Extension News

Ask the ISU Extension Garden Experts: Gladioli, Parsnips, and Garlic

Note to media editors: Got gardening questions? Call the Hortline at (515) 294-3108, Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m., or e-mail us at hortline@iastate.edu. For more gardening information, visit us at Yard and Garden Online, http://www.yardandgarden.extension.iastate.edu

10/2/2009

How do I overwinter my gladiolus bulbs?

Carefully dig up the plants with a spade in late summer/early fall. Gently shake off the soil from the bulb-like corms. Then cut off the foliage one to two inches above the corms. Dry the corms for two to three weeks in a warm, dry, well-ventilated location. When thoroughly dry, remove and discard the old dried up mother corms located at the base of the new corms. Remove the tiny corms (cormels) found around the base of the new corms. Save the small corms for propagation purposes or discard them. Place the corms in mesh bags or old nylon stockings and hang in a cool, dry, well-ventilated location. Storage temperatures should be 35 to 45 F.

When should I harvest my parsnips?

Parsnips should be harvested in late fall after exposure to several light freezes. The low temperatures convert starches to sugars, improving the parsnip’s sweet, nut-like flavor. After harvest, trim off the foliage one-half inch above the roots and store the parsnips at a temperature of 32 F and relative humidity of 95 to 98 percent.

Gardeners also can leave a portion of the crop in the ground over winter. After several light freezes, cover the parsnips with several inches of straw. Harvest the remaining crop in early spring before growth resumes.

When should I plant garlic?

Garlic cloves should be planted in fall (October to early November) or early spring (late March to mid-April). Plant cloves one inch deep with the pointed side up. Fall-planted garlic should be mulched with a four- to six-inch layer of weed-seed free straw to help prevent winter injury. In early spring, move the straw to between the rows to allow the garlic foliage to emerge.

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Contacts :

Richard Jauron, Horticulture, (515) 294-1871, rjauron@iastate.edu

Del Marks, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-9807, delmarks@iastate.edu