Sprouting Dahlia Tubers Before Planting - Planting Dahlia Tubers in Trays

hey everybody what's up and welcome back

to the garden today we are going to be

taking a look at some of our Dahlia

tubers and begin the process of pre

sprouting those now pre sprouting is not

totally necessary some people choose to

just plant their tubers in the ground

and for some people that works fine for

me personally I don't trust my two birds

enough I don't trust my yard enough I

have a very heavy clay I have lots of

snails it like to munch on my tubers so

I like to be in full control of what's

going on you know especially since so

many Dahlia tubers can be so expensive

you best bet I'm gonna be taking care of

these things and as best as I can

first and foremost there are several

ways to do this and disclaimer full

disclaimer I am NOT a Dahlia growing

expert there are tons of people

specifically in the Pacific Northwest

that are experts at growing dahlias you

know I'm down here in the South dahlias

ain't really our thing down here

sometimes it gets a little too hot they

don't do as well as they should but I do

think that everybody can enjoy growing

them and enjoy growing something new in

their garden so if you have any helpful

comments feel free to leave them below

in a nice and constructive and helpful

manner and I would love to hear them our

first thing we want to do obviously as

we want to decide when we are going to

get these started my last frost date

here is about the first week of April so

I'm gonna get these started about a

month I'm a little bit late a month

before my last frost date a lot of

people choose to take Dahlia cuttings to

propagate their dahlias and get more

Dahlia plants for the growing season if

you do plan on doing that you will want

to start sooner hopefully I will have a

video coming on taking Dahlia cuttings

it just depends on how things go things

are a little bit crazy right now so

we'll see how that goes

but if I plan to take cuttings I usually

start them around sometime in February

indoors for the sake of this video we

will be pre sprouting them outdoors

using our winter sowing low tunnel or a

winter sowing container both of these

methods work really really well I'm here

in zone 6 be bordering on seven here in


to give you some reference so in the

spring in March we still get some cool

temperatures some nights below 32

degrees Fahrenheit those are the nights

we're gonna have to watch out for I'll

get into that here in a second the first

thing we want to do is choose some nice

healthy tubers now you know of course

you can save your tubers you'll see a

little bit later I have some tubers that

I've saved you'll know they're mine

because I didn't cut off the stem all

the way because I have bad tuber saving

habits but that's besides the point or

of course you can buy them when you were

buying them you're likely buying them

one of two ways through a reseller or

through just a privately owned farm both

ways I have their benefits you can

generally tell between the two resellers

will have clumps large clumps of values

sold to you and individuals usually just

have one single tuber there are pros and

cons with both obviously the clump may

seem like you're getting more but often

times you know the individual tuber is a

lot healthier and somebody actually

cares you know it's not just a large you

know ship them out somebody actually

cares so do prefer ordering from just

individuals not to mention its

supporting small business and I've

learned over the years firsthand how

much of a huge impact just supporting

one family can have on that family it's

really something kind of cooled and I

think we've gotten away from as a people

a lot anyway I am going to look for nice

healthy tubers to do this I want to make

sure that that tuber is nice and firm

and plump when I touch it with my hands

it's got no give in it it has very

little wrinkles deep wrinkles are

specially or bad if you give that a

squeeze and it sounds papery and it's

hollow and it kind of crumbles in your

hands just go ahead and dish it toss it

in the garbage I've received tubers like

this before you guys might remember that

strawberry ice tuber I got last year

what a joke anyway we want tubers

they're nice and plump after we look at

that we want to look at the neck of the


that's just the part that connects the

top and the actual tuber itself I guess

the big plump part I don't know how to

explain it that next should be nice and

plump as well or most importantly that

next should not be damaged in any way

occasionally if the neck is damaged it

will be fun but any kind of severe

damage you're not going to get any kind

of growth out of that tuber so another

thing to look out for

to make sure our tuber has eyes I think

the Dahlia growers say their tubers are

blind when they don't have any eyes

sometimes some varieties I think take a

little bit longer to develop eyes and

others so if you look at your tuber

directly after pulling it out of the

ground for storage and it doesn't have

any eyes yet don't freak out those out

wait and give them a chance but if they

are arriving in spring and they still

don't have any eyes I'll go ahead and

pop them up but I start worrying about

them a little bit anyway last but

certainly not least we want to make sure

that our tubers are a sufficient size

now this is where it varies wildly okay

depending on the varieties some Dahlia

plants that make gigantic tubers just

loads and loads of gigantic tubers some

do not some make little tiny things some

make you know barely any at all so

that's where you really have to kind of

pay attention ideally a good sized tuber

I like to make sure it's at least as

thick as maybe you know a washable

Margaret like the marker is used when

you're a kid in school to doodle

sometimes I will get one that's a little

bit thinner than that but generally

that's I think is a good guideline to

make sure that you are going to get a

really nice plant as much as length

length doesn't seem to really matter too

