My Dahlia Planting Must-Haves

We are all gearing up for planting our dahlias in the US and I couldn't be more excited! Here are some of my must have supplies, some of which you can order right on Amazon.

First... field prep!

I make 3 foot wide beds and 3 foot wide paths in my dahlia production field. This is plenty of room for a cart to roll down the aisles and room for two rows of dahlias per bed. Since my field is reclaimed pasture, weed pressure is high and I use landscape fabric on my paths. This also makes deadheading and leaf stripping clean up a breeze because I throw everything on the fabric in the rows and sweep it out in one big swoop!

Dewitt 3x300 Woven Landscape Fabric

I use a drip system for my field which I ordered through Drip Depot. It was pretty intimidating to open up the kit but once we started installing it was a breeze. I use 12" emitter spacing with 0.25 GPH flow. We also have an inline fertigator (injects liquid fertilizer into the drip lines) and a timer to automatically water.

Premium Drip Irrigation Kit for Small Farms

3/4 Gallon Inline Fertilizing System

Two Zone Timer

Next, label making...

I have used P-touch laminated labels the last 3 seasons with great success and zero fading. They stick great to any plastic or metal I've tried. Be sure you are using laminated label tape, not thermal printed labels. I prefer tree tags for my labels because they can be secured around the stalk of the plant once it is large enough and won't get blown or kicked away.

Brother P-Touch Label Maker PT-P700

White Wrap Around Tree Tags

Label Maker Tape Refill Cartridges

Speaking of Documentation

Right along with my tags I use a robust mapping and digital documentation system. This gives me clear and insightful data that I can rely on from year to year. I track every plant in my field and know exactly where everything was planted and how it yielded. If you want to ditch the paper notes and spreadsheets, I'm teaching a class on how to build databases like this. Check it out.

Fight the slugs!

I spread Sluggo Plus when I plant my dahlias. Those sneaky slugs will mow tender sprouts down before I even see them! Sluggo Plus also works great for earwigs and cutworms.

Planting Gear

I'm obsessed with these one strap knee pads. I wear them all day when planting tubers and they don't pinch or cut off my circulation.

NoCry Gardening Knee Pads

I quit wearing expensive overalls and wear these butter leggings almost exclusively while working in the field. They don't restrict my movement in any way. They aren't too hot. They protect my legs from sunburn. I'm a huge fan. If I must work in the mud or pouring rain, I wear waterproof Grundens coveralls.

CRZ YOGA Butterluxe Leggings

Speaking of sunburn... this redhead doesn't like slathering every surface with sunscreen every day. So I cover as much of my skin as I can. I wear these UV sleeves a lot.

SHINYMOD UV Protection Cooling Sleeves 

Dahlia Support

The corral method is my preferred support system in my field. We plant 5 foot t-posts about every 8 feet down the rows and then create a fence with baling twine. You can get baling twine at your local farm supply store. T-posts I try to snag on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist at $5 or less per piece. I don't usually put up my corrals until mid July. It makes walking through the fields quicker if I can step over the rows while they are little.

Tytan Sisal Baler Twine

Dahlia Fertilization

I buck the conventional advice and fertilize my dahlias every two weeks until they start blooming and then once a month. I use the cheapest 10-10-10 fertilizer I can find (or sometimes 16-16-16 depending what the farm store has). The key is not to skimp on the nitrogen. My plants grow enormous and lush. They still put out tons of blooms as well.

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