Dahlia Society of California
Tuesday, December 9th 2003 -
CHRISTMAS PARTY!!! Happy Hour 6:30 PM : Dinner 7 PM. Your
benevolent society will provide Ham, Drinks, Plates, and Utensils.
Please bring something scrumptious to share with everyone as well as a
wrapped gift relating to dahlia growing (@$10). In the past, the most
“stolen items” included a hand-blown glass vase, hand-made tool caddy,
hand- made dividing pouch, basket of planted bulbs & framed original
THE GREAT DIVIDER:
Lou Paradise adjured processing one clump at a time. BEFORE you dig up,
make sure your plant bears a label. DIGGING: Shovel a 1’ radius circle
STRAIGHT DOWN around your plant. This severs any extended roots. Using
opposable shovels or forks or a combination of both, gently jimmy up the
root mass. DO NOT extricate by pulling up on the neck or stalk
portion—this could break several necks. Rather, scoop under the clump
with your hands. An alternative method, is digging a moat around the
clump so you know how far the tubers extend. I often scrape away dirt on
top to expose the heads of the tubers, too. Place your root jumble on a
screen (Dick favors the metal holey frame of an ironing board) to give
support as you GENTLY spray off. Too much water pressure peels the tubers
like dinner spuds. The eyes show best at this point and disappear after
DIVIDING: Lou demonstrated his full armamentarium: a sharp, stiff knife,
not his best clippers, small hammer, scissors, wood block for tuber
support & cutting board. Lou recommends a “canning” knife which several
members think can be purchased at Cole Hardware, at Cole, Mission or 4th.
I also employ a couple of chisels & loppers. Lou wraps his thumbs in
adhesive tape(a band-aid) to protect them from slippery knives before
latex gloving. Remove the stalk close to but not including the crown
whence all tubers stem. If you are blessed with a massive gnarly cluster,
try cleaving it in half to make it more manageable. Exercise judgment:
leave hard-to-separate tubers together in groups of 2-4. Toss the mother
tuber (last year’s starter root). Remember, any broken neck invalidates
the entire tuber—no matter how large or how many eyes it has. For certain
very delicate cultivars, Sok has been observed dividing right in the
ground. Pop your divided roots in a 5-10% bleach bath for 5-10 minutes.
Dip the exposed edges in a fungicide like
LABEL IMMEDIATELY. The remarkable Bottle of Ink in a Pencil #705, writes
on damp surfaces only. Lou showed us the mother tuber with her name still
legible a season later! Elsie will have pencils available for purchase at
the January meeting. STORAGE: Let your tubers dry for a couple days
- wet tubers will rot. Lou has been experimenting with different
media for storage: vermiculite (available at Home Depot—request only the
large grain not the fine), shredded newspaper, & his latest find, pine
bedding from pet stores. Use plastic bags, cardboard boxes or wooden
crates. Do not let your tubers touch one another during storage—rot
MILK CARTONS, ANYONE? Baker Bill has bags of milk cartons
already cut and stapled and will bring them to the Christmas party for
anyone who requests them. Please call. 650-871-7200.
PACIFIC SOUTH-WEST DAHLIA CONFERENCE - 2004:
On Presidents’ Day
Weekend (FEBRUARY 14 (Sat)& 15 (Sun)), in MILPITAS. Each year members
from all the Dahlia Societies in California come together for 2 days to
discuss whence and whither dahliadom. You will be able to personally
discuss dahlia problems with our keynote speaker DAVE SPENCER, direct
from his Dahlia Nursery in England. He has been writing a very informative
article in the ‘Dahlias of Today’ magazine every year since 1982, entitled
‘What’s New in Britain’.
This is a great opportunity to meet bloomerati, learn about different
growing climates, garner innovative solutions & make suggestions. Once
every 7 years we (Dahlia Society of California) host this confabulation.
For this major undertaking we need your help. The Chairperson of the
Raffle is in charge of soliciting & housing donations for the raffle,
which offsets the cost of our program. In the past, the Raffle Meister
solicited fertilizer, chemicals & tools from various garden and home
improvement stores. The Raffle shopper uses DSC funds to purchase BIG
items for a special raffle ticket table. I shall solicit various
commercial growers for catalog gift certificates. Thank-you to the one
person who already volunteered to check participants in, but we still need
another to help with registration on site Saturday morning.
Someone needs to be in charge of Reservations: disseminating to the other
societies information as to where, when, how $ much, and banquet
reservations as well as keeping track of who has registered and who has
paid. Someone needs to co-ordinate “goodie bags” for each participant.
Please contact Lou Cornish 415.388.1671 or Elsie Mueller 415.566.5222. Do
you have anything to donate to the raffle? Lovely bottles of wine,
beautiful growing orchid plants, dahlia containers with frogs, ?? Let
your imagination loose — but everything should be good (not garage sale)
We are lopping everything in my section of the Dell the first Saturday in
Dec. That will give the tubers 8 weeks to toughen their skins & go
dormant before DigOut. Depending on how well your soil drains and whether
you have a frost, you can dig out anytime between now and the end of
March. As soon as your clumps are up, begin spreading compost lavishly.
Chicken manure is HOT, but ok if you are leaving the area fallow for a few
weeks at least. Some people plant a cover crop of vetch or fava beans
which nitrogenate the soil as well as covering the ugly brown patch.
Order a free SF Gardener calendar: (415) 695-7375 or
online. Catalogs are starting to arrive. Tempt yourself with
something wonderful. Shop for your party gift and rifle the cookbooks to
surprise your fellow Dahlia Society members.
FAMINE OR FEAST?
Some months we enjoy a bounty of treats for our meeting & some months we
starve through a dearth. Please sign up with Baker Bill at the Christmas
Party re bringing refreshments for Jan. Feb. March, etc. With this, we
hope to even out your generosity.
Happy Holidays to all Dahlia lovers.
wish you a fabulous dahlia-growing
season in 2004.
Yours in Dirt,
Lou delivering his Annual Tuber Lecture