much as long as it's a nice robust plant

that we were putting into the ground so

you have a couple of options when it

comes to pre sprouting these I've seen a

lot of people pre sprout these in moist

peat moss I personally haven't done that

maybe I'll do that in the future and I

can make a video about it in the past

I've put my tubers down into just you

know plastic cups with drainage holes at

the bottom straight up and down that has

also worked phenomenally I've put those

plastic cups right into the low tunnel

the winter sowing low tunnel and

humidity in there and the warmth in

there is perfect for getting these

tubers growing and getting them active

if you do not have a winter sowing low

tunnel I have also done this exact same

method using milk jugs using the milk

jugs I prepare the milk jugs just as we

did with winter sowing Hoover in the


I tape it around the center I set it

outside where it can get rained on and

that extra warmth and heat will allow

that to grow what I've started doing in

recent years now that I've got these

seed starting trays is I am just simply

laying the tubers in the seed starting

trays flat and I'm covering them with

soil and allowing them to sprout that

way obviously I should mention that

these also go in the low tunnel the

winter sowing the low tunnel now the

reason I have actually grown to prefer

this way is for one it doesn't use any

cups I'm trying to cut down on the use

of plastic of course we all know that is

an issue not only that it allows them to

lay flat laying flat is essentially how

I plant them in the garden so the stems

will be nice and strong and they won't

topple over and break off and all that

stuff so I like to get them started

laying nice and flat as well and that's

something to the cups and sometimes the

milk jugs don't necessarily allow

depending on the size of the tuber is

for us to lay it flat so I think that's

really the main reason that I prefer

this laying the mountain trays I was

also a lot easier if I plan to take

cuttings of them they're just right

there I don't have to open containers

and yada yada and all this stuff it's

just easier to take cuttings from them

this way now of course you can start

these indoors on a heat mat with you

know grow lights and or in a warm sunny

windowsill you can of course do that I

personally like to get the Head Start

outside just so everything is already

hardened off everything is ready to go

everything is adjusted to my garden this

is personal preference there are tons of

ways to do it I don't think any way is

wrong necessarily or right but you have

to find what works for you so in doing

this with the winter sowing containers

and the milk jugs here in March I still

do get cold temperatures these dahlias

are not tender to frost the tubers

themselves I think are Hardy to USDA

zone eight or nine don't quote me on

that it might vary depending upon

variety if by chance I do have a very

light frost and they are in the hoop

house or the low tunnel or in a milk jug

container they will be fine as long as

they have not started

to grow once they have started to grow

that's really when you're going to be

needing to watch the containers and

watch the temperatures if you have

Dahlia growth you know and the

temperatures are gonna drop below 32 or

you got a frost come in you know your

weather better than I know your weather

you will need to take steps to protect

that new tender delicate growth so that

either means bringing those containers

indoors and you know if you only have a

couple containers that's not gonna be a

problem just bring those containers

indoors for the night when it warms back

up stick them back outside and let them

do their thing

this time of the year here where I live

we don't get a frost every single night

so I can afford to do that little extra

step because it's not as much of a

hassle another option of course is to

use a frost blanket there's a frost

projected or I think there might be a

frost or it's getting a little bit cold

what I'll do is I'll go outside and I'll

throw a frost blanket on it and then I

will cover the low tunnel right back up

and then when it warms back up I'll take

that frost blanket off um this really is

a process of trial and error and it

depends on where you live but that's

kind of the method that I've developed

over the last couple of years and it

seems to work really really well I know

when you say it out loud it sounds like

oh that's a lot of work but depending

upon the season it really is just a

matter of covering some things up a

couple times it's nice to not have to

you know squeeze things in under grow

lights and crowd things into a

windowsill it's really it's really nice

to just have it out there have nature

taking care of it you will need to watch

the soil moisture times those container

traits can dry out pretty quickly

especially if the weather is warm so you

will want to make sure you're keeping

those consistently moist of course not

soaking wet soggy because we don't want

our tubers to rot

obviously we want to keep it nice and

warm as well because we don't want to be

sitting in cold soil or a lot of this

really is you just have to use kind of

your own discretion on when the time is

going to be right then all the time it

takes for tubers to begin waking up and

starting to grow will vary greatly just

depending on the pond the variety

sometimes I get tubers that are already

actively growing which I personally like

and sometimes they will take forever to

wake up and start

growing out of their dormancy but you

just be patient don't lose hope

as long as you start with healthy tubers

you should get good results that's

really about it for this video I hope

that it was helpful I'm not quite sure

if it was I'm really just learning here

and hopefully it's helpful to somebody

you have any questions or comments be

sure to put them down below I usually

try to get to those within a week

depending upon my work schedule and how

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