bulb storage

hello all,
i'm trying to rescue a few tulip beds and will be redoing them from scratch this year, the bulbs that are already there i would like to lift and store, but i haven't done much with actually storing them before (i usually plant them and leave them in the ground).
i will lift them rinse them and dunk them in a antifungal to make sure i'm not moving the fungus along with them.
when i try to find fungus stuff to dunk in i'm coming up with Bordeaux mix and not much else, but there should be some other things that are not so toxic to the other good critters out there? my main concern here is that some had fungus attacking them this year and i'd like to move them and leave the fungus behind...
i was thinking that limewater alone would probably be ok as long as they were not soaking in it for too long? (calcium hydroxide powder mixed in water, not too strong, perhaps a few tablespoons per gallon) then let them dry.
as for actual storage, dusting with anti-fungal powders is recommended, but what would you use here? corn starch and a little baking soda mixed together? or?
i have shredded paper to use as a storage material, and was going to dunk and dry this too as extra measure against spores falling off and sticking to the bedding, i'll layer them in box tops stacked crosswise so they'll have plenty of air.
the trouble i see here mostly is that it will be warm where i store them (and dry other than the ambient humidity) and i'll be able to keep an eye on them. perhaps up into the 90s for a few days here or there. i always thought that tulips liked hot and dry so i wasn't worried about this, but some reading has me wondering...
i wish i had a root cellar or other storage place, but not yet... i thought at first that i could dig a hole for them and that would keep them cooler, but they need to be kept dry too and that's not going to work for any holes hereabouts.
thank you for your answers, insight, questions, etc.
other musings in other posts... :)
songbird
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On 6/9/10 8:36 AM, songbird wrote:

I don't think lime water is effective as a fungicide. If you really had a fungus and not a virus, I would use sulfur.
Buy some DUSTING sulfur. Don't get granular soil sulfur. Make sure it is dust, which can still be used in the soil. Sulfur is a natural element, not something manufactured.
Wait until all foliage dies and the bulbs go dormant. Dig them up and discard any that are already infected.
Put the remaining bulbs -- a few at a time -- in a paper or plastic bag with a generous amount of dusting sulfur. Gently shake the bag to ensure each bulb is well coated with sulfur.
If you live in a cold-winter climate suitable for tulips, replant them immediately. Don't bother storing them. If you live in a mild-winter climate, store them in a cool, dark place in slightly moist peat moss, which inhibits fungus; then refrigerate them in the vegetable bin for about 6-8 weeks just before planting.
Whenever you replant them, stir a handful of bone meal into the bottom of the planting hole. Stir a half-handful of sulfur into the rest of the soil from the hole. Place about an inch of the sulfured soil above the bone meal area so that the bulb does not directly touch the fertilizer. Plant.
The bone meal will supply phosphorus, which promotes flowers, roots, and new bulbs. The sulfur will be slowly converted into sulfuric acid, which will act as a fungicide.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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David E. Ross wrote:

...
whups i forgot to mention i'm Zone 5b here (mid michigan USA). we get some cold snaps in the winter but rarely below -15F.
and definitely fungus.
some reading has mentioned soaking the bulbs in a fungicidal solution of some kind, but they have not mentioned what they used...

right, gotcha there.

if they look sound and healthy i would like to try keeping them all. i'm not talking about bulb rot type of fungus (those i would discard). i haven't had troubles with bulb rot this year that i can tell (amazing considering how wet it has been).

can i find this at a farmer/grain elevator type place?

cold winter, but too wet in the summer, and i can't replant them immediately as i'm redoing their gardens so they need to be out of the way for a bit. in the past i have replanted immediately and they seem to do ok, but i think some species like it drier than what we get. so a few months out of the ground would do that for sure. :)

hm, i've avoided bone-meal for quite a while now because of the disease problems (prion, brain sponge good bye memories). however, i've been happy with a small layer of sharp sand in between the bulb and the mixture below.
the mixture below i'm planning on using sharp sand and some composted cow manure (perhaps 75/25 mix), but avoiding peat moss entirely as it holds water and i don't need any water retention. (the whole idea of raising the beds and redoing them is to get things dryer). in the past i'd used a mix of sand, clay and peat moss, but that has turned out poorly (too wet too long and pH is too low).

that sounds about like what i was looking for in terms of the dusting powder. thanks for your reply,
songbird
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On 6/9/10 10:18 AM, songbird wrote:

You might find it there, but you might have to buy in bulk. I buy only 5-10 lbb at a time. Unlike plants, which I buy only at nurseries, I sometimes buy sulfur and other supplies at a lumber yard or hardware store. But any comprehensive nursery should have sulfur.

Then store as I indicated for mild-winter areas. Just make sure the peat moss is slightly damp, not wet.

