27 October 6, 2010

The nights are getting colder. Unfortunately that means that it is time to think about winter.It is also time to think about spring. Early spring means trees coming back to life. Shrubs begin to grow and flower buds begin to open on our spring flowering shrubs. Early spring is also the time when the tulips and daffodils come into flower. Every spring, I always have people who come into the store looking to plant tulip and daffodil bulbs. They are always disappointed when they are told that spring is not the time to plant tulip and daffodil bulbs. The right time to plant these spring flowering bulbs is during the fall.

October is a good month to plant spring flowering bulbs. These bulbs are the tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, crocus and many others. It is critical to plant these bulbs now if you want them to flower in the spring. When the bulbs are planted now, they get a strong root system out into the soil. This root system helps to anchor the bulb in the soil. Soon, the bulbs will be exposed to an extended period of cold soil temperatures. Come spring, warming soil temperatures cause the bulbs to wake up and begin to put up growth and eventually flower. If the bulbs don’t get that period of cold soil temperatures followed by warming soil temperatures, they will not flower. This is the reason why it is important to plant your spring flowering bulbs during the fall.

As we have for many years, we have a great selection of spring flowering bulbs in our store. People come in to buy bulbs and of course, we get to talking about bulbs. I have found out, over the years, that there are a few mistakes people make when planting bulbs. Let me fill you in on some of those mistakes so that you don’t need to make the same mistakes.

I have found out that many people think that it is too hard to plant a lot of bulbs. They feel that you need to dig a hole for each bulb. After all, if you buy 25 or more bulbs, that is a lot of holes to dig. Hey, that’s doing it the hard way! When you plant bulbs, a single bulb growing in the garden hardly makes a good-looking display. You should always plant bulbs in groups of 5 to 20 bulbs. This gives your garden a WOW appearance when the bulbs come into flower. You need to pick a spot and dig a hole with a shovel. The hole should be 4 to 6 inches deep. The depth depends on the type of bulb you are planting. The hole should be about 6 inches deep by 1 foot square if you are planting tulips. In the bottom of the hole add some bulb food and mix it in with the soil. At the bottom of the hole, place 5 tulip bulbs. Cover the bulbs with dirt and water the soil. See, that was quick! Now dig another hole about 2 to 3 feet away from the first hole. Plant another 5 bulbs and soon you have all those bulbs planted. Come spring, those mass plantings of bulbs will catch your eye better than a single bulb planted here and there.

The biggest complaint that many people have is that animals will dig up the bulbs that have just been planted. If you use bone meal as a fertilizer, squirrels will surely dig up the bulbs. Dog and cat food contains bone meal. To a squirrel’s sensitive nose, bone meal means there is dog or cat food buried in the garden. If you use bulb food, there is no telltale smell to attract squirrels. If the squirrels still want to dig, it is probably because they sense that new dug up soil means that Cousin Billy the squirrel has buried some nuts for the winter. Hey, why not dig up Cousin Billy’s food and steal it? If you apply an animal repellent to the surface of the soil after you plant the bulbs, the squirrels will smell something that doesn’t appeal to them. They will just go along and pick up all those acorns that seem to be everywhere this fall.

There is so much more to know about bulbs than space will allow here. If you need more information, please stop by the store. Almost everyone working in the store has experience planting bulbs.

After a long winter, there is nothing that says spring is coming better than the sight of crocuses coming into bloom. A clump of daffodil flowers says April is here. Tulips in bloom say that it is almost time to plant the annuals and vegetables. Take some time now to make your spring happier by planting some spring flowering bulbs this fall.

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

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