Here in New Hampshire, winters are long. The landscape is somewhat bleak (although snow scenes can be pretty) and the only flowers that we get to view are inside.
That’s why amaryllis are so prized here. Big, bold, lovely blooms can keep us company during the months of short days and their care is fairly minimal.
Most of the year, these plants live on a sunny windowsill. Some people put them outside in the summer months, but this is not a necessity.
Watering them when needed is all the care that they require until the fall. In the middle of September, I put them in the root cellar to rest.
This can be any dark spot where they won’t freeze. Don’t pull off the leaves, they will fall off gently in their own timing.
At the beginning of November, I start to pull the amaryllis, one at a time, out of the root cellar. I wait two weeks before I pull out another. I have seven plants so this will give me almost continuous blooms throughout the latter part of the winter.
I then scoop out about 1/3 of the top of the soil around the plant.
Flowers love bone meal so I add a small scoop or two around the top of the remaining soil.
Then I fill up the rest of the space with a good quality potting soil.
I make my own potting soil in the summer. I have a soil sterilizer (a big metal contraption) that allows me to heat up a couple of buckets of compost to 200 degrees. This kills most of the weed seeds and insect larvae so that I feel comfortable bringing it in the house. After it cools down, I put it in a 5-gallon bucket.
Last year, I left it in my garden shed so it was frozen solid when I went to use it. This year, I put it in the root cellar in the fall. This is the soil I also use to start my onions. Onion planting time is right around the corner so stay tuned….
And, just because...
Celeste Longacre has been growing virtually all of her family’s vegetables for the entire year for over 30 years. She cans, she freezes, she dries, she ferments & she root cellars. She also has chickens.
Celeste has also enjoyed a longtime relationship with The Old Farmer’s Almanac as their astrologer!
Celeste's new book on living lightly on the Earth is due out September 25, 2014.