What to do now - Jobs in the Garden by Season

How to overwinter tender bulbs

Katharine Fletcher
Photography by
Eric Fletcher

Dig, dry and preserve delicate summer specimens for next year

Meanwhile, prepare your storage

What do you need?

1. A breathable container (never use plastic or glass). I use cardboard boxes.

2. Storage medium: I enjoy great success with peat moss. But, open the package and ensure it is totally dry: there’s no sense storing a nicely cured bulb in moisture because it will rot. If it’s not dry, spread it out on some newspaper and allow it to air.

3. A pen for labelling the box. Clearly identify the bulb (and where you planted it, if it was in a good location).

Storing bulbs
Once bulbs and any clinging soil are dry, remove remaining the earth and gently take off the babies and separate the twins. Put a layer of peat moss on the bottom of the box, followed by well-spaced bulbs (touching can create moisture and mildew). Close the box.

Location, location, location
Choose a well-ventilated, dry storage area that will NEVER freeze and never get damp.

Spring planting
When the danger of frost has passed and your garden soil has warmed up, plant bulbs outside. Add a bit of bone meal for food, cover… Then? Enjoy!

Katharine Fletcher is a garden columnist, freelance writer and author who enjoys her organic gardens at her farm Spiritwood, in the Pontiac region of West Quebec.


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