If dahlia plants could call and have food delivered within an hour, it wouldn’t be for pizza. The call would be for black gold. Compost.
Did you know that compost is practically the answer to every type of soil problem? If you have heavy clay, (we do) compost helps break it up and make it lighter and fluffier. It can breathe easier, if you will.
Sandy, or light soil, causes water and nutrients to pass right through. Compost is recommended as well because it helps the soil to retain moisture and hold nutrients.
You might be scratching your head asking if clay soil holds too much water why wouldn’t compost make it hold more water like it does for the sandy soil? Wonder of wonders, it benefits both types of soil. The garden miracle worker. It levels the playing field of clay and sand to a garden haven for plants.
If you are among the fortunate to have loamy soil in your garden, count your blessings, but compost can still be the answer. Think of compost as soil conditioner with benefits. If you want to show dahlias some love, work in some rich, crumbly compost.
Nutrients in compost, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium are released slower over a longer time period. Other nutrients in compost are calcium, magnesium and sulfur. Trace elements found in compost are copper, iron, carbon, sulfur and boron.
Never again will you look at compost and think it’s just kitchens scraps and leaves broken down into unrecognizable pieces that all look alike. It is full of LIFE, microorganisms, which help deliver nutrients to the plant roots. Compost delivers.
We added compost with every dahlia we planted and they are not just surviving, they are thriving. There is a big arch between those two areas.
I read about a dahlia grower who forty years ago told people how to plant dahlias. Dig a hole, plant tuber with a handful of bonemeal, and water occasionally. But then they had to use miticides, fungicides and chemical fertilizers. I know nature can do it better and it’s not harmful to anyone, plus compost has a nice scent to it. It smells like after it rains on a warm spring day.
The “healthier” your soil, the “healthier” your dahlias will be and you shouldn’t need any sprays other than a garden hose.
The best advice for any dahlia gardener is to, “Feed your soil.” Start with compost. If you don’t compost bins, dial it up for delivery or purchase by the yard at a local nursery. Give it a try and let me know. You’ll be so happy with the results you’ll wonder why you haven’t grown more dahlias.
Until tomorrow…Support the soil your dahlias live in and structurally support them above the soil. Dahlias love all kinds of support. They will smile bigger and brighter.