fall planting and storage

Richard richrd@nas.com
Thu, 08 Nov 2012 22:33:43 PST
Always learning every year with these pnw native bulbs.

We're replanting our  previously harvested stored Allium, Dichelostemma, Fritillaria and such pnw native  bulbs. We began digging in late August and  stored these bulbs (except Fritillaria) at ambient temperatures. Biggest event was by error putting some large collections into moist peat. They immediately began to sprout roots. Dry peat or just in trays alone seems to be best method. Coming out of the field in August/September these bulbs are seriously dehydrated. They rehydrate quite easily by washing and allowing to dry naturally indoors. Storage temps have been running 55 to 60 F but covered bulbs seems to be susceptible to mold. As well as any showing cuts made during harvest. Next time, I will take extra effort to hold down relative humidity in storage bins. Fritillaria storage seems best without peat in cooler and are still happy after 10 weeks. My two Erythronium species seem happier dry or in dry peat at ambient temps. Cool moist brought out the roots. No chemical tre
 atment yet.

Camas receives the same dry bulb handling. Care should be taken to get these bulbs out of the sun during harvesting. They sunburn making entry room for rot. Water, rainfall in the field before harvest results in bulbs seriously root sprouted. This likely results in loss of energy at least if they are dried out. 

Is necessary then to separate bulbs that prefer dry late summer conditions from others that continue to grow into the fall, (my mistake). In process of revising my planting plans. 

The lilies mostly show green foliage into the early fall and appreciate late summer irrigation. The bulbs we harvested from the field and the seedling bulbs from flats are currently in moist peat and cool storage. about 36 deg F. Some minor root growth is showing but I am planning to hold these bulbs into the late winter/early spring before planting. I do not know yet if 36 F is low temp enough but I am holding in my strat cooler and cannot take lower. Will be interesting experience but I am inspired by more northern lily growers. My lily seed stratification and flat grow-out worked so well in now a standard for me. Fall planting for me results in partial germination and plants in second year..... ( my species are L. columbianum, pardalinum, washingtonianum ). I hope to add a few more northern species lilies soon as well as collect diversity of strains from full range of species to assemble the range in genetic diversity. 

I would also plan to work on improving the holding conditions for the dry storage species but this season's results are a big improvement.

Here we are today planting Dichelostemma congestum back into the field for another season of growth. We've pulled off the bulbils and placed into separate plantings. Do not think this collection ever needs to be seed propagated again by us.  
closer view
Amy standing on our seed drill
and..... Mt Baker, our local volcano, in early evening light as I drove home tonight.

Rich Haard
Bellingham, Washington

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