Long Term Bulb Storage

fife78(Zone 6A)September 17, 2012

My parents are trying to sell their house located in Connecticut, zone 6. My father has hundreds of bulbs that he wants to take with him to the new home. He has an assortment of tulips, daffodils and crocus. There's probably some hyacinth in his collection as well. He has pulled them all out of the ground in anticipation of selling the house and has them stored in the garage. What is the best way to store them until he can plant them at the new home? It's a little unusual because the house may sell next week or it may sell in January. Potting them up isn't practical because he literally has hundreds nor does he have the space in the garage for all sorts of pots. I'd appreciate any suggestions that anyone can offer.

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socalgal_gw Zone USDA 10b Sunset 24

If he can't plant them in time for them to get their winter chill in the ground, or if the ground is frozen by the time he is in his new house, he might have to do what I do in zone 10, put them in the refrigerator for 6 to 12 weeks prior to planting.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 10:01PM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

If your dad plans to move locally (not hundeds of miles away and into a different growing zone) could he rent/trade for part of a friend's or family member's veg garden and get the bulbs in the ground as usual but in labelled rows?

I know you said 'hundreds'; however, could he separate out the late-season bulbs (think N poeticus, for example) and pot them up?

That way he could 'easily' trans-ship the potted group to the new yard; and

dig up the early flowering species and varieties 'in the green' for moving to his new yard. That would give the person who has let him use their yard a freshly dug patch for the coming season of veg planting.

As your zone is getting toward 'crispy winters' he would probably need to rig some sort of outdoor shelter to repel frost/snow for the potted set - bales of straw could be useful, with a weatherproof cover over and tied down.

Late planting is probably not going to work too well because of having to wait for the ground to warm up/dry out. By which time the air temps will collapse the flowering season, and trigger the onset of dormancy in the bulbs.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 5:45AM
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fife78(Zone 6A)

The fridge option is out, simply because my parents don't have a second one to dedicate to all the bulbs.

The move is local. I'll suggest the idea of temporarily planting them in my gardens and/or the gardens of other family. We all live in the same zone, so I don't think that would present any issues.

Thanks for the suggestions.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 9:58AM
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