Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Planting spring flowering bulbs

This is the time to plant spring flowering bulbs. Tulips, hyacinths and crocus offer a profusion of color for your garden next spring. The best time to plant these bulbs is now, in October. The soil temperature is cooler, but still warm enough to allow the bulbs to start to root. Begin by selecting quality bulbs.
Choose bulbs that are firm and covered by their natural papery covering. The type of bulb is also important.
Crocus are the earliest of the spring blooming bulbs, followed by
Muscari and then the daffodils and early tulips.  There is a wide variety of colors to choose from when selecting bulbs. Bulbs come loose in individual containers or as pre-packaged assortments. The loose-packed bulbs are  nice because you can mix and match many colors. Next, consider where you plan to plant your bulbs. Select a site where your bulbs will receive at least 6 hours of sunlight. Bulbs will do okay in partial shade, but most prefer sunny locations.
Prepare the site by amending your existing soil with organic material, such as Sheep, Peat and Compost or Organic Compost. Plan to lay  down 2"-3" of amendments to the site, then dig in thoroughly with the existing soil to a depth of 5" to 6". You can use a spade or garden fork to prepare the ground. Add some Dutch Bulb Food to the ground before you place your bulbs, so the roots will grow into the fertilizer.
Augers and bulb planters are handy tools to have when you're planting your bulbs.
Once the site is prepared, place the bulb in the ground with the pointed side up. With smaller bulbs it may be difficult to tell which side goes up.
One side will be flatter than the other. Place the flat side down. As a rule, plant the bulbs two to three times their height. A two inch tall bulb should be buried 5 to 6 inches deep. Cover the bulbs and mark the spot where they are planted. Water the site thoroughly. Check on your bulbs through the winter. They should be watered every four to five weeks, along with the rest of the trees and shrubs in your landscape.

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