45 October 7, 2006

Last week, I was telling you about fall being the time to plant tulip, daffodil and crocus bulbs. This week, I’ll give you a few tips on planting these bulbs.


Spring flowering bulbs need to be planted in well – drained soil. If the bulbs sit in water for any length of time, the bulbs will rot. If your gardens have clay soil, you will need to dig a deeper hole for planting your bulbs. For example, if you need to plant the bulb 6 inches deep in the soil, you will need to dig down about a foot deep and either add sand to the soil or remove the clay and backfill with good garden soil. The extra 6 inches of depth gives the bulb an area for excess water to drain away from the bulb.

If the soil is sandy or is a good garden soil, you probably will not have to do anything to the soil.


Some animals will dig up bulbs you have planted. Some rodents eat tulip and crocus bulbs. Squirrels, chipmunks, mice, moles and voles all can turn a bed of tulip bulbs into a snack bar in short order. There are many different types of animal repellents you can use to deter these critters. You can soak the bulbs in liquid animal repellent to make the bulbs taste bad. There are barrier types of granules that you mix with the soil to make it unpleasant for the animal to dig up the bulbs. One thing you should remember is that using bone meal as a fertilizer can encourage animals to dig up your bulbs. If you know that rodents have been a problem in the past, you can plant daffodil, narcissus or hyacinth bulbs. Rodents will not eat these bulbs. In most cases, if a rodent tried to eat these bulbs, the animal would be poisoned.


It is important to add some fertilizer when planting bulbs. When bulbs are done flowering, they need fertilizer to help make food to store in the bulb. Tulips in particular, need lots of fertilizer if they are to flower again the following spring. I usually mix some bulb fertilizer into the bottom of the planting hole. I mix it in with the soil and then plant the bulbs.


Many people will dig a hole and plant one bulb at a time. This makes the job of planting bulbs very tedious. Spring flowering bulbs have the best visual impact when they are planted in clusters of bulbs. This is what you should do when planting spring flowering bulbs. Dig a hole 6 inches deep but make the hole a foot in diameter. Add your fertilizer to the bottom of the hole. Now arrange 6 tulip bulbs or 5 daffodil bulbs in the bottom of the hole. Cover with soil and water thoroughly. In the spring you will have a big display of flowers that will make a gardening statement. You can dig your next hole 3 feet away and plant more bulbs. When it is springtime, the flower show will be spectacular.


If you have a small area to plant bulbs, you can make a good showing of bulbs by planting the bulbs in layers. Dig up a 2-foot by 2-foot area. The hole should be 4 to 6 inches deep depending on the types of bulbs you are planting. Plant 6 tulip bulbs in a 1-foot area on one side of the hole. On the other side of the hole plant 5 daffodil bulbs. Cover the bulbs with 2 inches of soil. Now plant 3 hyacinth bulbs on one side of the hole. On the other side of the hole, plant 10 crocus bulbs. Fill in the rest of the hole with soil and water thoroughly. In the spring, the crocuses will flower first. Just about the time they are done flowering, the hyacinths will flower. The daffodils and tulips will come into flower shortly after. With a little work, you will have a spring long flower show in your garden.


Tulip bulbs can give you a long season of flowers. Tulip bulbs are divided into 3 different flowering times. Early flowering tulips will flower in early to mid April. Mid season tulips will flower in Late April to early May. Late tulips will flower from mid to late May. If you plant some tulips in each of those flowering times, you will have tulips flowering over the entire spring season.


Seeing spring flowering bulbs poking up new growth as the snow melts is a sure sign of spring. We have bulb in our store now. You can also order them through our web site, www. Harborgardens.com. Take some time to plant some spring now. Come spring, you will be glad you did.


I’ll talk to you again next week.

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