16October 15, 2014

I don’t know why, but once the Columbus Day holiday comes and goes, it really seems and feels like fall.

It’s important to remind you that fall is the only time to plant tulip, daffodil, crocus and other spring flowering bulbs. The bulbs need to go in during the fall, they need to get a root system out into the soil and then they need to go through a period of cold soil temperatures. As the soil warms in the spring, the bulbs trigger the growth that produces the flower. If the bulb doesn’t get the cold soil followed by the warming soil, they will not flower properly. Now is the time to get those bulbs in the ground.

When you plant your spring flowering bulbs, it is always best to plant them as a cluster of bulbs. Pick a sunny location in your yard. You want to dig a hole that is one foot in diameter and 6 inches deep for daffodil, tulip and the other large size bulbs. Dig the hole 4 inches deep for crocus and any other small size bulbs. Sprinkle about one quarter to one half cup of bulb food into the bottom of the hole. Mix the fertilizer into the soil. If you are planting the large bulbs, you want to put 5 bulbs into the bottom of the hole. Space the bulbs evenly in the hole. If you are planting tulips, you will notice that the bulb has a rounded side and one side that are a bit flattened. When you place the tulip bulbs in the hole, make sure that the flattened side is facing toward the side of the hole. The reason is that the flattened side puts out the first leaf and it makes for a more formal look when the plants are in bloom. On the other large bulbs it doesn’t make a difference. If you are planting the smaller bulbs, evenly space 10 bulbs in the bottom of the hole. Once the bulbs are in place, cover the bulbs with soil and press the soil down. Give the soil some water and you have planted your bulbs! When the bulbs come into bloom in the spring, you will have a better display as opposed to one bulb poking a flower up through the ground. You may find that if you have squirrels in your yard, they will dig up the newly planted bulbs. They will steal your tulip and crocus bulbs. They will eat these bulbs. Daffodil and hyacinth bulbs are poisonous to any rodent so they tend to leave those bulbs alone. If squirrels may be a problem, you should apply an animal repellent on the bulbs before you cover the bulbs with dirt. You should then apply animal repellent onto the soil after you water the soil. Give the soil about half an hour to dry a bit before you apply the animal repellent. If you already have the bulbs in the ground, you can apply the repellent to the top of the soil. You can use either liquid or granular animal repellents to keep the squirrels at bay.

In the spring, you will see tiny shoots poking up through the thawing soil. Soon after, you will be rewarded for your work with a spectacular showing of early spring color.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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