Winter Time at Aztec Dahlias!

Winter time at Aztec Dahlias is our only down time – but not really!   Lots is happening behind the scenes even if we are not working out in the field or selling at the farmers markets.

We have added many new varieties for this season and are getting ready to start them for cuttings.  Checking inventory and inspecting tubers in Winter storage also takes place.   Next week we will begin the process of starting all 5000 of our field tubers in gallon pots in our greenhouse location to get an early start.  If everything goes as planned, we hope to have cut flowers in bloom and ready for sale starting the end of June!

Stay tuned for more news!

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Dahlias are here!

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We’re at Napa Farmers Market this morning and will be at Sonoma Farmers Market tonight selling our fresh cut dahlias and dahlia plants!

The season has gotten off to a slow start , but its officially begun! Come visit us at one of the farm markets, or stop by the farm 10-5 seven days a week and wander through 5,000 dahlia plants and over 375 varieties!

Aztec Dahlias
2478 E. Washington Steet (at the corner of Adobe Rd.)
Petaluma, CA 94954

Our website catalog is now open for placing your tuber orders for Spring. Check out the more than 30 new varieties for next season!

Aztecdahlias.com

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Farm markets begin for Aztec Dahlias

The 2012 Farm Market season officially began today in Napa this morning and Sonoma Plaza tonight!

Come by for the best selection of American Dahlia Society registered quality dahlia tubers and plants! Fresh cut dahlias will begin mid-July.

Our farm will officially open to the public once the blom season starts. Stay tuned for the coming announcement…

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Why buy fresh cut dahlias from Aztecdahlias.com?

Why buy our fresh cut dahlias vs. those from another grower? That’s an excellent question and one we have been asked before. To begin with, Aztec Dahlias are specialty growers of just dahlias. We have been growing dahlias for fourteen years and selling fresh cut dahlias, plants and tubers commercially for the past 10 years!

All of our varieties are registered hybrids with the American Dahlia Society. Each is a unique flower in terms of color combination, size, form and pedigree. These are not just garden variety dahlias you can pick up from a garden store or local nursery!

What does this mean to you? To put it in perspective, it would be like buying the hybrid tea rose Mister Lincoln vs. just a plain red rose. Or having an AKC registered Labrador Retreiver vs. a mixed breed dog from the pound.

As for our dahlias blooms, only the top quality flowers make the cut – literally! We have seen other flower growers at farmer’s markets selling inferior blooms with brown edges, insect eaten petals or fully open centers that will only last a couple of days. We cut fresh each day, usually just an hour or two before taking to market. We also cut our flowers with tight centers so that they will continue to open for our customers a good week to ten days providing the water is changed regularly. Flowers with open centers, brown edges or insect damage are dead headed and put into the compost heep.

Another unique feature we offer to our customers is the “build your own bouquet” concept. Our dahlias are brought to market as loose stems and are grouped by size and color pallette. This allows our customers to select only the dahlias they desire for their custom bouquet with as many or as few blooms as they desire making it uniquely theirs. Other flower sellers only offer premade bunches, usually of all the same color and variety. Can you say “boring?”

Why buy our dahlias? It’s simple! We offer top quality unique hybrid dahlias that you just can’t find anywhere else. They are the freshest long lasting dahlias you can buy and in the words of a famous burger chain, we let you “have it your way!”

Come visit us at one of the 8 farmer’s markets where we sell, or come visit us at our growing location in Petaluma. We are open to the public 7 days a week from 10 to 5:30 p.m. during bloom season.

We guarantee our dahlias will brighten your day or add that special touch to your wedding or special event!

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Is it time to plant dahlias now?

As we are now selling our tubers at farmers market’s this time of year, this question invariably comes up.  It’s interesting to listen to the answers well meaning friends give to their market companions based on what they think is accurate information.

A novel approach would be to ask the grower standing behind the table – me!

