March
2008
Meets second Tuesday of the month at Rose City Park United Methodist Church, 5830 N.E.
Alameda
Editor:  Mike Riordan (503) 998-5184 Contacts:
Larry Smith (503) 777-1857 Jeanette Benson (503) 649-4118
Next meeting Tuesday, March 11th, 2008 @ 7:30 p.m.


CALLING ALL TUBERS
Please bring the tubers you plan to donate to our annual fundraisers to the March meeting.  Please be sure
each tuber is clean, free of rot and has a viable eye.  You do not need to write on each tuber, as long as it
is clearly marked in some way.  More than one tuber of a variety may be put in a bag with the name written
on the outside of the bag.  In preparation for our annual sales, two workshops will be held at Swan Island
Dahlias.  The first will be on Saturday, March 22nd, and the second on Saturday, April 26th.  The second
one will be to prepare tubers for the Master Gardener’s Sale.   Starting time for both workshops is 9:00 AM.
Please help out at one or both if you can.   We need your tubers and assistance.

MONTHLY AUCTION
If you have tubers of newer varieties that are ready to be auctioned, bring them in and they will be
auctioned off at this meeting.  The Board feels that we may get a better price if we do some selling prior to
our main event and some of those who take cuttings would like to get them sooner.  This will be limited to
newer varieties, or those that are very hard to find. Last month’s new and hard to find tuber auction netted
the society $197.50 thanks in large part to Max Ollieu’s generous tuber donations. Thanks too to the other
contributors!

COOKIES FOR MARCH
Shirley Bankston and Sue Rasmussen will be providing cookies for the March meeting.

MARCH PRGRAM
Our program for March will feature Jeff Viers who will speak about soils and fertilizers.  He will also have
some supplies available for sale.


2008 DUES ARE DUE
If you haven’t already paid, dues are past due.  Judges please remember that you are required to carry
membership in both the American Dahlia society and the PNDC (Pacific Northwest Dahlia conference).  
PDS dues, ADS dues and PNDC dues should be combined and paid to the Treasurer as noted below.
Federation of Northwest Dahlia Growers dues are $10 and also payable through our Treasurer.

PDS
    
ADS
    
PNDC
Adults:  $7.00
Couples:  $10.00
Juniors:  $1.00
    
Individual: $20.00
Family:   $23.00
    
Individual $10.00
Dual:  $15.00
Mail to or pay at next meeting
Larry Sawyer, 11015 S.W. Berkshire, Portland, OR 97225

MARCH CHECKLIST
How are those tubers doing in storage?  Regardless of your storage medium and method, it is advisable to
see how things are storing.  Sometimes rot or insects (springtails or fungus gnats) can spread from one
tuber to the next. Remove the rotted portion of the tubers and treat the cuts with captan or sulfur.  Many
growers believe that a rotting tuber gives of ethylene gas which promotes premature sprouting in the other
tubers in the same bag.  While checking the tubers you may want to select some varieties for cuttings.  I
don’t have the space to take all the cuttings I want at once.  Therefore, some tubers are rotated back into
storage and others come out to take still more cuttings.

While going through your stored tubers please take time to set aside tubers for our Auction and Sales.  We
need everyone’s support to insure the success of our annual fundraisers. Including a list of varieties and
respective quantities is helpful to the volunteers who will be doing the packaging at the workshops.  Since
the Portland Dahlia Society is a 501C-3 non-profit, your tuber donations should be tax deductible. Their
value would be what they went for at auction or were sold for on the tables in the back.

