It’s the time of year when the holidays are over and we hit the mid-winter lull. Now is the best time to start planning and preparing for the next growing season! Following is a list of things you can do to prepare your dahlia garden during the dark days of winter.
- Make a list of tubers you have in storage and that you have purchased. This will help you track what you have in storage, what you have ordered, to plan out next season’s garden. You can also track tuber loss with your list.
- Take stock of your tools, fertilizers, pest control products, garden markers, plant labels, etc. and make a list of items that you need to replace or stock up on, or maybe even add to your arsenal.
Now that you have a list of tubers you have for your next growing season, you can begin to plan the layout of your garden. Having your dahlias mapped out will help in case you lose your plant labels. The example provided below leaves room for notes to be taken on each plant.
- Remember to have a minimum of 18-24″ between each plant. This spacing allows for air circulation and for access to groom the plants.
- If you plan to exhibit your blooms, get out your calendar or planner and start marking down dates for stopping/topping and disbudding to time your blooms for show. You can find information on timing blooms by our very own Randy Siem in the article linked below:
- Make a schedule using a calendar or set up reminders on your smartphone for fertilizing and pest control applications during the growing season.
- Clean your garden tools with soap and water using a wire brush (such as this one that you can find on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00L8TKHGY/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1 ) or scrubbing sponge.
- If you need to disinfect your tools you can dip them in a bleach solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water or use a cotton pad soaked in rubbing alcohol.
- Dry your tools well with a rag and/or place them out to dry.
- Sharpen your tools either using a sharpening device at home or check with your garden center if they provide a sharpening service.
- Oil your metal tools using a lubricating oil (non-petroleum based such as this product also found on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002JN5PG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 ).
Check out the links below for more information on garden tool maintenance:
- Review your notes from last season to determine what worked and what didn’t work for your garden.
- Research methods for disease and pest control, watering methods and systems, protecting blooms, plant support options that reduce tying, etc.
- Make a plan of action for implementing any new or current techniques for next season.