Some Tips on Lifting Dahlia Tubers
After a few days out of doors, the tubers should be transferred under cover to greenhouse or shed, for the final stage of drying. More soil will have dried out and should be removed., but there is no need to be very severe, as any left in place will lI elp to keep the tubers plump. The thinner tubers should be left un touched for the reasons explained earlier.
Because these are ideals, and therefore virtually impossible to attain, a number of methods, which go a long way towards them, are used by various growers. Most are comparatively simple, none has proved to be foolproof; but all give reasonable results.
This seems to bear out the supposition that feeding and rich soil conditions are contributory factors to storage loss, as the giant varieties are generally much more generously treated than the smaller types.
Storage losses are particularly high among tubers which have been fed with compound fertilisers of the highly soluble mineral type, as compared with those fed with fertilisers containing some elements at least in organic form. There is one important exception to this rule; plants fed with additional potassic salts (usually supplied in the form of sulphate of potash) seem to keep much better than the average plants, whatever the method of culture.
When drying under cover for this final stage it is not necessary to turn the tubers upside down, although an exception might be made in the case of any with the remains of a very thick heavy stem. Such sets of tubers are best split carefully into two, as this will allow the stem to dry out more readily; this type is always so difficult to dry out correctly-the stem often remains damp and a source of danger-that it is much better to divide them at this stage. Try to divide at some natural point to minimise the amount of tissue that has to be cut through, and avoid any points which seem likely to contain dormant eyes. The cut surfaces should be sterilised with the sulphur and lime mixture in the normal manner.
It is best to dry on wire trays, so that there is a clear circulation of air all round, and at a comparatively low temperature; the temperature, however, must be high enough to overcome any undue humidity which would be otherwise apparent. In many ways a blue-flame oil stove (used without a water tray) is ideal for this purpose as these lamps have a strong