Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tubers in the bank

Someone once suggested I never get my hands dirty while gardening. Someone was wrong.

I have been rooting about in pots and built-in planters, unearthing treasure. The gloriosa lilies have been yellowing and I pulled down their tired stems and leaves from the birch screen, only to find this surprise, above and below: a seed pod split open to reveal brilliance. I've never seen one, before. They obviously like the Harlem terrace.

Even better, deep in the soil, I have unearthed fresh, fat tubers. The plants have reproduced, prolifically. In previous years, in Brooklyn, these underground storage organs have just rotted over the too-cold winters, and I have had to order fresh stock every spring. But when I found one the other day by chance, I decided to investigate, farther.

After slicing two in half with a trowel (forehead-slap, doh!), I used my fingers. I don't think I'll have to order new ones next year. These are twice the size of the purchased tubers. That will be a helpful little saving (about $60 - I have ten, so far); but, better, it is fun.

The original, used-up tubers on the left.  The new, strong ones on the right. They are about 10" long.

The gloriosa lilies last June. 

If anyone would like to try their hand at propagating the seeds, let me know and I'll mail them to you.


My next edible botanical walk is this Saturday in Central Park
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