Halloween has passed, frost has come and now it's time to get your garden ready for winter. One chore that needs to be done soon is digging and storing your summer flowering bulbs.
Gladiolus, canna lilies, and dahlias put on an amazing flower show in summer and fall. However, most of these aren't hardy in our climate, so in order to get flowers next year, you'll need to dig and store them indoors.
The first step is to cut back the foliage to a few inches above the bulb. For gladiolus, dig up the corms and store them in a warm, well-ventilated garage or shed for a few weeks to dry and harden off. Remove the older bottom corm and any small cormlets around the newer top corm. Store the new gladiolus corms in mesh bags in a dark, cool basement or room.
Dahlias and canna lilies are also dug, then cured in a warm location. The dahlia root ball will have many tubers. Clean off the root ball and tubers and hang them upside down so water will drain from the cut stem. Don't remove the tubers from the clump until spring. Store in a 40 to 50 degree, dark basement or room in boxes with slightly moistened peat moss, sand, or vermiculite.
Check the tubers periodically in winter. Remove soft or rotting tubers. If they're shriveling, mist the tubers with water. If stored in a warm basement, these bulbs might sprout prematurely in winter. Pot them up and place the growing tubers in a sunny, cool room until them can be moved outdoors for summer.