Friday, May 3, 2013

Newsfeed: The Dahlias Are Planted at Lynch Creek

Rows in the Farm's field are set to receive the dahlia tubers.
The dahlias of 2013 are planted at Lynch Creek Farm.

All the lovely, fat dahlia tubers that will produce a riot of blooms in late summer have been snuggled into the loamy soil at Lynch Creek Farm between Shelton and Olympia near Oyster Bay.

It's no small thing, planting dahlias, when it's whole fields full of them. The site is cleared of any plant debris from the previous season. Trenches are dug and the soil enriched with compost.

The field that has heavy, clayish soil is reinforced with sand to increase its drainage capacity; dahlias don't like having wet feet, which can cause the dahlia bulbs or, more correctly, dahlia tubers to develop rot.

Tubers are set carefully into the ground, eyes-up.
The other growing area is sandy, so the addition of peat moss and plenty of rich organic material helps to build up the soil. The difference between them points up the fact that with a little help, almost any soil can be amended to grow dahlias.

After the soil is ready, the tubers are placed eye-up in the ground two to three feet apart, depending on the ultimate size of the plant. Yes, dahlia tubers have eyes, like that popular edible tuber, the potato. The eye is ultimately the sprout (unlike potatoes, dahlia tubers tend to have a single eye) that will grow from a cluster of emerging shoots into the plant that produces the beautiful dahlias we all love.

Planted tubers are covered with about six inches of soil.
The gang at the Farm will keep the rows in the planted field well-weeded so that the opportunistic weeds don't rob the emerging dahlia plants of nutrients.

Right now, a spate of fine spring weather is warming the soil to give the dahlias of the 2013 season a great start. Before we know it, the dahlias will be up and growing.

Until those first green shoots appear and start growing, it's a waiting game.

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