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Dahlia Project Update
By Suraya David-Sadira FTT and Assistant Mini-Farm Manager, TJC

A few of the gorgeous dahlias harvested at TJC this year (credit: Suraya David-Sadira)

Image: A few of the gorgeous dahlias harvested at TJC this year (credit: Suraya David-Sadira)

In 2021, we established an experimental 10-Bed Unit at The Jeavons Center with a diet design including dahlias as a versatile carbon/calorie/income crop. This is part of a continuing series on this project. You can find a good intro to edible dahlias here.

The dahlias have been doing very well. As the temperatures drop a bit, the flowers have been getting more prolific. I notice that they tend to have a harder time when daytime temperatures are consistently over 90 degrees Fahrenheit and that they tend to like the 60-85°F range a lot better. Since they are still going strong, it is difficult to draw conclusions about which varieties I will select for further research next year. But, so far Thomas Edison, Orcas, Patches, Maki, Mikayla Miranda, and Hometown Hero have been preforming really well.

We will harvest tubers later this fall and store them until next year, when we will decide which ones to use based on this season's final results, and grow at least 25 square feet of each selected variety. Through this ongoing research, we will develop more detailed protocols around pruning, and be able to track yields on a larger scale. The goal is to identify the varieties that perform best in our climate and soil, and then develop a best growing practices protocol to maximize yields and sustainability. It is definitely going to be a lot of work this year to divide all the tubers, but the work is fun and the information we're gathering is exciting.

You can read about the tuber harvesting and dividing process in my article from 2022, here.

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