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Bulbs and Seeds

Bulbs, Buy In Fall, Plant In Fall, Enjoy In Spring

Bearded Iris and fall-blooming crocus arrive in mid-August (along with a few daffs, Darwin tulips, ranunculus and crocus). Next (about the second week of September) comes the majority of the bulbs: daffs, crocus, tulips, alliums, etc. A small selection of lilies arrives towards the end of September, and Amaryllis will show up in mid October.

Best selection of fall planting bulbs is mid September through October. If you aren't planting the bulbs right after purchasing, store them in paper bags (not plastic) in a cool, dry area.

When can bulbs be planted? Iris, lilies and fall crocus, immediately. The others, mostly when night time temps stay at 50 to 40 degrees for about 2 weeks. Daffs can go in as early as September; wait longer to plant tulips.

Bulbs don't like Wet Feet! Bulbs like rich, well draining soil! Work organic material into your soil, a good 12 inches deep. Add bulb food to the bottom of the planting hole, work in well. Put in the bulbs, water well as you fill the hole back in with soil.

Which 'end' goes up? The pointed end....with exceptions! Ranunculus...remember "toes down". Unsure which way is up? Plant the bulb on its side.

How deep? In the ground the general rule of thumb is plant bulbs 3 times the width of the bulb. In containers the bulbs can be planted at shallower depths.

Do bulbs need sun? Yes, they do. Remember to take into account that when the bulbs bloom in the spring, the trees will be bare of leaves, allowing more sunlight.

By Deb Breazeale
Skylights Autumn 2008, Vol 23, No. 3

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