Vicky Eicher, Virginia

Lifting bulbs

July 19, 2015

Category: Diseases and Pests

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I’m in Zone 7a, Central Virginia.  We’ve had crazy, wet weather, but it’s mostly been hot and humid.

This month I’ve lifted EVERYTHING from a 15 year old daffodil bed in order to rototil it and enrich the soil.  Since it is the first time many of these bulbs have been lifted since being planted anyplace from 1-15 years ago, some bulbs are very crowded!  They are being sun-dried before having the clay soil wiped off by hand.  The results are what one can expect – everything from very tiny bulbs to a 5-noser!

Some bulbs have a white, powdery appearance on the ‘skin’ and they are being tossed.  Some look dried out and are very soft, so they also get tossed.  But the others —

1.  Bulbs have been cut into by my digger.  Sometimes it is just a slice off the side, but one is cut in half, with only the basel plate holding the halves together!  Most slices are vertical, but at least one is a diagonal slice off the top, i.e. the neck is gone. The white flesh is firm for most of them.  Are they ‘keepers’?

2.  I’ve removed the ‘onion skin’ off some bulbs, so that now the bulb is white flesh, with basel plate attached.  Again – keepers?

3. Some of the white flesh has streaks or layers of brown (bulb fly poop?).  I’ve hand-removed these layers, to the extent possible.  Good idea?

4.  Some multiple-nosed bulbs have a soft side, which can be either the original or the baby bulb, or the one in the middle.  Should I remove the soft bulb, leaving the basel plate as intact as possible, and strip the brown onion skin from the side of the remaining bulb[s]?

5.  Once cleaned, the bulbs are returned to their mesh bags and placed on open shelves in a room with air conditioning and a dehumidifier.  Should I be doing anything else?

Thank you.

Vicky Eicher

P.S. Lesson learned the hard way — make the home-made ID tags that are buried with the bulbs at least 1.5″x4″ because they are hard to find!

2 responses to “Lifting bulbs”

  1. David Adams, New Zealand says:

    Hi Vicky.

    It is surprising that no one has responded to your questions. I waited hoping that people with more wisdom than me would respond to you. Maybe it is summer and there are better things to do than sit at a computer. I have thrown out a couple of good discussion starters recently and there has been no response.

    With regard to your bulbs I think you have done everything right. Given the conditions you describe maybe you should give them an hour’s HWT at 113*F. This can be done in your laundry basin.

    Cut bulbs usually survive as long as thy have some basal plate.


  2. Loyce McKenzie, Mississippi Loyce McKenzie, Mississippi says:

    Vicky, I too, had been surprised not to see any replies to your article. But, then I think you covered the subject very thoroughly, and as far as I know, correctly. The Daffnet postings that elicit the most response are often the “Why would you do that?” sort.’

    Loyce McKenzie