Muddy Work

It’s been raining pretty steadily at Coppertop for the majority of this month, with some breaks and a few clear days. Snow is piling up on our nearby mountains, but our temps have dipped only to the upper 30s. Worried about possible rot, I couldn’t wait any longer to cut back and dig up the dahlia beds, so I went at them this weekend! Now over 50 tubers of 30+ dahlia varieties are rinsed and labelled. Once dry, all will be trimmed of excess roots, bagged in wood shavings, and stored in boxes in our garden shed or garage. It feels stupendous to have this digging completed.



The tubers grew and multiplied vigorously this summer and fall, and many will need dividing in spring prior to planting.  A few had signs of vole nibbles, but no signs of rot, thankfully. It’s easy to see on ‘Rawhide’ which are the old tubers (dark) and which are new this season (light).



Another completed weekend project was work on the old foundation. Hours of weeding and planting bulbs should result in a gorgeous spring view. The abundance of annoying dock weed made for extra effort even with the super pliable, saturated soil. The longest and beastliest root I dug reached from my toes to my hip and can be seen below lying between tools and a bag of bulbs.




Five fall veggie beds are now covered and protected against frost and snow. Hubby did most of the work on this project — such a good guy! The 6 mil. poly I selected is reinforced with plastic strings which means small holes shouldn’t turn into large holes. 😉  The 10′ x 100′ poly roll will suffice for years. The poly lies over hoops formed by electrical conduit inserted into rings drilled in the interior of the beds. Long wood boards weigh down the rolled plastic on each side of our beds, and short lengths of split pvc pipe snap over the plastic and serve as clamps holding the ends closed. These extra measures still make it easy enough to remove the covers once in a while for watering, weeding, and harvesting. As for what’s growing under covers:  broccoli, cauliflower, chard, varieties of kale, and spinach.

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Growing success or lack thereof will determine our future dedication to these covered beds. I don’t intend to add to them since part of the joy of a relaxed winter is a respite from demanding gardening chores. Fresh homegrown veggies in mid-winter may change my views!

8 thoughts on “Muddy Work

    • Thank you, Gillian! Although it’s difficult to bid farewell to the most productive growing season, I know you’ll agree that we gardeners always look ahead to another harvest. What’s with our seasons changing so rapidly and the year flying by, though?! 😉


    • Growing dahlias in raised beds by themselves has made digging easier as I’m not interfering or disturbing any other roots nearby. I can also keep the soil amended more easily. Four months of a huge variety of blooms in these cutting beds makes the labor worth it to me!

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  1. Yes we are happy with these bed covers. You’re right — they’re small poly tunnels! The weight of the wood on each side holds them down in windy weather and the top cross beam over the hoops supports loads of snow.


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