Cooler weather, red spider lilies and tinges of color in the trees - Autumn has arrived on the farm. Now comes the time to break down the garden and prepare everything for colder weather. As they say, "Winter is coming." Our most recent project has been digging up gladiolus corms to store them for winter.
When we dig up the the corms, we first cut off the foliage. Some people wait until the first frost has killed the foliage but time constraints, and a list of other projects that need to get done before winter, means we are digging them up a bit early.
The corms come out of the ground with baby corms, called cormels, attached. We separate these from the corm and sort them into a different pile. We will plant the cormels next year, but it may be a few years before they are large enough to produce a flower. Another thing that we have to separate from the corm, if it is still attached, is the old mother. The mother is a shriveled and flat corm that has dried up after the leaves were produced this past summer. One or more new corms were then produced during the growing season.
After we have separated the corms and cormels, we then take them to our green house and spread them out on screens to cure for a couple of weeks. This gives them a warm, dry area with good circulation. After they have cured we will then pack them into wood shavings and they will remain there until it is time to plant in the Spring!