Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dairymom's Fall Yard Harvest

Happy Fall Ya'll!  It's finally here after our long,hot dry summer.  I love every season and the changes that we enjoy and adapt to as we work on the dairy farm everyday.  Yesterday's perfect first day of fall in Northwest Arkansas inspired me to work in the yard after feeding calves in the afternoon.  I'm not wishing my life away, but one of my fall chores is going to get me ready for spring!  I planted several caladium plants in pots in the shady areas of my yard.  My plan is to try saving the caladium bulbs for planting next spring.  The caladiums are still pretty but beginning to look a little tired after summer.  Experts say it is time to dig the bulbs when the leaves begin to turn brown and the plant stops growing.  You must dig the bulbs before frost.  When I decide the day has arrived to dig the bulbs, these are the steps to follow according to online expert gardeners:
  • Remove the bulbs with a hand tool such as a trowel by loosening the soil around the bulbs and then gently tugging to pull up.
  • Don't cut into the bulbs because this could cause them to rot.
  • If small bulbs are attached, you can leave them and divide into new plants in the spring if desired.
  • Let the bulbs dry for 1 week, then remove the soil and pack in single layer in dry peat moss or vermiculite;you may also store bulbs  in a cardboard box or hang in mesh bags.
  • Store in single layer at 50 degree temperature.
  • Check bulbs frequently for rotting.
Hopefully, I still have a few weeks to enjoy this colorful plant before frost!  I'd love to hear any tips or tricks  about your experience with saving caladium bulbs.