Jack’s Back!

Jack has returned with a vengeance in South Wiltshire this week. He first hit on Sunday and then lingered on and off for the next five days. Reducing the Dahlia bed from this:

To this:

In less than a week. My favourite plant, a summer powerhouse of growth and flowers, reduced to something resembling wilted spinach in double-quick time. Summer is officially over!

I had to keep the mourning period brief as I was setting off to Derby in a few hours and the tubers had to be lifted to guarantee their survival through the winter. I took a knife to the thick stems, some of which I could barely wrap my hand round.

And cut the foliage down to ground level. The stems are amazing, more like drain pipes with water trickling back out when cut. An important point to remember Dahlias need lots of water through the summer months.

Using a fork I lifted each tuber remembering to label and note the bloom colour for next year.

After an hour the job was done.

The tubers have really grown in size since planting. The prize has to go to Kennemerland, the largest tuber by some distance. I took off what soil I could before putting them in the garage to dry out. I’ll deal with them properly next week. They need to be dry and frost free to get through the winter successfully.

The last job was to dig up the celery, which was in a more sheltered spot so unaffected by frosts so far. I’ll clean them up and freeze most of this for winter use in stocks and soups. I’ll keep a few stalks wrapped in tin foil in the bottom of the fridge as this keeps them fresh for ages.

It’s been a great first year for growing Dahlias. They are easy to grow, I’ve had no real problems this year. If you want great flowers in your garden or for cutting all the way through to October then I would recommend giving them a go. If you want to have a dabble in the local show then you can go further by stopping and disbudding. And who knows I might try a higher standard next year.

Have a great weekend!


15 responses to “Jack’s Back!

  1. Still no frost up here Damo. I was cutting dahlias for the house yesterday – we don’t dig oursbeing on the plot they are not in the way of anything. I’ve described our storage method on my website here if you are interested

    • Hi Sue, there was a frost were I was staying in Derby this morning so may have hit further North now. Thanks for the link I’ll take a look.

  2. Had our first proper frost on the South Coast yesterday morning; no dahlias in our garden to destroy, but that’s definitely the end of the sweet peas. I also feel sorry for the cosmos that I planted in a pot way back in June/July which got badly trashed by kids and slugs, and has only just seen fit to flower.

  3. There was a hard frost here over night on Wednesday. The allotments are open and exposed so it’s not surprising that just about all the flowers were badly affected. It’s a pity that it didn’t hold off for a few more weeks.
    You’ve done brilliantly with your dahlias and I can see you doing even better next year.
    Thanks, enjoy your weekend too!

  4. We still haven’t had a frost here, I can hardly believe it when there’s frost so much further south than us. Your dahlias have been really good this year, I’m definitely going to grow more next year.

  5. I am just starting to plant out my dahlias here in Australia. Even though it is a pity your dahlias are finished for this year, you will definitely have a lot to plant next year.

  6. We had a mild frost on Tuesday, followed by a harder one on Wednesday. Luckily the Christmas spuds are in planters so I managed to move them. I fleeced up the carrot and covered the rocket and turnips with cloches. I think I’ve generally got awasy with it, but most of my remaining stuff should be frost tolerant(ish).

  7. Now that is a familiar site! My Dahlias got frosted three days ago, lifted the tubers in the rain yesterday. Couldn’t believe how much growth they had put on below ground! Now drying off in the garage while I try to find sulphur powder. Am also trying to decide what to pack them with – am thinking shredded paper at the moment.

    • I may have lifted them too early as the tubers are still growing at this stage but I was worried about frost damage and was amazed how big the tubers have grown anyway. Just going to store them in boxes with dry compost, fingers crossed!

  8. Pingback: Looking Back……. « Two Chances Veg Plot Blog

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