Every day, the blooms grow even lovelier in color and form. I cut this one a few days ago (its stem is so short!) because I knew if I left it on the plant, it would be destroyed by earwigs. I'm assuming it's earwigs.... I've been reading up on dahlias and have discovered that earwigs chew on the petals even before they have a chance to unfold. That's exactly what I'm seeing in my garden, that and chewed up leaves:
The plants were doing alright a few weeks ago, as they looked healthy and I picked my first bloom, which was also pretty healthy:
But within a couple of weeks, they became infested. As I mentioned in my "garden notes", I decided to spray them with "Bayer Advanced Natria". "Earwigs" is listed on the pesticide's label. It attaches to my hose, so I can spray it on. I prefer this to using a powder. I'm being very careful not to spray anything else, although the label does say you can use it on vegetable plants. I don't think so. Anyway, the plants seem to be bouncing back, and hope to be enjoying more blooms:
Just some notes for next year:
- Start all tubers indoors in mid-April.
- Save those sherbet containers! They're just the right size for starting the tubers!
- Don't give them much water until they are planted outside (after frost).
- Start a preventative program for slugs and earwigs immediately. Don't wait for the leaves and blooms to be ruined.
- If some of the new tubers don't grow, have them replaced!! (Didn't call soon enough here... lost "Parakeet" and "Snowflake".)
- Take tubers out of the ground two weeks after the killing frost (early November) and store in basement (Will post a separate post on over-wintering dahlias).
- Order new tubers in January for the new season: Swan Island Dahlias