more
¶emphasis into the tuber, ¶¶which are edible, I would
¶¶actually not allow it ¶¶to flower or bloom at all because I would be
going for the root stock versus the flower bloom. ¶- Right, right, yeah. And one thing with them too is, ¶deadheading/cutting them
¶keeps them blooming more too ¶so they don’t put any
¶energy into the seeds. ¶- It is cut and come
¶again, for sure. ¶- Man, this dark one behind
¶you is really stunning. – And we have a
beautiful, huge red one ¶which you can see
¶already bloomed out ¶in the distance there,
¶called Spartacus, ¶¶and it’s one of
¶¶our favorite ones, ¶¶and some of the folks that
¶¶have come come and say, ¶”Oh my gosh, what is
¶that amazing flower?” They think it’s a peony
because it’s so big, ¶¶and full of bloom. ¶- [Phillipe] That’s exciting. Have you found
any good companion
plantings with dahlias? ¶¶- [Sylvia] They typically
¶¶like not to be crowded in ¶¶with other things,
¶¶and the one thing ¶that you don’t even
¶want to put next ¶¶to the dahlias, potatoes, because they have a common pest, as well as the tomatoes, ¶so nightshades are not really
¶the friends of the dahlias, ¶so anything else that
¶gives them enough room to spread out and grow is okay, that also can handle the
slightly acidic soil, ¶but not tomatoes or potatoes. ¶- You see them here
¶and there in gardens, ¶you know, two or three
¶different varieties that tend to bloom really heavy. You’ll see them mixed in borders ¶of a mixed perennial garden. They usually fill really nicely, ¶and they like to fill gaps, ¶and then, of course, you get
¶that big burst of fall bloom ¶that not a lot of things do. ¶- Right, especially
¶for the bedding style. ¶¶There are some that are
¶¶more cut-flower friendly, ¶like the Spartacus, or
¶the Sherman’s Peach. ¶¶Those do really
¶¶well to branch out and make cut flowers,
but there are also some ¶that stay in this smaller,
¶which we’re looking at here, kind of culture that stay three ¶to four feet tall versus the
¶larger, the dinner plate. ¶They get five to six
¶feet tall as well. ¶- Right, right, yeah. ¶So, as far as, in
¶the late, late fall, ¶when we start getting
¶close to frost, ¶¶now, do y’all cover these? ¶¶Or do you actually
¶¶dig and store? ¶- We have done both. In Tennessee, it’s just
like a box of chocolate. ¶You never know what
¶you’re gonna get ¶¶with the winter time here, ¶so last year, we
¶actually left them in ¶because we had
¶invested a lot of time ¶¶in the ground cover cloth, ¶also in putting in our
¶netting, all of that, ¶¶so we said, you know what, ¶¶we’re gonna run the risk. ¶We’re gonna leave
¶them in for a year. We mulched super heavy, ¶and we were very blessed
¶that most of them came back. – How deep would you say that y’all buried them,
and what material? ¶¶- So, we used hay that was
¶¶cut here from the farm, and we went pretty deep. I would say we were probably at at least eight inches of mulch. ¶¶If you’ve got the hay,
¶¶you might as well use it. ¶- Right, right, right. ¶- And we used hay versus straw ¶¶because hay puts
¶¶nutrient back in, ¶where straw just
¶works as a bedding, ¶¶so we used hay for
¶¶the nutrient value ¶¶of what we were covering. ¶- Now, could somebody at home
¶use just standard tree leaves, and just do a thick bed of that? ¶- If you are lucky enough
¶to have leaves in your yard, ¶compared to, also, a
¶wonderful, sunny spot, leaf mulch is fantastic to use. ¶This year, we’re gonna dig. We’re gonna dig because we know that, for every one that I dig, I can probably get six
or so new plants out of. ¶It will also help us rotate
¶this area of the soil. That helps with disease
prevention as well. ¶We’ll come back
¶in, we’ll give this ¶a nice spring cover
¶crop, probably, ¶of a buckwheat or
¶something like that ¶to refix the nitrogen, ¶¶and move the dahlia bed up ¶to where you see some of those
¶beautiful Mexican sunflowers, ¶¶and the celosia, and that
¶¶sort of thing up there, ¶¶so that will be
¶¶dahlias next year. ¶- [Phillipe] Yeah, wonderful. ¶And we’re gonna
¶talk about storing. ¶- So, we like to wait
¶until the first hard frost. ¶Everything in the
¶field will turn black. ¶¶It’s pretty weird. ¶¶So then we want
¶¶to wait two weeks ¶before we start to dig, so
¶those two weeks kinda give us ¶¶some time to take
¶¶down our netting, ¶take down our t-posts, ¶and then we start to label. ¶We want to label every hole ¶so that we know
¶what we’re storing, ¶and so that we know what we’re
¶gonna be planting next year, so that gives us
time to do that. Then we cut them down real low, ¶and then, about two
¶weeks after frost, ¶¶we’re gonna come in here,
¶¶everybody, with a trowel, ¶¶and we’re gonna come right
¶¶in here, loosen it up. Sometimes, a digging
fork works even better, ¶¶but this is here, what
¶¶it looks like there, yep. – [Phillipe] Nice little
tubers coming off there. – Yeah, and so we
basically create a table with maybe a wire top on
it, like wire netting, ¶and we just spray them all. ¶We want to get as much
¶dirt off as possible ¶without damaging the tubers, ¶¶and we like to do this on
¶¶a really dry, sunny day ¶and we try to do it
¶early in the morning ¶¶so that it gives the
¶¶dahlia tuber the whole day ¶to kinda dry out in the sun, ¶because we don’t want
¶to store them wet because, then, they’ll just mold ¶and mildew over the winter. ¶- Right, right, and this is
¶actually not a box of cabbage. ¶¶- Correct.
