Storing Tubers Over The Winter
I wrote previously about how to dig up tender tubers–the roots of dahlias, cannas, and begonias–to store them over the winter. I know that a picture tells a thousand words but moving pictures with talking are even better, so I’ve done a short video to walk you step-by-step through the process of packing up your tubers for the winter:
A few notes:
I use pet bedding (i.e. wood shavings) in the box with my tubers. It’s economical, readily available, and has minimal environmental impact. But there’s more than one method that works–I’ve heard of other people using peat moss and my garden mentor actually uses nothing–he just tosses his tubers into a cardboard box and calls it a day. I’m going to stick with the wood shavings, as they’ve worked well for me–the dahlia tubers you see me storing in the video are the same ones I’ve been growing and saving every season for a decade.
The dahlia tubers I show in the video are from this red dahlia. I know it doesn’t look like anything special in this photo, but it is a nice bright shade of red, blooms continuously from late summer until late fall, and has good strong stems to support the flower heads. It’s worth keeping! Which is more than I can say for the ‘optic illusion’ variety of dahlia I tried growing this year–nice flowers but the flower stems were so weak that they broke as soon as there was a light breeze. Those tubers went in the compost pile.
If you still have questions on how to store tubers please do check out my other post on the topic. If the answer isn’t there please drop me a note in the comment section below.
Great video. Did you wash the tubers when you dug them up? Mine have lots of dirt stuck to them.
Good question. No, I didn’t wash them. I find most of the soil just flakes off if I keep them inside on a tray for a couple days (which is their usual journey on their way from the garden to cold storage). If there’s a lot of soil stuck in between the tubers (like sticky clay kind of soil) I will often use my fingers or something pointy-but-not-too-sharp to loosen it and get it off. It’s not a problem to have some soil but if there’s a lot of it there’s the potential for it too hold too much moisture which would lead to rot.