To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: December 2013 Newsletter
NEXT MEETING: Dec. 10 @ 6:30 @ 9th and Lincoln
Holiday Party!!!! Please bring a delicious dish to share for dinner, a wrapped present (having something to do with growing dahlias) ($10ish), and wear your happiest gala garb. Sequins and antlers always welcome. Your benevolent society will provide plates and cutlery. In the past few years the gifts most stolen have included potted bulbs, dividing tool sets, clippers, loppers, Bayers 3 in One, Captain Jack’s Dead Bug, home-made jam/jelly assortment (gardener fuel), and dahlia calendars. Get creative and delight your larcenous pals.
David Perkins, organic landscaper from Lyngso Gardens, expanded our understanding of soil biology and the food web beneath our soil’s surface. For a basic test of your dirt, pop a couple scoops of soil into a jar, fill it with water, put on the lid and shake it up well. Wait a couple hours until it’s completely settled down. Check the layers: clay particles are larger than silt which are larger than sand. This will give you a rough profile of your patch. One third of the world’s soil carbon comes from glomalin, sticky protein around mycorrhizae, fine hair like fungi filaments that row in healthy dirt. “Good guys like oxygen,” said David. So by maintaining aerobic conditions in aerated complex ground, you can encourage more advantageous micro situations. The more mycelial structures the better communication between plants, wider food access, heightened disease prevention and swifter nutrient transport resulting in bigger, better, healthier plants. David touted compost tea, a fabulous resource that you can’t overuse. He suggests that instead of pouring in molasses which stimulates utterly crazy bacterial growth, to use fish emulsion instead; you get a much wider variety of microorganisms. David brought several of Lyngos Gardens soil amendments for sale. They can also be found on line at www.lyngsogarden.com or email David at firstname.lastname@example.org
GENEROSITY OF FRIENDS
Thank you to Baker Bill for his home baked peanut butter cookies and to Gino for the chocolate doughnuts. Pat shared cookies and a jar of coffee. Lola passed out terrific peanut butter cookies. The delicious lemon bites came from Ron and Joann. In addition, Tinnee brought several big black pots and Bill brought 3 huge bags full of milk cartons he cleaned, stapled and slashed. Bill announced that if anyone would like more milk cartons in which to plant tubers for early germination, to give him a call and make arrangements to pick them up or get them at our holiday party: 650-871-7200.
Please print out the membership page below, write out your check, and send it to Devorah Joseph. Dahlia Society of California membership costs $10 for which you may attend 12 meetings with informative speakers, compete in both our mini and maxi shows, help with DigOut, volunteer at the Dell, and receive e-newsletters like this one throughout the year. Membership in the American Dahlia Society costs $24 for individuals and $32 for a family. For this, you receive the ADS Classification Guide (the dahlia Bible), 4 quarterly Bulletins, and “membership only” access to the ADS website.
When to cut your dahlias down? 3-5 weeks before you plan to dig them out. Lou has already exhumed most of his clumps. Sue and Valeria have not only lopped down, but also crimped tin foil over all the hollow stems to prevent water build up inside causing crown rot. Their clumps look so holiday festive! They couldn’t bring themselves to behead jaunty Holly Hill Dark Victory, Ellen Irene, or Jackie Evangelista who are still producing reputable flowers. Deborah still nurtures her late blooming Jessicas, Belles of the Ball, Nick Sr. Badger Twinkles and Clearview Magics hoping to festoon our holiday party with the last vestiges of dahlia magic.
Long-time ardent grower, Al Kennings, died in his home at 103. Al grew up on a ranch in Canada, studied agriculture and animal husbandry at Oregon State and worked with UC Davis’ Advanced Dairy Herd Improvement Program for many years. Al and his wife of 71 years, Jennie, participated in several dahlia societies in the Bay area. Besides growing, showing, and judging, Al mentored many of us. His kindness and generosity spawned more of the same in each person he helped train. Al’s daughter, Miftah, made sure that his legacy lives on by sharing his homemade dahlia carriers and other paraphernalia with the next generation. In Al’s honor the Strugatz donated generously to our DSC so Al’s favorite flower’s followers will continue to meet.