¶¶- This is a storage box for y’all. – That is a recycled box
from our vegetable crew, ¶and we go around
¶and collect sawdust ¶from some local
¶furniture-makers that we know. – So that’s the
biggest thing, is this, ¶¶any additional
¶¶moisture, I guess, ¶you don’t want on here, it
¶kind of sops out into there. ¶- Exactly, exactly, and you could use
perlite or vermiculite, ¶but that’s a pretty
¶expensive material, ¶so we use some free
¶sawdust from the community. – Yeah, yeah, that’s wonderful. ¶¶Of course, you store them
¶¶in a frost-free area. ¶¶About generally what range ¶of temperature would
¶you store them in? ¶- We keep them in our
¶cooler because we have one, and we put, I think,
about 50 to 55 degrees. – Okay.
– Yeah. – Yeah, so not too
cool, but not too warm, ¶just right in there.
¶- Yeah, yeah. ¶You definitely don’t
¶want them to freeze, ¶but you don’t want them to be
¶warm enough to encourage mold. ¶- Yeah, yeah. ¶¶So maybe a garage. – Yeah, garage is fine, ¶¶especially if it’s in this
¶¶extra insulation here. ¶Garage is fine, or
¶if people still have a basement or a cellar. ¶- Right, a basement
¶cellar, yeah. ¶- Those are good places, but
¶a garage would be just fine, ¶and I like to check on
¶them throughout the winter. ¶¶You should be able to
¶¶tell, if you look in there and they’re just
looking very shriveled, ¶¶then you know that
¶¶they’re kinda drying out, ¶¶and you might want
¶¶to bring them out ¶on a sunny day and
¶spray them down again, ¶and then let them rehydrate, ¶and then let them dry again, and then put them back
in there in their boxes. ¶- [Phillipe] Yeah,
¶well, that’s great. ¶So then, about what time in
¶the season are we starting to really move them out, and then start potting
them up, or replanting? – So, they are good to
go after the last frost, ¶which, in our area,
¶is April 15th, ¶¶so I start getting
¶¶the beds ready ¶as soon as I can in
¶March or early April so that, on that last
frost date, April 15th, ¶we’re good to plant them out. ¶I know a lot of people
¶will pot them up ¶before they plant them
¶in their final bed, ¶and so I think you can start
¶doing that around March ¶¶if you are able to
¶¶kind of move those ¶into a safe place if
¶a frost is gonna come, but you just don’t want
them to freeze or frost, ¶¶so that’s the main thing. ¶¶- So, in the ground,
¶¶y’all plant them directly from the storage
into the ground? ¶- Yep, so this year, because
¶a lot of these are two- ¶¶or three-year-old tubers, ¶¶when we start to get them
¶¶out in March or April, ¶¶we’ll start dividing them. ¶So, this is a small one, so
¶it’s not the best example, ¶¶but some of these,
¶¶you’ll pull out, ¶¶and there’s just– – [Phillipe] Huge, yeah. ¶- [Laura] Huge tubers,
¶and from one plant, you could make probably
eight new plants, ¶so we like to divide
¶right before we plant. ¶¶In the fall, you’re less
¶¶likely to see these eyes, ¶but in the spring, you’ll see, ¶¶they’ll start naturally
¶¶forming, even in the box, in storage, so it helps,
you look for an eye, and then you know you can
divide that section right there, ¶so yeah, that really helps. ¶- For a medium amount
¶of work, you know, ¶as far as plants go, ¶and you get this mass
¶amount of flowers, ¶everybody should
¶be growing dahlias. ¶- Absolutely,
¶yeah, and they come ¶in all different
¶shapes, and colors, ¶¶and sizes, and varieties. ¶- Right, thousands, probably. ¶- [Laura] Yeah, and I mean, ¶¶as soon as September hits, ¶¶we start getting inquiries
¶¶from our florists. ¶- [Phillipe] Oh,
¶I’m sure, I’m sure. ¶- [Laura] They just
¶are so versatile, ¶and come in so many
¶of those colors that everybody wants, so they’re
a really good crop for us. ¶¶- [Phillipe] Well,
¶¶thank you so much ¶for sharing all this
¶wonderful information with us. ¶- [Laura] Absolutely. – [Lauren] For
inspiring garden tours, ¶¶growing tips, and
¶¶garden projects, ¶visit our website at
¶volunteergardener.org, ¶or on YouTube at the
¶Volunteer Gardener channel, and like us on Facebook. ¶(soft acoustic guitar music)

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