Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Dahlias for the Bees

One of my friends grew a lot of dahlias this past year. When she dug them up to store for the winter, the ones she liked the least - all the cactus-flowered yellow ones - had produced more tubers than she was willing to keep.

However, those had nice, open centers that had made the flowers a favorite with bees, which meant she would be able to find a good home for the tubers without too much trouble. Lots of people want to help bees!

She tucked the tubers from those yellow-flowered plants into paper bags with peat moss, then put those in the car to deal with later. A month went by before she was able to pass them along. By the time the tubers made it to the office, some of them had developed problems. Luckily, a local dahlia expert -- my friend Maddie -- was in the office at exactly the right time. Of course, she was supposed to be working on her Senior DPA portfolio for 4-H!

It didn't take long for Maddie to sort through the tubers, trim away excess bits, and toss the bad ones.

Each bag held several plants'-worth of tubers, buried in the peat moss.

Some of the dahlia tubers were very obviously too far gone to keep.


She showed us the slimy innards of a tuber that had felt only a little bit soft from the outside.

This little dahlia tuber already has a nice big eye; it's a keeper!
One of the great things about my workplace is the number of plant-experts who stop by. We get to learn from all of them!

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