Dahlia Details

Dahlia Details

Last week, Rob outlined the prospects for over-wintering his wife’s dahlia bulbs in a new project. Several of you offer thoughts. – Editor

“My father used to be a very active and enthusiastic dahlia grower. He would keep the bulbs over the winters in sawdust in some kind of box. I don’t remember if it was wooden or just cardboard. I don’t know if the sawdust was totally dry or if it was damp. Or if it was covered or just closed over with a lid. That was a longggggggggggggggg time ago. Dad is also long ago deceased, since 1983. Whatever way it was that he did it, the methods worked just fine, and he replanted them again every spring successfully. That all came to an end after we had to move from the Portland, Oregon, area to the Southern California area due to the transferring of the entire branch office there. Dad decided it was better to keep that job at his age of 55 in the year 1961, than try to start over with another company. He was an accountant for that company. Also, he did some level of woodworking himself. He only would use hand tools. Power tools were not safe enough for him. Can’t blame him. Had a few close calls myself. I used to help him with various projects. That is how my woodworking skills started, I think. It was a successful change to a great high school in the area called Westchester near the LA international airport. But after graduation from high school in 1964, I got out of that city and came back to Oregon and have been here ever since. My parents moved back again too, after he retired. Now we are getting interested in dahlias more ourselves. We have had a few plants in the past. We now have 2.5 acres and are developing more of our property these past six years since we both retired and moved out of Portland to the Dundee, Oregon, area a few miles southwest of Portland. We just attended, a few weeks ago, the Dahlia festival at a farm south of the Oregon City area and north of Canby, Oregon. It is a HUGE farm of just dahlias. All different types.” Stephen Page

“When I lived in New Hampshire, my wife had many dahlias. We had neither basement nor garage. So they wintered in her walk-in closet in a big trash can on wheels packed in peat moss. We air-dried them outdoors about a week before storing. They loved it in there in the dark, warm ‘den.’ Planted them every year until we finally sold that house. We live in Florida now, so no more digging them up! P.S.: You guys have made woodworking most enjoyable for me.” – Roy Whalen

“My wife and I also love dahlias here in the Albany, New York, area where we live. For years I have been digging up the bulbs every fall after the frost kills the plant and all the nutrients have drained back into the bulbs. I cut off all the plant growth and then I simply toss the bulbs in a five-gallon bucket and store them in the garage for the winter. Never had a problem with them growing the next season after planting them after the last frost. Our garage stays above 40 degrees all winter, even though it is not heated, so perhaps that is what helps them to weather the winter since they never freeze. Perhaps your area of Minnesota is a bit colder climate than we are? Hope your ‘Operation Dahlia Bulbs’ is a success…only time will tell.” – Rick Bird

Posted in: