Winter slows down our flower production but brings on a very important preparatory aspect of the farm – saving seeds, corms, and tubers, and also planting for early spring blooms.
We pulled up all our gladiolas in late fall and have been impressed by the size of their new corms. Generally glad corms are cheap to buy new, but we thought we’d give this a shot!
We harvested amaranth and sunflower heads to save for seed as well. Last year we grew two kinds of amaranth – Hopi Red Dye and Opopeo – and many, many varieties of sunflowers…most of the seed we left for the birds.
Our dahlias are incredibly important to us and we try to take the best care of them that we can. In late spring we plant single tubers and by fall they have formed clumps of ten or more, all of which can we divided into ten times as many dahlias for the next season! In some climates you can leave dahlias in the ground but where we are up North our freezes make this too risky to trust. So each fall we dig up all our dahlias, rinse them off, label everything, and divide the tuber clumps for storage over the winter. This gives us the chance to select for the varieties that we loved, even though it is very time-intensive…
After all this digging, dividing, and drying, it is a real pleasure to also plant! We’ve devoted an entire greenhouse along with a hoop-house to ranunculus and anemones for their gorgeous early spring blooms – it looks like nothing now, but man will we be grateful for the color when it comes. Specialty narcissi and tulips have also joined our early bloom roster and we are impatiently awaiting their arrival.