Dahlias from Tubers, Kitchen Garden Leeks, Watering the Garden
This weather! Wow! My kids are running around without coats on. I have unplugged the ceramic heat bulbs in the greenhouse. A multitude of flower plants have been put into the garden. Rainy nights followed by sunny days have created perfect early spring transplant weather. Glorious!
My top priority of the week was to get my dahlia tubers into the ground. Usually, I wait until April 1st, but I decided to get a jump start this year. My yard is in a unique little microclimate, the last days of March were forecasted to stay warm, and since I have lived in Point Roberts there has been no real frost after April 1st. I know there is a slight chance this could happen but but I am taking a calculated risk. To make sure I don't lose any precious dahlias, I will check the forecast daily, and have floating row cover and even blankets on hand if it becomes necessary to protect the dahlias that have already poked their heads above the soil.
I pre-sprouted some of my dahlias (including October Sky, shown in this photo) before planting, and the rest I pulled out of storage where they have been resting dormant since I dug up my dahlias in early winter. The pre-sprouted tubers will flower weeks before the rest. This fact, I love. I planted fifty tubers and I couldn't be more excited. I am growing some new varieties this summer and it will be wonderful to meet their blooms in person.
Friday, I am sorting through the remainder of my dahlia tubers to get them ready for my dahlia tuber sale that I am having at the Garden Stand this Saturday and Sunday. Dahlias should be the poster child of PNW ornamental flowers. Dahlias are my absolute favourite, and they are simple to grow here. In a full sun location, dig a four to six inch deep hole, place the tuber in the hole, cover with soil, watch for sprouts above the ground, then water regularly. These flowers grow tall and like to be staked. You might want to sprinkle some Sluggo Plus organic (non-poisonous!) pest control once the dahlia shoots appear. Other than soap, Sluggo is the only pest control I ever apply. In my garden, it is essential for keeping the slugs, and most especially the sow bugs, from nibbling my seedlings down to nothingness. Come autumn, you may choose to dig up your tubers, but this is not necessary along the coast (as long as your ground is well draining). It is easiest to let them lie dormant in the ground. Growing dahlias really couldn't be easier.
My dahlia tuber sale will be from 11am to 5pm this Saturday and Sunday. If there are any left over after the weekend, I will have the tubers for sale on weekdays, as well. Help yourself - the Collection Jar will be out. As will the Donation Jar for Ukraine.
Last week my husband finished the irrigation that he began a year ago. It feels like magic. I turn on the faucet, open and close a few spigots, run off to do something entirely unrelated and voila, the watering is done. That experience I will follow up daily with gratitude.
Among the seedlings I transplanted into the garden this week were Calendula, for use in flower bouquets, skin balm and soap bars. In a couple of weeks, I will have Calendula Starts available in the Garden Stand. As well, I planted out Rudbeckia, Ammi, Strawflowers, Statice, Bells of Ireland, Pastel Yarrow and Snapdragons. Snapdragons are perennial where I live. Sometimes I grow them as perennials and sometimes as annuals. Us gardeners are fickle. We pour love and attention into every single plant. We find the perfect spot. Then we move them. We rip them out. We change our minds. They go in the compost or are gifted to someone else's garden. We get tired and "forget" to water. Thus, some years Snapdragons are perennials and others they are annuals. This year I am starting all over from Snapdragon scratch.
In my vegetable garden, I planted leek seeds and more cauliflower and broccoli. I grow several different types of leeks. I can't really tell the difference between any of them, but it is fun to go through the seed catalogue and pick several varieties. Leeks are an ideal crop for the full year garden. I plant my leeks now and we begin to harvest them for the kitchen when it is time to thin. Then we continue to pick them as needed. In the autumn, my husband (some years the kids pitch in) gathers fallen leaves and I mulch the shoulder of the leeks with these. We harvest all winter long, taking them in to cook, right up until they are all gone in early spring. It is fantastic to have fresh leeks all winter long, and again, very easy.
Not long ago, I pruned the Hazelnut and Willow trees. My husband got around to cutting these shorter this week and adding them to the wood stack. I love his wood-stack-wall. I find it beautiful. We don't burn much wood. After six years spent living in LA, the last thing our lungs need is to sit around a fire, taking in deep inhalations of smoke, just for the fun of it. Instead of a wood pile for burning, my husband has inoculated the wood stack with turkey tail mushrooms. I use Turkey Tail Mushrooms as a main nourishing ingredient in my handmade skin balms and soap bars. I really appreciate how enthusiastic my husband is about my garden and botanical products and how much attention he pours into my projects. I am fortunate.
Every Saturday and Sunday, 11am to 5pm: The Garden Stand is open
Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3: Dahlia Tuber Sale at The Garden Stand
Saturday, April 9 and Sunday April 10: Strawflowers, Calendula and other Special Annuals at The Garden Stand
Saturday, April 16, 11am to 2pm: Your Local Small Market, Point Roberts Community Center
Sunday April 17 and Monday April 18: Tomato Plants at The Garden Stand
Saturday, April 23 and Sunday April 24: Cucumber and Eggplant Starts at The Garden Stand
Wishing you a great week.
Looking forward to supplying locals with dahlia tubers this weekend!