Sunday, 4 December 2011

Dahlia Salad

Dahlia Salad

3 large carrots, diced, preferably a mix of yellow and orange
1 pound dahlia tubers, pared and diced
1/2 pound fresh green string beans, cut into diamonds
1/2 cup virgin olive oil
3 tbsp vinegar (tarragon, chervil or dill vinegar recommended)
Faux mayonnaise (see recipe below)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 hard boiled egg, quartered
Mixed herbs (dill, parsley, chives), chopped

I cannot actually vouch for this recipe, I do not eat any sort of salad - whether they contain dahlias or not, but it is interesting website I took this from and well worth looking at in general.  I found it as I was specifically looking for something to tell me more about the tuber of dahlias being edible.  I thought they might taste like potatoes, well they look a little like them, but apparently they vary in taste and can be carroty/celery like or just bland.  Personally, salad-dislike aside, I probably wouldn't eat them anyway.
It is, however, that time of year when thoughts turn to dahlias.  We have now had a couple of frosts and the one on Wednesday night was enough to turn the dahlia leaves black and limp.  I remember the first time I grew dahlias and I read that once the leaves were black it was time to lift them,  I fretted that I might not know when this had happened, but of course as soon as it does it is obvious. 
I do not grow a lot of tender plants.  I could take the moral high ground and explain that I prefer native hardy perennials, and to a point there is some truth in that, butin reality I thought them far too much trouble.  Lifting, storing etc was far too much like hard work.  Then I saw a dahlia I wanted to grow; no, correct that - had to grow and then I was hooked.  Once I had kept a couple alive over the winter suddenly they did not seem quite so difficult to deal with.  Of course not all plans go well.  Last year I lost virtually all my dahlias, they rotted away in the greenhouse so I clearly did something wrong.  Undeterred though I grew a lot from seed this year and just bought a couple of tubers that I took cuttings from to increase the amount I had.  Dahlias are remarkably easy to take from cuttings so I rarely buy more than one as I can get a few plants from it.
So the frost means that now they have been lifted and they are now drying in the greenhouse before I store them away for the winter.  

Every year I also try and rescue the tubers that drop off the main bunch.  I think they should grow into their own plants.  Every year I try and store them carefully but never anything comes of it, I am careful and plant them the right way up, keep them dry over winter - and the ones I did this to last year didn't rot, but didn't do anything else either - so I am hoping you gardening types will be able to tell me if this is a fools errand or that I am just not doing it right?  Is there a secret code I need to unlock to get me to level 3 dahlia growing?  Anyway- as usual - pots of bits that dropped off are in the greenhouse.
I see dahlias as my symbol of the turning seasons:  bringing the dahlias in means that winter is here, starting them off growing again means it is spring.  Its simple, but it feels right every year.

and they do look like vegetables when you harvest them. 

and when they flower then it is totally worth it.
I have also collected lots of seeds of them this year as well - extra insurance!

3 comments :

  1. Oops - bits drop off do they. Now I feel guilty for not looking into the holes I left behind before I filled them in.
    After years of avoiding Dahlias (because I didn't fancy all that digging them up) I started buying them. This so goes against my creed of lazy gardening that I feel slightly embarrassed when I buy a new one

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  2. As most of mine died last year I have come to think if they are annuals then so be it - I admit growing too many tender plants is just not for me either.

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  3. I'm just starting my own dahlia adventure - two trays filled with about 80 seedlings (nestled in my cool porch)

    Pricking out to bigger pots on Saturday.

    Can't wait to have stunning cut flowers next year

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