Arts & CultureGreen Space & The River

Are You a Procrastinating Gardener?

by Kent Petterson

Did you forget to plant those hardy bulbs you ordered for planting this fall? Is your ground not frozen? If that is the case, it is not too late to get them in the ground this fall. They are much better off in the ground than in a bag over the winter drying out. They will be fine in the spring. Flowering maybe a little slow in the spring because a root system didn’t get established in the fall, but there is no doubt you should not hesitate with planting. Get them in the ground and started for next year.

How about those tender tubers – Canna and Cala Lily or sweet potato vines? Tender bulbs are likely still alive but going dormant on Nov. 1. It’s easy if they are growing in a small pot. Just move indoors. You don’t need to save all the tubers, although why not? In the spring it will be money in your pocket because it is so easy to save them.

You do need a cool dry spot in your space, or a neighbor’s space, where you can place a box or paper bag for those you removed from the soil. A basement floor is ideal. Cover the tubers after removing the soil and checking for damage. Or if you are like me, a little casual, leave the soil on and cover with lightly damp peat, vermiculite or perlite that will retard drying out.

You can pretty much forget about them except to check for mold formation and getting too dry. Toss out the mold-damaged tubers or add a sprinkling of moisture to get them to your transplant time. You should watch for sprouting about March or so, as a signal to start potting them up for next year’s garden. Talk about delayed gratification; this is the best for the procrastinating gardener.

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