Sand won't provide phosphorus. Unless you plan to eat the tulips, I would not worry about mad cow disease. However, you can substitute same amount of superphosphate for the bone meal. A single dose of either before planting -- where the roots will find it -- should last several years. By the way, the handful is per bulb.
Topping the layer of soil that has the bone meal or superphosphate with some sand is a good alternative to using the sulfured soil. However, there should be at least a small amount of sulfured soil underneath the bulbs; they should be completely surrounded with sulfured soil to prevent fungus. If you soil is already somewhat acidic, use a quarter-handful per bulb instead of a half-handful. Acidic soil tends to discourage fungus.
If the soil is retaining too much water, omit adding any clay. Top your beds with gypsum (powdered soil gypsum, not decorative gypsum rock) and let the summer rains rinse it into the soil. This will improve drainage.

--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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David E. Ross wrote:

...
i'll see what i can find. thanks.

some reading i've been doing is recommending very dry and hot for some varieties, so i would not use this as a blanket recommendation.

ok, i'll look into using that for the perennial tulips i plan to leave in.
bone meal isn't a hazard if you don't have to handle it at all, but i don't want even a whiff of the dust so i'll avoid it completely. i'm not even sure i can get it locally very easily at all (i don't see it in the stores).

ok, i'll give it a shot and see what happens. actually, i am likely to do several versions and compare results now that i'm redoing anyways. this sort of thing appeals to the tinkerer/scientist in me and i'm finally getting a chance to do it the way i'd like.
i get big management brownie points if i use the words "decorative, rocks, pebbles, and beach stones". :)

my mix for one bed was about a third peat, a third clay and a third sand. the texture is wonderful to weed (compared to full clay anything but cement is wonderful to weed :) ). we had so much rain this year and the weather was perfect for fungus early. i didn't notice it right away.
the other bed has been going for several years now and is due for replacement. i have bulbs popping out the surface. i'll do both at once since they are in the same area and use the chance to reshape and redo the surrounding pathways. all these have been on my list to do for a few years now so it's about time. :)

i was reading about gypsum, but wasn't sure i'd need any at all if i raised the bed above grade and used plenty of sharp sand along with the drain tubes... i'm probably going to have to add some other kind of soil lightener (perlite perhaps) because i don't want to go back to peat moss again. what i have left i'm probably going to turn into fake tufa stone with plenty of hollow spots for bulbs... (with drain holes :) ).
we'll see what gets done.
thanks again,
songbird
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Towards the end of your season, try planting buckwheat or rye as a cover crop. They will lighten your soil considerably by introducing large quantities of fine roots into it.
--
- Billy
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Billy wrote: ...

i've, coincidentally, just gotten a few buckwheat seeds to see what kind of plant they are, and a much larger amount of birdsfoot trefoil seeds to spread on a few areas i've been spading.
we'd planted alfalfa in the general area to improve the soil and to break through the hardpacked clay layer but it didn't get enough color to be left wild like i would have done. now it is being mowed. the trefoil eventually will fill in and improve things on a smaller scale.
the tulib beds i am redoing (the cause of my initial post in this thread) will be getting completely new soil and i am going to try various mixes both below and above the bulbs and various toppings to see what does the best (and taking notes).
my friendly greenhouse guy says my plans sound good for what i'm trying to accomplish. but i forgot to ask him about my other question that i haven't had answered yet ( about what liquid i can dunk the existing bulbs in to drench them before they get air dried and put into storage). i'll stop in again today on my way past and see what he says.
songbird
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Rye and buckwheat aren't going to pass as ornamentals. They function very well, though, in breaking up clay into a soil that is more workable. At this point you could add your amendments (including sand to 30-40%, organic material to 5-10%). Once your amendments are in, you may wish to change to growing green manure, and avoid the cost of bagged animal manure altogether.
--
- Billy
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Billy wrote:

i'm not planning any amendments for that area at present (other than filling in the bare spots with the trefoil). if we do a more formal garden there it will be next year or later... amendments at that time depending upon what type of garden goes there. if it more rocks and decorations then i won't amend or mess with it at all beyond making sure it is properly planned for water flow and that there is some sort of good layers of weed barrier and stone down.
behind this area is a planting of flax that looks nice when i keep it clear of grasses and daisies, but i didn't weed that this spring -- it looked less tidy and full than it did the year before. still a nice backdrop. ... and now it is getting some milkweed going through it and along the NE corner some butterfly weed seeds took that i scattered in there last year (which will be flowering soon :) ). it's on my list for this coming week to get some of the daisies out of there (we have plenty already thanks) and to take care of the grasses before the seeds drop.
:) i'm in love!
songbird
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Maybe so, but there's still weeding to be done;O)
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songbird wrote:

Any garden center - even the chains - should have it - it's a "basic basic" gardening product.
Tony M.
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Tony wrote:

...
i drew a big blank last time i looked around for various chemicals/amendments. all the chains have topsoil, garden soil, mulch, fertilizer, weed killers, and insecticides up the wazoo. simple chemicals seem to be scarce... i'm not much of a shopper... i will practice some more tomorrow. :)
thanks, :)
songbird
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