Author Topic: Dahlias and other edible flowers  (Read 1552 times)

Doro

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #30 on: 2019-08-17, 05:00:16 AM »
It's my favourite one too. The pale yellow with the deep brick red is a great combination.
Oddly enough the plain white one is my second favourite. It's towering over a bunch of variegated Nasturtiums, which was a really nice display combination all summer.

All pictured flowers are from my seed of last year. I did not give them names yet... I'm rubbish at naming things and usually avoid it as long as possible. My cats are named Mr. and Mrs. Cat hahaha that's the level of my naming skills...
The seeds were taken from Teesebrook Audrey and Pooh. I still have Audrey but the roots of Pooh and all other varieties I grew last year rotted in winter storage. My root cellar is too humid for good storage of Dahlias.

reed

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #31 on: 2019-09-04, 10:02:02 AM »
Dug up 1/2 a dozen more plats that were under performing in growth and bloom and pleasantly surprised by size of roots. One especially had a nice clump of roots about the shape and a little bigger than chicken eggs. Even more pleasantly surprised by flavor, much diversity in there, one was quite sweet a little like honey and one a lot like carrot. They didn't have the expected peppery flavor that I found in those I grew last year from Joseph's seeds. All had a hint of perfume flavor that kind of lingers, a little off-putting but not awful.  I just sampled them raw, they were all crunchy and juicy, not fibrous at all.

Got about thirty or so left that look great and blooming nicely, anxious to see how they taste but will leave them till frost to find out.


reed

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #32 on: 2019-09-28, 01:27:37 PM »
I culled all the under-performing or what I consider ugly plants from my patch and the rest are putting on quite a show right now. Even got the woman interested the idea of plant breeding. Up till now she has generally just rolled her eyes at me about such things.

I got me some packets, markers and colored ribbon this morning and went out with intent to mark each one, add descriptions and numbers and henceforth collect seed into their own pack so I would know what I was planting next year. You, know conscientious plant breeder stuff.  They are a little crowded and some look quite a bit alike but I soldiered on to get a grand total of two appropriately marked and collected.

By then, looking at the rest of the row it stated rubbing up against my sensibility of, crap this is a lot of hassle, so I decided instead to just collect more seed from those with the prettiest flowers and less from the rest. When I dig them up, assuming I'm able  successfully overwinter them I'll favor the ones with bigger and more tasty roots. Selection criteria and procedure for my dahlias settled to my satisfaction I  returned to the patio with my coffee to listen to the birds and watch the sun finish coming up.

« Last Edit: 2019-09-28, 01:29:19 PM by reed »

Doro

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #33 on: 2019-09-28, 04:21:09 PM »
It sounds like more work than I'm putting into them.
I only have three plants that made mature seeds, three bags of labled seed was done quickly. It will be interesting to see if the next generation is noticeably earlier already or if the percentage of early seedlings needs more generations to increase significantly.
A killing frost is overdue here. It's been an unusually rainy and mild autumn, they had more time to make seeds than in a normal year. But on Monday proper night frost should end the season, we will have a clear night sky then and that means frost at this time of the year. It's about time to have a look at the tubers tomorrow :)

William S.

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #34 on: 2019-09-29, 08:23:52 PM »
Got four seed pods off my three year old Joseph Loft house Fahlias. Leaving them in the ground to freeze, going to restart a new generation next year.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian silty clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Doro

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #35 on: 2019-09-30, 02:17:41 AM »
All of mine are uprooted now, they are drying in the greenhouse atm and I'll put them into storage in the evening.
There were two root types, most plants had chubby roots and just some were long and thin. I do not really eat them, but I still do not like the long roots. They are awfully fragile when digging and in storage. Broken tubers rot and don't feed the plant next year. No good.
Of course some of my favourite flowers had the thin root type lol
At least the early white flowered one has round roots. I got selfed seed from that one, nothing else was flowering at that time, hopefully it shows in the root type of the next seedlings.

reed

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #36 on: 2019-09-30, 07:07:23 AM »
When I grew Joseph's a couple years ago I got big roots, 6-7 inches long and big around too, easily size of small baking potatoes. Also got lots of seeds. I left most in the ground too in hopes they would over winter but they didn't. My complaint about Joseph's is they were so HUGE. I bet if a person staked, caged and pampered one it would get six feet tall and spread that far too. Way too big for my little garden. I think my ground must be particularly hospitable to dahlias, next year I'll experiment with them outside the fences. If deer and rabbits leave them alone I can keep growing them.

Doro, yours are so beautiful. Looks like you dig them before the plants die back, is that what I should do too? How long before you expected first frost did you do it? Makes it easy to match flower to root.

I don't know if I'll be able to store them as I don't have a root cellar. I'm gonna try putting them in moist sand in a cooler in the unheated room upstairs. I'v already got lots of seeds.