Pat came across this blog which used our Dell dahlias to illustrate the desirability of dahlias. Good choice.http://www.gardenista.com/posts/diy-how-not-to-kill-your-dahlias
BIG DIG 2014
Mark your calendars for Sat. January 11 and Sun. January 12 to participate in the best filthy fun. We will begin at 9 am RAIN OR SHINE (but pray for shine) with diggers, flat fillers, flat toters, dividers, sulpherers and scribes. Take this exceptional opportunity to learn all the various parts of taking care of your tuber clumps for the winter. Apprentice yourself to master extractors; learn delicate dahlia surgery from deft experts; rub shoulders with bloomerati; get to know your fellow DCSers in a whole new way. Do wear clothes that can suffer DIRT. I recommend knee high rubber boots as there is much water involved. In fact, bring an extra set of clothes just in case something goes awry with the hose. Hat, surgy-gloves, a “butt warmer” for under your derrière, multiple layers, ADS Classification Book, bottle-of-ink-in-a-pencil, and some snacky yummy to share are highly recommended. DSC will provide pizza lunch on both days, but we appreciate your gustible contributions, too. For questions call: Deborah 415-816-2118.
PRESENTS FOR GOOD GARDENERS?
Ever get stumped for presents for your gardening pals? Here are some of my favorite suggestions.
1. Adjustably wide rake. You can ratchet it wide for major leaf clearing or narrow for between tight ows.
2. Dremel multi oscillating tool. It cuts tubers but not fingers. In Mike Schelp’s words, “It’s almost too easy!” Devi and Pat found a battery powered one to expedite their dividing throes.
3. Well-padded knee pads for planting and weeding.
4. Gift certificates to Aztec Dahlias, Corralitos Dahlias, or Verrone’sPride of the Prarrie Dahlias.
5. Large bag of large grain vermiculite @$25 at Romeo’s in Half Moon Bay. The perfect medium for storing your tubers.
6. Bag of Mycorrhizal Fungi in which to roll tubers before planting to stimulate roots, absorb fertilizer and inoculate young sprouts.
7. Colorful wellies—rubber boots. Available at Costco, ACE, and other outfitters. Great for mucky situations or just keeping toes toasty.
8. Apron with pockets for dividing or planting or show staging. Lou favors the neck loop form that covers his chest; Deborah likes one tied around her waist with 3 front pockets.
9. Treat a beginner to his/her first DSC membership. Get them hooked!
10. Splurge for a worm bin. Start producing liquid brown magic elixir for both indoor and outdoor plants.
11. Suck ‘n Cut, a leaf sucker upper that has a macerating mechanismin it so all the leaves get chopped up before they land in thebottom of the bag. Ideal for cleaning up yards and sidewalks and loading up the compost pile.
Cool stocking stuffers:
1. Sun block, spf 50!
2. Big looped long-nosed scissors found in Chinese whatnot stores on Clement or Irving Street–$4-6.
3. Sun Visors or Sun hats or baseball hats to protect from cancerous rays.
4. Hearty hand cream to smooth working paws.
5. Sweat wicking sox for keeping toasty toesies.
Lou P. and John Morton of San Leandro strongly suggest that you process each clump completely before digging another. In other words, after digging up, clean off, divide, dip in Clorox, label, sulphur and lay out for drying before digging another clump. Keep you label with each clump. Remember, “A dahlia without a name is just a weed.” We want to propagate only named champions!
Begin getting your patch in shape for next year. Give it plenty of compost: leaves, grass clippings and chicken manure. Plant a cover crop like hairy vetch or fava beans which suck nitrogen from the air and “set” it in the earth. I like to strew a hand full of different poppy seeds across the garden. They come in so many gay colors and dispel the gloom of the mud months.
Start cruising dahlia catalogs. Order something new and wonderful. Order early! Order NOW. The really hot stuff sells out fast. Look back over our Sept. Oct. and Dec. newsletters for show results so you know what grows well here in the Bay Area. Offer to help other growers with their digging out and dividing. It’s so much more pleasurable with company. Cook a delicious donation for our holiday potluck and a devilishly tempting present for our predation game.
Yours in Dirt,
Dahlia Society of California, Inc., San Francisco, CA — Copyrighted
Editor: Deborah Dietz
Page layout: Mike Willmarth
Photo credits: Dietz