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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Colour splash

This winter, brighten up your home or garden with a riot of colours of the dahlia. There are small and big blooms in varied hues. This winter plant, known for its size, requires some care and preparation prior to the winter months.

Soil preparation:
Garden soil, 2 parts by volume
Dung manure, 1 part
Leaf mould, ½ part
Bone dust, 1 tbsp
Sulphur phosphate, 1 tsp
Potash, 1 tsp
Lime, 1 tsp

Mix all the ingredients well and put it in an eight to 10-inch pot. Let it dry and keep for three to four days. The soil is ready.

To prepare the bulbs, take out the seedlings along with the base once they have stopped flowering. Sun and store the bulbs in dry sand in a dry place. After they sprout, they should be planted in the prepared soil and the earth should be pressed around each bulb and watered thoroughly. When the buds appear, make sure that you allow only one bud to become a stem because if too many appear, the size of the bloom tends to be smaller. So, one bud should be allowed to turn into a stem so that it gets all the energy and food. The plant should be given dung manure along with an organic fertiliser (dung plus mustard cake) one week with a sulphate potash or DAP feed the next week. Feed it every month with a measured dose of lime water.

Once the bud shows colour, stop feeding it and only water the plant. Plant them from the old suckers of the previous year’s plants or buy cuttings with roots from the market and plant them in flower beds in the garden or in pots. They will flower by early January and last up to February

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