Updated: Apr 20, 2019
As winter goes on and spring continues to be quite cold, the luscious pictures of dahlias beckon on the internet, reminding me that summer will come again.. This week my order of dahlia tubers arrived from Ednie Flower Bulbs. Seven huge boxes. We are still having occasional heavy freezes at night and so we stashed them in my parents' garage next door. (We are short on outbuildings with protected space, which will be something we address this year. There is a large stone and wood bank barn, a machine shed, a stone smoke house and a summer kitchen, but none are conditioned spaces.)
My sister and I have been building large raised beds (pictured). Our plan is to grow some of the dahlias in these beds and some in the hoophouse. We have a very large flat area in front of the barn with full sun, but we will add shade cloth over them for protection from the heat of summer. This area will require deer fencing as their little hoof prints are all over the ground. (I toured a dahlia garden in Loudon county, Virginia a number of years ago and the gentleman who owned it had an elaborate set-up with shade cloth over his entire garden and 8ft. deer fencing--I'm modeling my new dahlia garden on his. He was a serious connoisseur with hundreds of plants and it was in his garden that I first saw the lovely Cafe au Lait dahlia--I went right home and ordered my first CAL tuber after seeing his gorgeous flowers and I've never looked back!
The arrival of FoxFarm potting soil on Friday meant we were able to start potting up the dahlias this weekend. We will start as many in pots as we have space for to get flowers early in June. I may put some into pots under low tunnels. (We are still working everyday on the high tunnel/hoophouse and are almost ready to get the plastic on, but not quite there.) This year is a work in progress. I’ve included a picture of the hoophouse with 60 yards of leafgro ready to spread.
Some of the dahlias will go into the hoophouse when it is complete, which will hopefully extend the season several weeks into the fall.
We are growing twenty varieties and expect to have about 600 plants this year. I’ve included Ednie’s dahlia poster with the varieties circled which we are growing.