Saving tender bulbs and tuber as seen on KDKA’s PTL

It’s so easy to save the tubers and bulbs of tender plants like dahlias, cannas, caladiums, begonias and more.
Just dig the tuber or bulb and remove the foliage. Lay the bulb on newspaper in an airy location for a day or two. Do not wash it off, let the dirt dry on the bulb.
Fill a box with a 1/2 inch of perlite or vermiculite and lay the bulbs in the box so they are not touching each other.
Add another layer of perlite, then bulbs and continue the procedure until the box is filled.
Store the box in a cool place that won’t freeze.
Check the bulbs once a month for rot.
When chance of frost has passed the next year, plant the bulbs.

Dahlia tubers sure are ugly, the flowers are beautiful.

See Doug at Giant Eagle Market District on Sunday 11/13/11

My radio partner Jessica Walliser and I will both be at all three Giant Eagle Market District stores this Sunday for a free cooking and gardening demonstration. We’ll be talking about unusual root crops, how to grow them and use them in the garden. 10am Bethel park, 1PM Robinson and 4pm Shadyside Giant Eagle Market District Stores.

See Doug and Johno at the Hearts and Hands Gala

My dear friend artist Johno Prascak and I will be just two of the celebrity wine pourers this Saturday 11/05/2011 from 6:30 to 8:30 at Mt. Alvernia’s Hearts and Hands Gala.
It’s $50 a head, there’s lots of food and wine and the proceeds go to help the Sisters of St. Francis and the Newman Community.

Putting the Garden to Bed and Planting Kale and Pansies as Seen on KDKA’s PTL

I've fallen in love with 'Redbor' kale. It's a tall form and goes great with pansies.

It’s important to get all the tender crops that were killed by the frost out of the garden. That’s where pests and diseases over winter. As long as the plant material is not diseased it can go right in the compost pile.
Now that most of the annual are gone, there are a few more things that can be planted.

It might seem strange to be gardening this late in the season, but two plants in particular will thrive deep into winter.

I always plant flowering kale and pansies as the annuals fade. Usually around the second week of October, but believe it or not, I’ve still got impatiens and coleus in the garden. They look sad and will be gone soon, it’s time to put them out of their misery. It’s been a long growing season.

I’m substituting the tender container plants with these hardy varieties.

Lets look at the garden timeline for my pots. March 17th pansies are planted in containers close to the house, then more in two weeks along with some other tough cool weather flowers. They were replaced in July with discounted annuals. Now we’re back to pansies and of course the flowering kale.

Both will add color and shake off cold temperatures. If the pansies are kept watered, many will often winter over, especially in a mild season. The kale will go until January until it gets bitter cold.

Site them where they can be seen from inside the house, or walking up to the front door.

You’ll be surprised how a few plants will bring a smile after slogging through a few inches of wet snow.

When the winter sun is right, the kale explodes with color.