Winter is on its way and now is the time to harvest those bulbs that might not withstand colder temps in the coming months.
Not every bulb needs to be plucked from the earth, and most likely, unless you are a meticulously organized gardener, you might not remember exactly where every bulb was planted this year.
Still, to keep your bulbs from freezing so you can replant in the spring, dig them up and store them until the conditions are right to head back out in the yard.
Basically most flowering bulbs should be dug up and stored, especially if you are in zones 7-8 or above. If it's warm enough in the more southerly climes to produce flowers all year, leaving them in the ground is OK. But if you want better blooms, storing them will help a great deal.
What bulbs should I store?
- Elephant Ear
Where do I start?
Dig out your bulbs, or if you haven't planted them, remove from dirt and let the bulbs, rhizomes or corms dry out.
Dust off any dirt with a dry cloth, and avoid rinsing so there is no added moisture.
Place in dry containers with holes punched in, layered with cotton cloth or newspapers.
Do not store in air-tight containers. This could cause moisture to collect and aid in fungal growth, rotting your bulbs.
Where is the best place to store them?
You can store them in a dry, unheated basement, if you are certain it is free from moisture.
Sometimes, depending on your location, the garage is a perfect place, tucked out of the way and out of direct sunlight.
If you have room, placing them in the dry storage drawer of your refrigerator is a great place to trick your bulbs into dormancy.
Label, label, label! Make sure you label your bulbs so you'll know what they are come springtime.
Make sure you check on your bulbs several times during the winter. A calendar reminder would be the perfect way to remember.
Throw away any shriveled bulbs you find, and remove any packing material that is rotten or moldy. If there are bad spots or rotting, carefully remove with a paring knife.
If your bulbs begin to wrinkle or look shrunken, mist the packing material lightly with a little bit of water.
What happens after winter?
Make sure to get ready to plant as soon as the ground thaws to get the best results from these moody bulbs. As long as you take good care, these bulbs will multiply and you'll be able to dig them up, store and reuse every spring.
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New Mexico is at the beginning of a deep freeze, and state officials are paying close attention.