When growing glads or dahlias you must have a soil ph of 6.0-6.5, 6.5 is perfect. Make sure if you lime, use the faster acting pelletized lime or limestone in the fall. I prefer the pelletized, itís not as messy. For fertilizers before planting we use 10-20-20 and calcium nitrate right in the trench. After planting the glads we use a water soluble blend of 20-20-20 with the micronutrients. We start applying in the 2-3 leaf stage along with the insecticide .. All the glad corms are dipped in captan for 35-45 minutes before planting.
The dahlia tubers are cut up in the winter and dipped in sulfur dust to help seal the cut from bacteria and mold. After planting the dahlias we fertilize with all water soluble solutions once the dahlia plants are 8-10Ē high we start to fertilize either by foliar application or injecting through the sprinkler heads with dosmatic injector. The solutions we use for the dahlias are bio-plex technical transplant concentrate and plant enhancer. This is a foliar spray solution or absorbed into the roots through the sprinkler heads also. It is much more economical using a hand sprayer and applying to the plant because you only need 3 tablespoons per 5 gallons. When applying through the sprinkler system we use a gallon/acre. The bio-plex is a concentrated liquid complex of many organic compounds including a cold processed seaweed extract, humic substances, numerous plant vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, nutrient chelators, root specific growth stimulators, chelated iron + micronutrients and a new state of the art organo-silicone based tissue and soil penetrant. This helps the plants in reducing wilt, increased moisture retention, and more rapid plant establishment and rooting. We have also noticed better tuber production on the dahlias,and better quality on the glads . We normally do two applications about two weeks apart and another one later in the season. On the dahlias we also use Jacks 10-30-20 blossom booster before and during bud formation. This can be mixed with an insecticide to help control mites.
When harvesting we dig all of them by hand using a pitch fork. The same with most of the dahlias. Some of our dahlias (the bigger plantings) are dug by running a blade underneath and loosening up the clumps. All the tops are pruned before we use the blade. No matter what you use itís going to be hard work. All our glad corms are stored in screen bottom trays in racks. Our dahlias are stored in plastic bags on shelves. We run large diameter fans and a humidifier during the drying period. Then itís time to clean the glad corms and divide the dahlia clumps. The temperature in our storage is 40 degrees in the winter heated by propane.
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