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Dahlia Harvest 2013

Posted on: November 25th, 2013 by Aimee Sherrill

     The tuber harvest at both farms is now complete and  Mother Nature was extremely nice to us this year.  On all the days that we were harvesting, temperatures were cool, but the sun was shining.  The perfect weather for digging dahlia tubers.

Thorp Harvest 2013

Thorp Harvest 2013

     It was another outstanding harvest this year.  We started at our Thorp, WA. farm, which freezes first in the fall.  After a 2-3 week period after the freeze, we can harvest in late October.  It’s extremely important to let nature freeze your dahlias before you dig.  This is what tells the dahlia, “it’s time to go to sleep for the winter.”  During this time, their skins are ripening and they are preparing themselves for winter storage.  Dahlias dug too early in the fall will have a tendency to shrivel in storage and don’t survive winter.  Be patient with your dahlias, they don’t cooperate if you don’t give them their time.

Our Eastern Washington Dahlia Barn in bloom

Our Eastern Washington Dahlia Barn in bloom

     Our Thorp, WA. farm is located in Eastern Washington,  where the sun shines almost 300 days per year.  It’s potato country in Eastern Washington and into Idaho, ideal tuber conditions.  Just like a potato is a tuber, dahlias are tubers too.  There’s also lots of wind that blows through the Kittitas Valley.  You would think it would work against the dahlias, but it actually makes them stronger.       Anytime a plant or a tree sways in the wind, it tells itself, “OK, I have to be really strong to withstand this wind.”  What happens in a trees case, is that it develops a really, strong root system.  In a dahlias case, it makes incredibly plump, healthy tubers, and lots of them.

     Our North Bend farm is our sample garden and is where we plant small plots of everything we grow.  Customers and visit us and shop for tubers in manicured gardens that are so much more pleasant than our Thorp production farm.  North Bend is our baby and still provides us with lots of healthy tubers.

Fall 2013 Elk

Fall 2013 Elk

    We’re always the last one standing in the fall, because we have really strong, healthy plants in North Bend.  Other growers from the Pike Place Market in Seattle come to us in the fall for flowers, when their dahlias have frozen or been beat down by the weather.  We do a technique called ‘Pinching Out’, that forces more branching and a stronger plant with more blooms.  Our flowers arrive later in the season, but the flowers and the plants last longer in the fall.

     Fall is very active by our farm in North Bend, is also the home to a ranging Roosevelt Elk heard that lives by our house.  We have very tall fences to protect us and our gardens from the elk.  In late September/ealy October you can see and hear these boys calling for and gathering up their harem.  We never get tired of seeing these majestic beauties.

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