Let the planting begin!
We may have just said good-bye to summer, but it's not too early to be thinking about what will be sprouting in your garden come spring. Actually, early fall, when the soil is beginning to cool, is the time to plant flower bulbs that will produce some much anticipated color in your yard after the long, cold winter months.
Years of experience have taught me that there are a some simple tips to remember when planting bulbs that when followed will ensure a garden bursting in color come spring.
Choose your bulbs wisely. Always look for bulbs that are firm to the touch, avoiding ones that are soft or moldy-sure signs that the bulb is rotting. Be selective, large bulbs=large blooms. Who wants wimpy flowers, right? When choosing your bulbs consider when they will bloom. Ideally, you want a variety of bulbs so that you'll have new blooms coming up from early spring to early summer.
The tulips will give my garden color in early spring, the alliums later in the season.
Don't Forget ThisTip #1: It's best to plant bulbs soon after purchase, but if that isn't possible, store bulbs in a cool dry spot.
Plan before you plant, but don't over think. Rather than haphazardly planting bulbs, lay out the bulbs on the area where you're planning to plant before digging your holes. Keep in mind that there are no straight lines in nature so there is no need to get out a ruler to perfectly space your bulbs. A more organic layout will be pleasing to the eye when your flowers bloom.
No need for perfection here!
Don't forget this tip #2: If deer or squirrels are a problem in your garden use daffodils at the border of your garden, these animals are repelled by the scent.
Let the planting begin! When it comes time to plant, dig a hole approximately 3 times the height of the bulb. Speed up the process by using a bulb planting tool. Short handled ones are fine for softer, sandy soils, but a longer handled one like the one pictured below are helpful if you have clay soil.
Don't forget this tip #3: If you're short on time it's possible to dig one large, rectangular hole and lay your bulbs out all at once. Just be sure that you leave adequate space between bulbs and that your hole is the proper depth.
Don't forget this tip #4: Phosphorus is vital to large bulbs like hyacinth, tulips and daffodils. Adding a sprinkling of bone meal (readily available in garden stores) to the hole before placing your bulb will provide the needed nutrients.
Protect your bulbs: After planting remove all traces of bulb waste that might tip off animals where your bulbs are planted. Further protect the area by covering your newly planted areas with a generous layer of mulch. As autumn progresses, use fallen leaves as an added layer of protection throughout the winter months.
I like to separate my iris bulbs in the fall to fill in bare spots in my flower beds.
Will you be planting any bulbs this year? What is your favorite spring flower?