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.
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….