Mini-Class: Storing Bulbs and Drying Herbs

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Fall is here and the weather is turning cooler everyday. As the seasons turn there are always numerous preparations to make in the garden. Autumn is about cleaning up, storing and saving for the Winter. Below I list a few basics I recommend for your yard and garden in this cooling season. You can also watch the video for a hand’s on tutorial. Fall isn’t quite as busy as the Spring in your garden, but there is still a lot to do.

1. Store Spring Bulbs. Now is the time to plant Spring bulbs for next year if you want some more color at your current home in the Spring. But if you’re in a rental or selling your home, Spring Bulbs that aren’t kept in the ground need to be stored appropriately over the Winter. I had Spring bulbs in containers from my family farm that I didn’t want to plant in the ground at my rental. They needed to be cleaned up and stored for Spring. To store bulbs: clear as much dirt off bulbs as possible by dusting them off with your fingers. Do not rinse bulbs in water, the idea is to get them dry so they don’t rot. Place in a single layer in a cardboard box so bulbs touch minimally. If you need multiple layers use newspaper to separate. Store in a cool, dry place like a basement or closet. For Spring blooming bulbs, expose to 6-8 weeks of cold weather in a garage or shed to ensure a bloom when planting after the last frost. You can also store in the refrigerator to expose to the cold.

2. Dry End Of Season Herbs and Store Veggies. If you have Fall garden veggies like gourds and root vegetables harvest them before the frost sets in. Wash and dry thoroughly. Store in a cool, dry place. For herbs, snip at the base of the plant. Wash thoroughly and ensure there are no bugs. Shake excess water off herbs after washing. Remove all yellowing and dying leaves. Tie stems together at the base with twine. Hang upside down in a basement or other cool, dry place for 2 weeks to dry. Once dry remove leaves from stems and keep in a ziplock bag or glass jars with lids for Winter cooking.

3. Bring all Terra Cotta, Ceramics and Pottery indoors. Terra Cotta and other pottery will crack and break in the fluctuating hot and cold temperatures of Fall and Winter. To keep outdoor containers and accessories in their best shape bring them inside for Winter. Even a shed or garage should do the trick.

4. Empty old soil out of containers and put into storage. Empty out any containers of annuals and dump that old soil. You’ll want to start fresh next year. Rinse and dry containers and stack in the garage or shed for use next year. Old containers left over the Winter will just house bugs and mold.

5. Clean up dying plants, including veggie gardens, and leaves. Keep your gardens and yard free and clear of debris. This ensures the best health for your grass and plants, and reduces rot, fungus and mold. Compost and turn plants into the existing soil where appropriate. Veggie gardens can be turned and composted and Fall leaves can be added to the soil over the Winter to decompose. Do remove Tomato plants and other disease heavy plants from the garden completely, otherwise you run the risk of causing disease in your garden next year. As an extra tip: try not to plant your tomatoes in the same spot 2 years in a row.

6. Trim all bushes and trees to clean-up shape for the Winter. Do a light trim job of bushes and trees in the Fall once Summer growth has ended. This will ensure a clean look for your yard over the Winter and prepare your plants for new Spring growth next year.

If you have any questions please post a comment or e-mail me, and Happy Gardening!

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