iGrow ~you can, too~ No.6 Bulbs

Fall Bulbs
Now is the time to plant for the first flowers or Spring
I know it's not easy to think of Winter around the corner and Spring even farther still.
Bulbs help me get over what can seem like never ending cold.
Because we can get 8 inches of this white stuff here, even in May!

Buy them now.
Wait at least until Halloween to plant!

The best time to plant is after Halloween and before the ground freezes. 

Milder climates should be planted no later than January to ensure enough time for the bulbs to chill (no less than 6 weeks) If you plant too early, the ground may be too warm still, the bulbs may be fooled into thinking they need to sprout. Of course it's not Spring and when it does get cold they will just die, having awakened from their sleep and started to grow, they send out some shoots and roots. But they can't complete the cycle of flowering and growing new bulbs. So don't plant until the ground has cooled.

How to Plant

Dig a hole, a good rule of thumb is twice  as deep as the bulb is tall. Muscari 1 inch deep, Daffodil 5 inches deep. (Meaning the TOP of the bulb is 1, or 5, inches below the surface)

Add a teaspoon of bone meal (long lasting fertilizer) to the bottom of the hole. I actually use a designated kitchen spoon for this. Scrape the granules into the dirt a bit.
Set your bulb in the hole, pointy side up.

    Backfill in with dirt. If you have normal topsoil or garden soil, just fill the hole in with the dirt you dug out.  *However* If you are planting these in an out of the way place that has very rocky, dense clay or otherwise harsh soil conditions. Fill the hole back in with some "better" soil. Bulbs shoot up through the earth, but if the ground is too hard, like the clay and adobe around here, you may end up disappointed.

      You may skip the fertilizer, but remember this is your only opportunity to give these guys a good home. Most common bulbs come back year, after year, after year. So put in that little extra effort now.

      Tips for Naturalizing

      • Plant in groups. I dig a very large hole for Daffodils and put in 5-7 bulbs about 2 inches apart.

      • Plant an odd number of bulbs together. Even numbers look planned and mathematical. (unless you have a dozen or more)
      Plant in unexpected places! I toss Crocus corms onto the lawn by the handful. Using a screwdriver, wiggle little holes into the lawn about an inch and a half deep. Stick the little crocus in. They flower and die back long before you need to mow and are so cute and unexpected.Also, they usually don't return the next year because the grass gets too much water, but are very inexpensive, I use them as an annual in this application.

      Oh, Deer! 

      These beauties above are pretty safe from those garden nibblers, including the big beautiful yellow Daffodils (not pictured) we all know so well.
      {These are pictures from the packages of bulbs, I just planted, forgive the "staples" please.}
      • Deer Love Tulips! Just don't plant them where deer have access to avoid tears.

      • Deer won't touch Daffodils or Narcissus or Jonquils (all in the same family)

      • They also avoid Crocus, Allium, Muscari, 

      Bulbs are probably the single most gratifying planting experience. Take some hard, homely, papery skin covered bulbs. Dig a hole and drop them in with a spoonful or bone meal in the fall. Keep moist (this is kinda important). If you live in an area that gets little winter moisture or if your ground is NOT covered with snow for a few months. Get out there at least once a month and pour some water over those patches of earth above your little bulbs of soon to be spring joy. When the spring sun warms the soil,'those beauties will sprout. You can have large beautiful blooms (almost guaranteed) with very little effort. Tulips, Daffodils, and crocus, Grape Hyacinth (Muscari), and true Hyacinth are the first five to consider. Bulbs can be pricey. Try Home Depot or Lowe's bags of bulbs at a significant discount compared to your local nursery.  Beware, you get what you pay for here. I have found that only as much as 50% of bulk bulbs come up in the spring compared to 99.9% of the pricier, nursery bought bulbs.

      I am not a professional, these a just my opinions. What works for me, may not work for you.

      Easy to grow if you dig a hole bigger than the pot, add a handful or two of some compost. Fill the hole with water, put the plant in and backfill around the plant with the original soil mixed with a couple more handfuls of compost. Water it every day for the first two weeks, then about three times amweek the first year to establish the roots.
      4-8 hours of sun or more and water regularly (2-3 times a week) should be all you need to grow successful plants.

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