To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: February 2018 Newsletter
NEXT MEETING: February at 7:30 at 9th and Lincoln. Program: Show and Tell. Bring one or two tools or things you find helpful to work with your dahlias to share with the group? Your dividing tool, your kneelies, your special fertilizer??? What is it? Share your ideas with DSC. Who will bring treats????
WARMER IN A COLD FRAME
A cold frame is a structure that lets in light but keeps out rain and wind. Its purpose is to give new dahlias a little boost early in the season. Some people build them up against their homes where a little heat escapes through the house walls. Some people use glass; others use Visqueen or other heavy plastic. Corralitos Gardens and Devi use PVC bent pipe and white cloth in long covered tunnels. Carl—can you tell from the photo that he’s an architect? —built his because his tubers sprouted long pale extrusions and he knew he couldn’t plant them in the cold ground this early.
He used heavy wrought iron stakes in the top to be able to roll up and down the top—like a convertible car top. His dahlias get lots of light, more heat than the surrounding area, but no rain nor wind. Likewise, Sue’s cold frame protects against the harsher elements and her brick base heats up nicely on sunny days . Roger threw a transparent tarp over a tall bookcase out on his deck. John Morton uses his as the next stage of growing out of the green house. Same principle; same good results. There are lots of examples of cold frames on YouTube. Check them out. Carl also built a simple green house shelf with shop lights in his office. Clever.
In a single day, John, Tony and Steve exhumed over a hundred clumps from the Warden’s dahlia garden on a lucky sunny Saturday morning. Deborah and Tony schlepped them to the Maus Haus where they promptly went under a huge tarp for rain protection. Ameha joined Deborah to begin processing all these clumps: slowly they washed, divided, bleached, sulfured, and stashed them. Ameha especially liked trying out the Dremmel tool for dividing, learning to look for eyes, and figuring out where to cleave a tuber mass. Deborah still has a mountain of clumps she’s whittling away at. Look for these beauties at our Tuber and Plant Sale April 14th. Thank you Marilyn and Philip for your generous roots donation.
TEACH THEM YOUNG
Jackie Heckman writes: Hello my friends! I have not been able to make it to a meeting in quite some time. The night I was going to come last May I actually went into labor and wasn’t able to make it to the meeting or shop for some of the last batch of cuttings and tubers! My daughter was born the following morning on May 10th, and til this day I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I went to the meeting– what a story that would have been!
Well, Makena is now 6 months old and already she has been exposed to the wonderful world of dahlias. She took her first plane ride to Portland in October and we got a chance to visit the Swan
Take this wonderful opportunity to hobnob with local dahliaphiles. We’ll discuss dahlia societies’ biz as well as ADS concerns. Karen Zydner will present her compilations from all the shows in California in 2017 and you learn the Best of the West. Come talk shop, talk dahlia swaps, enter the raffle, have fun. Download registration form here.
FUSSING IN FEBRUARY
I love puttering in my greenhouse whilst it rains. I love the sputter on the roof, the heightened aromas, and the shiny reflections of so many droplets twinkling in the daylight. I am tending my late-season cuttings by spraying them with a dilute solution of fertilizer and dishwashing soap. I have to be alert for seemingly spontaneously generated aphids who love the greenhouse sanctuary. I am also taking cuttings from gallon sized pot roots. Because my greenhouse has no extra heat, these cuttings take 4-6 weeks to make roots. I have them under shop lights 24 hours a day right now until I can figure out how to make the timer work again. Carl fostered out four of his gallon pots to green up before he got his own lights up. He scootered up the hill to pick them up from their sublet; such an Urban Gardener! The Maus Haus loft is filling with potted up milk cartons. I often put several tubers of the same variety in one carton because my loft space is limited. After they have sprouted, I parcel them out into individual cartons each. Sue tells me that her neighbor sprouts next to her water heater and near her clothes dryer. Good ideas. Sue put the word out on her neighborhood web site that she needed milk cartons; they arrived in such sufficiency that she had to put up a sign saying NO More Thank You. Send in your registration and attend the PSW Conference in the East Bay. Hobnob with Bloomeratti. Win door prizes. Learn about beneficial insects from keynote speaker Kevin Larkin.
Yours in Dirt,
Dahlia Society of California, Inc., San Francisco, CA — Copyrighted
Enews Layout and Quipster: Mike Willmarth
Snailmail mistress: Pat Hunter
Membership and website: Devorah Joseph
Photo Credits: Bergman, Cowlitz, Dietz, Elko, Gott, Gramman, Heckman, Joyce, Kelly, Kennedy, Peterson, Rammen, Wilco, Wyn