What kind of location do Gladiolus grow in?
Try to pick a spot with as near full sunlight as possible-performance will vary indirectly with the amount of shade. Poor performance can be expected with 50% shade. Select a location that provides good drainage.
What kind of soil do Glads require?
Glads do well in a wide variety of soil types. A moderate amount of humus is desirable-however, if you work hay, straw, leaves, manure, etc. into the soil, do it well in advance of planting-to be safe, let us say at least six months. If you've grown a good vegetable garden, follow pretty much the same program and you should have excellent results. Glads like a pH of 6.2-6.5.
What about preplanting treatment?
As a precautionary measure a preplanting dip is advisable, a good fungicide, such as captan, mixed with an all purpose garden insecticide will do. Follow directions on the package (bottle) for best results.
When do I plant?
Your first planting can be made as early as the ground can be worked. Subsequent plantings should follow about 10 to 14 days.
How do I plant?
Soil should be plowed or spaded to a depth of 8"-12" at which time an all-purpose fertilizer, such as 5-10-10, should be incorporated at the rate of 1-1/2-2 lbs. per 100 square feet. Ideally the bulbs should be planted in rows 3 feet apart at a depth of 6" for large bulbs (somewhat less for medium and smaller sizes). However, if you are cramped for space, 2 feet between rows will still provide good access. Space bulbs 3" to 6" apart in the row. Cover the bulbs to full depth.
What other tips do you have?
Glads are poor competitors so do not allow weeds to get a foothold. Shallow cultivation after heavy watering will keep the weeds from getting a start-a word of caution, however-do not work the soil when it is saturated. As soon as your glads are 5"-6" tall you should spray or dust with an all-purpose insecticide. If you wait until insect damage is apparent, you've waited too long. Continue spraying at 10 days intervals. When plants are beginning to come into the 3rd leaf a side dressing with 5-10-10 at the rate of 2 lbs. per 100 feet of row, placed not closer than 6" from the plants. At the 5th leaf stage you can now apply water soluble fertilizers like rapid grow, peters, miracle-gro (20-20-20) up until the spikes form. During the growing period glads require not less than one inch of water per week and considerably more during high temperatures.
When do I dig my bulbs?
Glads must be dug up in the fall in areas where the ground freezes. Bulbs can be lifted anytime 4 weeks past the bloom but before the tops turn brown. Cut the tops off the bulb and lay them out to dry in a warm well ventilated area-a fan is a definite plus. In two to three weeks, depending on the drying condition and bulb size, they will be ready to clean.
How do I clean my bulbs?
When properly cured the old bulb will separate easily from the new one. At this time examine the new bulbs and discard any that show signs of rot or scabbing. The cleaned bulbs should be dried further to cure the new scar after which time they should be stored at 40 degrees or as close to this temperature as possible, do not allow them to freeze. If stored at temperatures above 50 degrees, dust the bulbs with an insecticide. Keep bags open and well ventilated, or use screen bottom trays. Do not use plastic bags.
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