Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Inland Northwest, High Desert
January, 2003
Regional Report

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Ahh, spring! Lilies, daisies and more bring color where ever you like in a basket.

Remember Spring

Late spring and summer bulbs are languishing on a garage shelf. Are they still healthy? Come planting time it will make a huge difference how those bulbs, corms, and tubers were stored. They must be cool but not frozen. They must be moist but not damp. They must be free from disease and rot.

I have a friend who stores his canna bulbs in webbed laundry baskets, layered between sheets of newspapers. Then he covers the whole pile loosely with a plastic painter's tarp. Every once in a while he goes through the bulbs, culls the bad ones, mists them all lightly with a spray bottle, and covers them back up again.

Check Bulbs in Storage
Look for signs of shriveling, which occurs when bulbs are too dry. This is common in our exceedingly dry climate, but add too much water and they'll rot. A spritz from a 79-cent spray bottle is the perfect solution. Throw out any bulbs with rot. (Dahlias are the exception because the bad spots can be cut out and dusted with sulfur. It's a good idea to store them separately.)

Pot Up Leftover Spring Bulbs
If leftover spring bulbs insist on sprouting, let them. Why not bring in a little spring? Pot them up, water them, and leave them in the mostly dark garage until they grow roots. By that time they will have sent up pale stems.

When you're sure the daffodils or tulips or paper whites have roots enough to support them, bring them inside to enjoy the bright light of a winter windowsill. They'll green up before your eyes and bloom their heads off. Voila! Spring!

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