Friday, January 21, 2011

Gardening Never Ceases

Dahlias in summer

To those who think that gardening is a one season wonder I say, not so!  While I'm spending most of my time indoors as of late I haven't completely given up gardening.  There are still tasks to be done to carry me through to spring.  One of these is checking up on those dahlia tubers I stored in the fall.  Although they may survive very well on their own it's still good practice to look at these tubers and make sure all is well in their world.  So I trucked on down to the basement recently and pulled out the box with all my tubers inside.  As this is my first year storing tubers in this house it's even more important to check and make sure I've selected the right place for storage.  Unfortunately that doesn't appear to be the case.

Basements are usually dark, cool and damp.  Ideal for the storage of vegetables and roots.  But in our case hubby has transformed the once dark cool basement into a workshop.  Lights are consistently on and the heat is turned up making our basement dry and warm.  When I pulled out the box some of the bulbs looked like this.

Can you see how wrinkled and dry that protruding bulb is?  You don't want your bulbs to look like this. If a bulb dries out entirely it will die. Now this was my mistake as I didn't completely cover the bulbs with peat moss.  That would have helped the situation.  The bulbs below were adequately covered and look quite well.

To remedy the situation I misted the bulbs with water and then completely covered them with peat.  They may not completely recover but they won't get any worse.

Moving the bulbs to a better location is also imperative.  I've kept them in the basement but I've moved them further away from the furnace into a dark corner.  We'll leave them there for a few weeks and check on them again to see how their coping in their new home.

If you're storing bulbs for the first time it can take a bit of fussing to find the right storage conditions.  Dark and cool conditions are important.  Too dry and your bulbs will shrivel away.  But also be aware of too moist conditions.  Too much water can cause bulbs to rot.  Just remember to check your bulbs a couple times throughout the winter so you know they're doing okay in their winter home.   Storing bulbs shouldn't require much work, it's just finding the right spot and making sure you've stored them well.


  1. I store mine in the spare refrigerator in the garage. Not sure if that is a great place or not. But I don't have a fast collection of bulbs.

  2. I tend to not plants thigns that need to be dug up in the fall, although I love dalias. I was given one as a gift last summer and I did dig up the bulb - however, at the moment I don't know where I stored it :(

  3. Ah yes, wish I'd done this more frequently, I've just posted about losing all mine. Next year I am going to try leaving some in the ground well mulched and will try storing others in the loft.

  4. I've never stored dahlias and rarely grow them but I've seen so many posts featuring gorgeous blooms that I think I'm going to give them a try. Hopefully, yours will recover. :o)

  5. My friend, Karen, is getting into Dahlias -- and her passion is now rubbing off onto me. They are such gorgeous flowers and an amazing variety. The Poms are the ones I'd like to try.

  6. I hope the dahlia tubers recover now that you have misted them and moved them to a better location. The opening picture is one of the best I have seen in one of my posts. Bravo! Enjoy your Sunday!

  7. Please excuse the typo in my last sentence. I was typing too fast and intended to compliment you on the great photo.

  8. I'm with Bonnie...I tend not to plant things that need to be dug up each year. I treat any tender perennials or tubers/bulbs as annuals or leave them in the ground over the winter and hope for the best. Some times they'll come back and other times they die. C'est la vie!

  9. Lifeshighway - I think whatever works for you is the right thing to do! All of us bloggers live in such different climates it would be impossible to say one way that works for everyone.

    Bonnie - I guess I should include step one as remembering where we stored the bulbs! a very important part.

    Plantaliscious - I read about your lost bulbs which reminded me to check on mine! Depending on your climate you can leave the bulbs outdoors with no issues but I think my zone 5 is probably too cold for them and I would worry about them getting heaved out of the ground by frost.

    TS - in my experience dahlias really aren't very fussy plants and there's so many options of sizes and colours. it's just sorting out where to store them that takes a bit of mucking about.

    Kate - Poms are gorgeous, like tissue paper balls of colour. You're right, just so many varieties to love.

    Jennifer - I understood! Thank you very much for the compliment. I think dahlias are incredibly photogenic so I think the flower deserves half the credit for the photo.

    Debbie - There's many things I will cut corners on in the garden (if I could just bypass pruning altogether I would) but to me, dahlias are a necessity. Sometimes you just fall in love with a flower and it's worth the extra effort I guess.

  10. I don't over winter many plants~There isn't the space for them. The next house will have to have a basement for sure. gail

  11. Look at you! Pulling your Dahlia tubers. That right there is why your come back and mine don't. Every year I say this is the year I'll do it. Then every fall I forget, and thus Dahlia's have become annuals to me!

    Sorry I've been a spotty visitor these days! Busy times :) I moved my blog over to my own domain. So you can find me now at

  12. Gail - I'm only realizing now that this house doesn't have near enough room for storing plants! hmmm, I'll have to add that into the renovation list.

    Laura - Thanks for sending the new link!! I've been wondering how you were but figured you probably needed a well deserved break. I look forward to seeing what you're up to.