« Last Edit: 2019-09-30, 09:48:48 AM by reed »

Doro

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #37 on: 2019-09-30, 11:11:12 AM »
Taking them up before or shortly after frost does not really matter. I've seen long time flowergardeners do it both ways.

I dug them now because I am unsure how bad the frost will be. The ground is quite cold already and I am worried that the roots could be damaged when the surface of the soil freezes over for a day or two.
And I typically clean the roots by dumping them into the rainbarrel ;) the last rainbarrel got emptied and stored for winter today.

reed

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #38 on: 2019-10-10, 08:08:04 AM »
I now wondering more about a couple other edible flowers. Daylilies and hostas. Daylilies were mentioned earlier in this thread and I read up on it a little more and apparently daylily roots and flowers are edible and shoots and flowers of hostas are. I'm wondering more about the young seed flower buds and fresh seed pods. They both make lots of these and there is a little more substance too them, I've tasted them both with out getting sick or anything. Have no clue about nutritional value though.

Like I said they both produce in abundance, especially the flower buds and seed pods, enough you could even can them if you wanted and without slowing down growth of the plants. I'm even wondering about and tasted the flower stalks, harvested in young stage, they aren't especially flavorful but not bad either.

Both of these plants grow and multiply without any effort at all, anyone else curious about expanding their use for food?
« Last Edit: 2019-10-10, 08:11:49 AM by reed »

Lauren

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #39 on: 2019-10-10, 09:17:12 AM »
Doesn't mean much in the context of this discussion, but gophers will overwinter under hostas and nibble at the roots all winter, leaving the crown looking like it hasn't been disturbed. I haven't found any information on eating hosta roots, but I haven't found anything indicating it can't be done either. I stopped growing them because they were just gopher-bait.

William S.

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #40 on: 2019-10-10, 03:05:00 PM »
Just talking edible flowers in general. Some of the native wildflowers in addition to camassia; lilium, brodiaea/dichelostemma/tritelia, Lewisia rediviva, and Perideridea gairdneri amongst others have some potential. Book 7 of Luther Burbank's methods and discoveries mentions his work with several of these in addition to camas. I also personally like native California Chia for both seeds and flowers. Lots of potential for pollinator plants that can also produce food with native edible flowers.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian silty clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

reed

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #41 on: 2019-11-11, 03:51:36 AM »
Dug up my dahlias yesterday. Tops had already died after a couple cold nights. Pretty sure the roots are OK though. I just kept five, those with biggest roots. They were supposed to be mignon type and only get 2 feet tall or less but a lot of them were much bigger.

The one with the green tape is the only one that made a nice clump of big roots and that really stayed under two feet tall. It also had the best flavor, reminded me a little of celery but also a little sweet and it had less of that perfume like after taste.

I'm not convinced of the usefulness of dahlias for a food crop but they are very productive and very easy to grow. Plus very pretty and attractive to bees so I'm gonna keep them around.

The second picture is my attempt to overwinter them.  They are about a foot deep with sand and dry leaves and then a tub of dry leaves on top. Hope it works.

When I plant next year, can I divide them up? Will each individual root grow or should I leave it all together?
« Last Edit: 2019-11-11, 03:58:37 AM by reed »

whwoz

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #42 on: Yesterday at 06:42:37 PM »
Yes Reed, you can divide them, as long as each division has an eye you should be ok

Doro

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #43 on: Today at 02:25:22 AM »
That's some amazing roots!
I don't pay much attention to how tall the plants are getting. When I plant them in a spot where they should not be too tall I trim them pretty hard while they are small. They just branch out and grow more bushy. Dahlias are pretty forgiving to early trimming.
My attempts at dividing the root clumps were not very successful to be honest. The growth points are so close to the stem and the roots are so brittle that I end up damaging them a lot. I guess it's one of those things with a steep learning curve where early attempts fail a lot, but with practice it's getting easier. Hopefully! I was using garden clippers, but next time I'll try with a sharp curved knife, maybe that will work better.
Your overwintering setup will work when it's below the frost line in the ground.
Rule of thumb for root cellars is that they need to be at least the same depth as the building recommendations for in ground water pipes. For me that means 1,5m (almost 5 feet) but in other climate zones you need way less... ;) I'm having major gardening envy right now, still digging Dahlias in November is fantastic! I forgot a spade in the compost heap and it's frozen stuck since almost a month... won't get it back before April lol.

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #44 on: Today at 06:11:56 AM »
Don't know if my overwinter set up will work or not. They aren't deep enough to be under frost line but I was afraid they would rot in the wet clay dirt if I put them that deep. Also too lazy to dig that big of a hole. That tub on top is full of dry leaves and sand so maybe it will help. I'm also hopeful of finding some that may have more hardy tendency.

Years ago I had some dinner plate types that overwintered on their own against the south wall of the house. That was before we started getting these freaky cold snaps mixed in to otherwise generally mild winters. It was -13C at my house this morning, a record they say. Two days ago while I was digging them it was +19C.