This is another in the ‘sad’ series…

My dahlias were superb last year.

Nuit d’ete and Karma chocolate provided the dark and moody backdrop for the pastel shades of cafe au lait, while the Bishop provided focus.

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I really wanted to keep these dahlias and so for the first time, I lifted the tubers and stored them in the purple potting shed.  This is were it all started to go a bit wrong…

Cafe au Lait grew in the polytunnel and was the largest tuber, probably trebling in size.  I brushed off the soil, placed in a wooden crate lined with newspaper and covered in Perlite a la Monty. It looked like this last weekend. Completely rotten.

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The Karma Chocolates had a lot of heavy clay soil around the tubers which I was concerned about damaging, so I left to dry in the greenhouse and brushed off as much as I could.  I’d run out of Perlite, so the tubers were simply placed in a wooden tray lined with newspaper.  I figured that the clay soil would provide some protection.  They looked like this at the weekend. Nothing could be saved.

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The Bishop of Landaff was stored in a cardboard box and was completely shrivelled.

The Nuit d’ete were treated a little differently.  I washed off as much soil as possible and  stored them upside down for about a week in the greenhouse to allow any excess moisture to drain or evaporate.  They then went into a wooden crate lined with newspaper, much like the Karmas but stored on a lower shelf.  They now look like this.

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I’ll know in a few weeks if the tubers are still viable.  In the meantime, I took advantage of Sarah Raven’s 15% off offer to restock; 1 x Karma chocolate, 2 x Cafe au Lait, 1 x Mambo, 1 x Bright eyes and 1 x After dusk

I really don’t want to repeat this sad story next year, so I need to work out what went wrong.  I think the initial step of storing upside down in the greenhouse is essential.  I also wonder if the potting shed is the best place to store them – perhaps keeping them in the greenhouse over winter would be better?

What advice, tips and tricks can you share with me?