Fall Bulbs to Brighten Your Spring

 

Date: August 29th, 2014

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The chill of winter finally begins to subside. After months of gray skies, sunlight slowly begins to warm the earth. Your heart warms too, because the bulbs you planted last Fall are just starting to emerge. At least, that's what ought to happen. And why shouldn't it? Bulbs are so easy to plant, and so worthwhile when they bloom. What are you waiting for? Get inspired and get started by following a few simple steps.

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How many times have you heard the phrase, "so easy, ANYONE can do it"? Well, add one more to the total, because planting Fall bulbs really is that easy. And seeing them come up in the Spring is pretty hard to beat. There are just a few basics to keep in mind before getting started; plus, we have a few favorite bulb suggestions for your consideration.

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7 Steps to Fall Bulb Planting

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1. Be Picky. Specifically, about your bulbs and where you're going to plant them. Choose bulbs that are free from obvious physical damage, mold or mildew.

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2. Timing Isn't Everything. But it's pretty doggoned important. Plant your bulbs when the soil has cooled, but well before the ground freezes. Mid September and October are normally just about right.

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3. Get in Deep. There are exceptions, but here's a good rule of thumb: dig a hole about three times deeper than the bulb is tall. So, a 3-inch bulb needs a 9" hole. Sandy soil? Go slightly deeper. Clay soil, go slightly shallower. Choose a well-drained spot for planting that will get at least six hours of sun each day. Constantly wet, mushy ground is a good way to rot bulbs.

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4. Don't Miss the Point. When you plant bulbs, ALWAYS do so with the point facing up.

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5. Get Good Dirt on the Subject. Bulbs like well-aerated, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. If you have poor soil – too sandy or too much clay – add amendments to improve it. Be sure to add 1-1/2 heaping teaspoons of Espoma Bulb-tone or Bio-tone Starter Plus into the planting hole with the bulb, where the roots can find it. This rich, organic, slow-feeding plant food is especially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of bulbs. Feed again at the same rate when plants are about 6 inches high.

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6. After Dinner Drink. After covering the bulbs with rich organic soil, water well to help them become established before winter.

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7. To Mulch is Enough. Adding a 3-inch layer of mulch over the surface of the soil will help insulate and protect the bulbs against freeze and thaw conditions. If you're worried about the shoots finding their way through it in the Spring, you can always pull back the mulch in April.



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