If you grew any of the tender summer bulbs — dahlia, canna lily, gladioulus or acidanthera — you should have dug them up and brought them indoors by now. All of these can be easily stored in a cool location for the winter. It is important to keep them above freezing; basements usually work pretty well. They are prone to rotting in a plastic bag or bin so store any of these in a paper bag or mesh onion bag. If your basement is like mine and sees the occasional mouse, you might want to hang these bags from an overhead beam to make them a little harder to reach.
Take one last look around your back porch, utility room, work bench, wherever last summer’s seed packets accumulate, and gather up any leftovers you want to save for next year. I find they keep best if I put the packets into a glass quart canning jar, tighten the lid, and then store the jar at the back of my refrigerator for the summer. This is a good way to store any seeds you saved from your garden. The refrigerator keeps them at an even temperature, and the closed jar maintains an even humidity level. Seeds are alive, so if you want them to sprout well next year, it helps to give them a little TLC over the winter.
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your feast will feature some locally grown or produced products.
Amy Ivy is executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension, Clinton County. Office phone numbers: Clinton County, 561-7450; Essex County, 962-4810; Franklin County, 483-7403. Website: www.cce.cornell.edu/ecgardening. Email questions to askMG@cornell.edu.