Dahlia Society of California
April , 2005


NEXT MEETING: 12 April @ 8 PM @ 9th & Lincoln.  Program:  A Year of Dahlias, a slide show about how to grow dahlias from ground to show to digout.  Bring your friends who are interested in learning about dahlias.  Bring your extra cuttings, tubers or growing milk cartons to sell just in case people didn’t get enough at the tuber sale.  Melissa, Steve, Thelma & Joann volunteered to bring delectables.  Remember, this is the first meeting that new members from the tuber sale will attend.  Please introduce yourselves to anyone whom you do not know. 


FERTIGATION: PROFESSIONAL OR PRIVATE? Kevin Larkin, co-owner with Karen Zydner of Corralitos Gardens, demonstrated with an amazing array of equipment on how to spread water & fertilizer as uniformly as possible.  To calculate water flow, fill a 5-gallon bucket with water for five minutes.   Divide the total elapse time by 5 for flow per minute.  Use a pressure gauge to determine pressure per square inch.  At Corralitos Gardens they use CG tubing which gets progressively smaller & smaller.  Many different parts can be inserted in it, so a whole system can be constructed like a tinker toy project.  

At the faucet or tap, install a pressure reducer, a back flow device & a filter to keep the particulates from gumming up the capillary tubes.  Kevin demonstrated a variety of emitters, misters & sprinklers whose use depends on the amount of water needed.  Serge in Novato and Mike in Boise installed misters ON Top of each stake to palliate the triple digit heat in the summer.

Secure your lines or tubes because as they expand and contract with the temperatures, they “wander around.”  Depending on how big the area, two or more systems might be more flexible.  If a trench for the irrigation system must be dug, consider running electricity simultaneously. 

Due to ferocious lizard attacks on the attractive lines, Kevin recommended investing in repair kits.  To fertilize with such a system, Kevin posited two suggestions.  Given the tinker toy-esque system, there are fertilizer containers to pop into the lines directly. 

 Alternatively, Kevin often uses a bucket, a hose, and a snap in to his lines which uses a Venturi system to suck up fertilizer from a 5-gallon bucket.  For those with a smaller garden, Lou Lombardo showed how he fertilizes with 150 parts per million dilution of nitrogen every time he waters. 

He color codes his fertilizers, fungicides, microbicides, & drenches.  Using an automatic Ortho spray device, he dial selects for the concentration after he’s determined his water flow and pressure.  He customizes his fertigation system by attaching a watering wand to fill the basins at the foot of each dahlia clump.  He warns that overfertilizing can be just as deleterious as not fertilizing at all. 


GREEN FEEDING FRENZY:  Donations from CG Gardens and 100 luscious cuttings of marvelous winners such as Chimacum Julia, Belle of the Ball, Creve Coeur, Santa Claus & Caproz Jewel of Arlene were purchased in a twinkling.  Melissa & Sarah helped Lou L. pot up this coveted leafy mass over a month ago.  DJ said the ten hours he spent with Lou making another 256 was a tremendous seminar; he practiced making tip cuttings as well as leaf cuttings.  They promise more verdant treasures at the Tuber Sale. 

Click to read Lou Lombardo's
write-up on "Tip" and "Leaf"
cutting techniques.

DAHLIA DIRT:  Erik G. brought in a photo of the Dahlia Dell from the 1920’s looking much like today except that instead of Priuses there were Model T Fords parked on the perimeter.  Returning from the PSW Conference in Southern California, President Lou C. presented Jytte with a lovely medal for her win at the Conference Show last August. 

Lou Paradise took a medal home in absentia for his Best Open Disc.




Lou presented Deborah with both a heavy medal and a lovely Casey Clifford Memorial plaque. 

TUBER SALE AT LAST!  Thank you everyone for signing up to help from 7 am to Noon on Saturday April 2.   With such enthusiasm, we should have plenty of volunteers.  Everyone else will have to enter at 9 am with the rest of the public.  Please bring your ADS Classification Book, your name badge, a Bottle of Ink in a Pencil, a magnifying glass (optional), a yummy dish to share for potluck lunch (including serving utensil), a helping attitude and lots of patience.  If you have any extra plastic or paper grocery bags, Elsie says some of the people traveling by public transportation could use them.  Deborah will be staking & planting some initial plants in the Dahlia Dell after lunch. 

April 2, 2005  Saturday
9:00 AM – Noon
County Fair Building
Golden Gate Park
9th Avenue & Lincoln Way


APRIL ARRIVALS:  Finally! Time to plant!  As Kevin and Lou L. adjured, you should have corrected your phosphorous & calcium before you begin planting.  Try to ascertain which are your potentially tallest dahlias to place them in the back with your little twitchy clumps in the front.  

1. Pound in your stake.  Since Roger specializes in The Big Ones, he uses 2” diameter Paul Bunyan poles which he painted green.  Other people deploy painted rebars because it does not rot like wood.  Dick Parshall of Clear View Dahlias in Washington stretches orange snow mesh horizontally 18” above plantings and later another swath 36” above so the plants are held up as they grow.  Roy Stier of San Leandro just plants his very close together and runs lines along the sides.  I prefer one stake to one plant in my home garden. 

Juuls All Star

2.  Adhere your label.  Bob Bloomfield, my dahlia godfather, staples his names right to his stakes.  The Juuls and Paradise use special tags which they wire up.  I use venetian blinds.  Remember, “an unnamed dahlia is just a weed.”3.  Dig a hole 12” deep.  4.  Add a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10 or 16-16-16 ,a little bonemeal or your secret sauce and mix up with the dirt. 
  5.  Lay the tuber on its side as though it were taking a nap.  Have the eye pointing up.  6.  Add enough dirt to cover the tuber but do not fill in the basin.  7.  Sprinkle lightly THEN DO NOT WATER AGAIN UNTIL YOU SEE GREEN SPROUTS.  Excessive water at this point will just rot the tuber.
For cuttings follow steps 1-4.  5.  Remove the cutting, being careful not to disturb its roots.  6. Add enough dirt so that the plant is secure.  7.  Place a milk carton cylinder or a plastic terrarium around it to protect it from wind and too much sun in the beginning.  8.  Water well.    Obviously, if you are planting a combination of tubers and cuttings, you need to be very careful which gets how much water.  For your AA, A, B, BB, and WL, I recommend 3’ apart.  The smaller collarettes or poms can be crowded a bit more.  Remember to protect succulent new growth from snails, slugs and earwigs.  Let the season begin!

Matt Too

eNewsletter of Dahlia Society of California, Inc., San Francisco, CA
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