March is a good time to get a soil test and find out what your ground lacks or perhaps has too much of a
given element.  Most soils in the PNW tend to be on the acid side.  Applying lime, either regular calcium
carbonate or dolomite, will help bring your soil back to neutral.  This aids in the plants ability to
photosynthesize and process soil nutrients.   John Menzel once told me he thought the reason Australian
growers had fewer problems wintering “hard to keep varieties” is because the Australian soils are naturally
more alkaline.  Most soil tests require at least a cup and a half of soil collected in a zip lock bag.  It is
advisable to take this sample from several different places in your garden to get an accurate representative
sample. Try to keep the sample as sterile as possible by using very clean implements and wearing latex
gloves.  A&L Laboratories is a resource for soil tests.  See their web site at http://www.al-labs-west.
com/sections/anservices/soil/fees

FEDERATION SPRING WORKSHOP

The Federation of Northwest Dahlia Growers will hold their Spring Workshop at the Mt. Vernon Senior
Center on Saturday, March 29th.  There is no cost to this event and most participants bring a brown bag
lunch. Presentations on varied aspects of dahlia growing are provided throughout the day.  Contact Teresa
Bergman (360)274-8192 for more information and to coordinate car pool arrangements.

PNDC SPRING MEETING

Mark your calendars!!! The Pacific Northwest Dahlia Conference will hold their spring meeting at Steamer’s
Restaurant, 8303 NE Sandy Blvd., Portand, OR 97220 on Saturday, April 19th. The banquet facility is
located on the upper level.  PNDC Delegates meet in executive session at 11:00. The luncheon and
general meeting begin at noon.  More details to follow.

This is a wonderful opportunity to meet and network with the top originators, growers and exhibitors in the
PNW and British Columbia.  The most exciting part is the tuber and plant auction which begins at 1:00 PM.  
Many growers bring their newest and best introductions and/or imports.  The bidding is spirited and
entertaining and is handled by a professional auctioneer.  Membership in the PNDC is not required to
attend any portion of this event.  It is perfectly acceptable to arrive at 1:00 PM and participate in the auction
only, if this is your preference.


TUBER SALE FLYER

Included in this mailing is a flyer for our sale and auction April 10th.  If each of us could place (with
permission) the flyer or copies thereof in our area stores, community bulletin boards, health clubs, garden
centers, places of employment or any other place interested parties could take notice; this would help with
the success of our sale.


SOCIETY BUSINESS

At the February meeting the membership voted to honor the memory of Nick Gitts by purchasing a
revolving memorial trophy for the best disc (single) bloom in the show.   The trophy will be known as the
Nick Gitts Memorial Award.

Eric Toedtli announced he would like suggestions to make our Show Schedule more useable and easier to
read, etc.  Also please let Eric know if there were any omissions in the 2007 schedule that need to be
included in the 2008 schedule.

At the February meeting the membership voted to add monetary awards to the design division.  The cost
would be roughly $60.00 to be paid by the club.

Bill Mishler reported he has received 25 entries for the 2008 Canby Trial Garden.  He has room for five
more entries.

Our club’s local garden tour is scheduled for Sunday, August 17th, 2008.  We are trying the earlier date in
the hopes of catching dryer weather and gardens just coming into their first flush of blooms.

The cookie (treats) schedule was passed around at the February meeting.  We still need 10 more members
to bring treats so our schedule can be complete for this year.

STARTING TUBERS INDOORS

Many growers prefer to start their tubers indoors ahead of planting time.  This gives the plants a head start
and results in earlier flowers in the garden.  An added bonus is that there are extra sprouts available for
taking cuttings and thus having additional stock for planting, trading or making pot roots.

Many growers have a set up of stacked plastic or wire rack shelving in their basement or spare room.  
Suspended above the shelves are fluorescent light fixtures.  The multiple shelf set up yields some bottom
heat from the light fixture on the lower shelf.  Regular shop lights work just fine.  There is no advantage to
using the more expensive “grow” lights.   I leave my set up on 24 hours a day and the plants grow just fine.  

How soon should we start the tubers in pots indoors?  Most growers think that four to six weeks is just about
right.  If you were planting mid to late May, starting your tubers about the first of April would yield 8” plants
to set out at planting time.

If you want to experiment on a smaller scale, you can start just a few plants on a sunny window sill.  Or
better yet put a few pots out on a sunny patio or deck and bring them in on a nightly basis.

As the plants increase in growth, you may want to begin hardening some of the plants off.  This involves
leaving them outside in a sunny, yet protected area.  I have a south facing deck that works great.  By late
April or early May they can be left out all day and night.  Be watchful of a late frost and be prepared to
move inside at night if necessary.
Bumble Bee on a variegated dahlia