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Jobs for the month

The following is a checklist of the most important tasks at the different times of the year.

(Follow the links to the Growing pages for more detailed explanations.)

The timing given is only a guide. Tasks may be tackled earlier or later depending on your local conditions and on variations in the seasons from year to year. Monitoring of your plants' progress will usually be your real guide.

During the months of dormancy the timing of tasks is usually more flexible and they can often be carried out over time.


June - July

Dig and divide your tubers unless your soil is well drained. The task can be spread out over weeks to suit your other priorities, the weather and your back!

Label your clumps/tubers as you go to ensure they don’t get mixed up.

Store lifted tubers over winter in a medium that will keep them from rotting or drying out.

If necessary, protect your tubers from rats with poison or some other method.

Place dahlias in pots under cover with enough moisture to not dry out.

Late winter is a good time to grow a green crop to be dug into the soil in Spring.


August - September

Check stored tubers from time to time for signs of rot or drying out. Discard rotted tubers.

Work on preparing the soil.

    • Incorporate as much organic matter as possible, giving it time to rot down before planting in October/November.
    • Check the pH using a soil testing kit and adjust the pH if necessary.
    • If you planted a green manure crop dig it in at least three weeks before planting.
    • About three weeks before planting work in blood and bone or organic fertiliser pellets.

Move tubers into a warm place to stimulate shoots from which to take cuttings.

Tidy up around the patch – remove weeds and clean out hiding places for snails and other pests.

Check your stakes and saw off any rot. Buy replacements if they are too short to use.

Add to your stock at the Society’s September meeting sale of tuber clumps.


October - November

Purchase tubers at the Societies auctions.

Take cuttings for new plants.

Planting time! A fortnight either side of Melbourne Cup Day is a good guide.

Larger varieties need support. Plant stakes first to avoid damaging the tuber.

Plant the tuber and label the stake or place a name label nearby.

Protect the new dahlia shoots from snails and slugs.


December

Plants should be up and growing. Where several shoots appear, select the strongest and remove the rest, cutting as close to the tuber as possible.

Plant out cuttings taken in Spring or re-pot them into larger pots.

Tie the young plants to their stakes to protect against breakages.

Stopping – pinch out the growing tip when the plants reach 4-5 sets of leaves to encourage a bushier plant with more flowers.

Disbranch as the plant grows to contain the bushiness if you want to produce larger (but fewer) blooms.

Regular feeding and watering is necessary from now on.

Jump on any pests and diseases if they arise.


January

Start disbudding by removing the side buds on each flower head to encourage the remaining bud to develop into a superb bloom.

Mulch well to conserve moisture.

Maintain the feeding and watering regime.

Deal with any critters that may be making their presence felt.

Pick regularly - early morning is best - to encourage more blooms.


February - March

The height of the season. Also Showtime with shows across the State.

Reduce the Nitrogen component in your fertiliser mix to improve the keeping quality of the tubers.

Hot weather in summer can be a challenge – frequent short bursts of watering at ground level help protect plants.

Provide temporary shade for precious show blooms with umbrellas and old hats tied or nailed to stakes.

Keep an eye out for pests.

    • Remove leaves from the lower part of the stem to increase air circulation.
    • Spray any powdery mildew with fungicide.
    • Look out for mite infestations during hot spells.

Take photographs and put them on the DSV Facebook Page or Instagram.

April - May

Make sure your dahlias are correctly labelled before the last blooms disappear and you lose track of them.

Cut back plants to reduce the risk of infection and to direct energy into the maturing tubers.

If you want to grow from seed, let some plants produce seed heads. When they are tight and full, cut them off, dry them out and then extract, dry and store the seed.

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47 Miller Crescent, Mount Waverley 3149

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