Many of the comments I hear regarding whether or not to buy tubers for planting now are along the lines of “Oh no, its way to early.  You don’t want to buy those now.  Wait until fall.”  Or the other I often hear is “No, its too late now.  Dahlias need to be planted in January or February.”IMG_0362

Both well meaning answers are in fact incorrect.  Dahlias are not fall bulbs like tulips and daffodils that need to be planted in the Fall and endure cold wet soil to be able to bloom in the early Spring.  They would also drown in Winter rains if planted in January or February.

No, Dahlias are Summer and Fall bloomers and need to be planted in warm spring soil that is not too wet.  Not only is it necessary to wait to plant until danger of frost has past, it is also necessary to wait until late, sometimes heavy, Spring rains have also past.  If the ground it too cold and wet, dahlias will (and do!) rot.

20120814-092949.jpgWe have been trying to plant since before Easter weekend this is year.  That Sunday and Monday we received a lot of rain.  We started the following weekend, but during the next week, we got more rain.  We then made a big push and got most of them in and then had 2 more days of rain.  We hope to finish the last 500 of our 5000 plants this Memorial weekend, but we had rain again today (Wednesday) and it may rain again on Friday.

If you have not planted your own dahlias yet, there is still time!  We have planted some dahlias as late as early July and still had flowers end of September through mid November in our area.  Later planting does not harm the plants, it only mean a shorter bloom season that particular year.  No harm, no foul!

So remember, if your asked “Can you still plant dahlias now?”  The answer is definitely yes!  The sooner you get them in the ground, the sooner you too can enjoy these gorgeously unique blooms!!

– Aztec Dahlias

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Nearing the end of the season….

 

Sea of Blooms - Aztec Dahlia Farm, Petaluma, CA

 

It’s been a challenging season weather wise for many of Northern California’s diverse crops – heirloom tomatoes, wine grapes, and yes, even our Dahlias!  Overall we have had a good year even if off to a slow start with our cold Summer.

Now is still a great time to come and visit the Aztec Dahlia farm to view our thousands of dahlias and hundreds of varieties.  We are also still selling plants which will get well established and provide early blooms for next year.  Additionally, orders are being taken for our dahlia tubers for next Spring.  Dahlias grow from tuberous roots (Tubers) and are not true bulbs.  Orders placed now via our web catalog (www.aztecdahlias.com) will be shipped out the first week of April for Spring planting.

At this time of year, we are often asked:  “Are you selling your bulbs now?”   Its a comment misconception.  As mentioned above, dahlias are not true bulbs.  Bulbs like Daffodils and Tulips need cold wet soil in winter to then bloom in Spring.   Dahlias, on the other hand, need warm dryer soil of late Spring.  If dahlias were to be planted in Fall they would not survive the Winter.

As the season winds down, we begin our preparations for tuber dig out and processing.  A plant tag is made with the variety name and our code printed out on labels with our new laser printer.  I made the upgrade this year to the laser printer for a few reasons, chief of which was the difficulty everyone had reading my unique scrawl!   Also because the laser labels will not fade or wash off during tuber processing.

Once all 5,000 labels have been created and attached to the plant tags, wires are attached to the tag and manually tied on to the base of each plant as tightly as possible.  This is to be sure the plant does not become a “mystery” dahlia during the dig out and subsequent tuber cleaning and division process.  The challenge at this stage is to find time to complete the labeling before the plants stop blooming or heavy rains come.

Once the tagging in completed, it’s a waiting game with the weather.   Our season typically runs until the end of October or early November.  I check the 10 day forecast daily to see how long we can go.  At this point it looks like slight showers tomorrow with more rain next weekend.  If it is light, we will go until the end of the first week of November.  It not, Halloween weekend maybe our last week.

 

Clara Huston

 

Come by any day for the next few weeks between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to enjoy the dahlias!  There is no entrance fee and I guarantee it will brighten your day and lift your spirits.  Pick up a bouquet of fresh-cut blooms for your next get together or as a gift to that special someone in your life.

Stay tuned to the next part of the end of season process and how we turn the plants in the field into next season tubers ready for planting in your own home garden….

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At the Farmers’ market today

Come see us at the Oxbow parking lot! There is a great band right next to us!

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