Despite the weather it's a luxary to live in Upstate NY

cats39(z5 Upstate NY)October 8, 2005

Hi All!

As you know we Upstater's have some of the most beautiful and unusual weather phenomena in the country. What happens in Central New York ala Lake Effect according to Channel 9's Dave Eichorn happens in only one other part of the world. Believe it or not according to him, it's the Northern Coast of Japan. It's because the Sea of Japan simulates the same effects as we get here from Lake Ontario.

So what happens in Syracuse or Fulton and Oswego (where it seems many of the more notable weatherman go to school) or at Tug Hill doesn't happen in Alpina Mich or anywhere's else in the whole of the contiguous USofA.

So I'm hope some of you upstate CNY experts can help with these 3 questions? Coming from a novice flower gardener.

(1) With several days of tropical and LE rain in the forecast it looks as though digging up my Dahlia tubers this year is going to be a slow process. (This is my 4th year.)

I decided to start yesterday before the rain came as the smaller plants are beginning to look a bit ragged around the edges, and then of course I had to stop because of the rain. I normally do all of the digging and washing of the tubers in one or two days. Then I use the method of boxing and peat moss storage.

But I'd like to get all of my Dahlias up and sorted before I begin that process.

My question is? Can I safely leave my tubers in the garage on newspaper for several days without harm. It doesn't appear as though we'll see the 80's again and if we get passed the high 50's we'll probably be lucky.

(2) I live in Minoa, does anyone know if its in zone 4a/b or 5b. My brother from Binghamton says we are in zone 4. I always thought it was 5a.

Whereas, this is the first year that I've tried Crocosmia. Should I dig or mulch the bulbs? If either/or when is the best time?

(3) I have Pink Oxalis, should I leave those corms or should I dig and store also?

Thanks in advance.

I'm really happy, as I'm sure there are others who can depend on the Upstate Forum members for so many answers to questions that arise, because we do live in such a unique area.

So it's time to count our blessings for the wonderful long and then seemingly fastest growing season we've experienced this year. It's to bad it has to end.



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hilomark(z5 NY)

When I run Minoa's zip code against USDA zones, I get zone 5...I would assume 5a, but you also need to watch out for microclimates, depending on how much exposure you have, whether you are at a higher or lower elevation, etc.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 10:33AM
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Zone 5a. Below is a link to Cornell's gardening weather pages with a map for USDA zones in NY, but also offers other maps such as frost dates, etc. with more detailed info for dealing with the microclimates that hilomark mentioned.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornell Maps

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 12:33PM
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starmoon(Z5 NY)

Hi Jim,

I'm in Schenectady, which is also zone 5a. I have always dug my dahlias and crocosmia after the first big frost when the foliage has died back and turned brown. I have heard that digging dahlias too early may prevent them from developing new eyes to grow from next year. I don't think it will hurt the dahlias much to allow them to dry for a while before storing. The biggest problem I have had with dahlia tubers is mold and rot developing from too much moisture. I think allowing them to dry for a while first may actually help prevent this. As long as they are not shriveling, I think they should be ok. You may want to moisten them slightly before storing them in peat or sawdust for the winter. This year I am going to try to keep my crocosmia out all winter and mulch them heavily to see how they will do.

I also have pink oxalis (Oxalis crassipes) which seems to overwinter fine here with mulch. It has come back 2 years for me now and seems hardier than most websites seem to indicate it is. Not sure what type you have, but you may want to try to dig some and leave some and see how they do. They rapidly multiply, so losing some shouldn't be very devastating in the long run.

Hope this info helps!

starmoon *)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 2:50PM
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What an interesting post, Jim. I didn't know that information regarding the origin of our local weather.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 12:03PM
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adina72(z5 CNY)

My mom lives in Minoa and it's definately zone 5. The best success I have had with dahlias is to cut them down to about 8" high after a good hard frost has blackened the leaves...don't dig them up for about a week to allow the new eyes to form. Then dig and clean off and store them dry. It should not hurt to have them in the garage for several days. I don't usually add any water to the peat moss unless they show signs of shrivelling up...usually about January or so. Then I sprinkle a little water on them...and check them every three weeks or so for rot or mildew. Sorry, I can't help with the other questions.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 8:30PM
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