Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bulb Gardening Thoughts

Spring bulb planting begins in October as the night and day temperatures begin to fall and the air becomes clear and dry. Purchasing bulbs is another story and that can begin in September. Bulbs should be firm and show no signs of rot or damage. Some retailers sell inexpensive bulbs but be cautious of these, although they will survive they may be too young to produce flowers for several years if at all. Here are some of the products needed:

Bulbs of your choice Spring bulbs need to be planted in full sun (min. 6 hours) in little well drained soil. Each variety of bulbs has a mature height and bloom time so stag your planting low in front tall in back as well as stagger the variety for bloom time to lengthen the season.

Espoma Bulb Tone Bulbs like many of our garden favorites are not always growing naturally in our yards so the nutrients that they require mat not be available in the levels that they need to perform at their best. Bulb Tone is an all natural plant food (3-5-3) a complete blend aiding in the full development of our bulbs. Always follow the recommend amounts that are suggested on the packaging unless a soil test tells us differently.

Coast of Maine Cobscook Blend, Quoddy Mix or Little River Compost Bulbs like most of our perennials require a moderate amount of organic matter in the soil for them to flourish. The Coast of Maine products are the most consistent and general show the best results.

Bulb Planters Nothing beats a good shovel when creating a mass planting of bulbs. However for spotting bulbs throughout the garden in and around existing plants a bulb planter or auger that fits onto a cordless drill is a very effective tool. Bulbs should be planted at least 4 X their diameter. This is from the top of the bulb to the surface of the garden bed. This means the top of a 2” bulb should be 6” deep in the soil making the hole approximately 8” deep.

Ro­-Pel Many of our native animals of all sizes enjoy our bulbs as much as we do but for an entirely different reason. They taste good. We have found that Ro-Pel has been one of the most effective repellant to protect our bulb investment. Before planting bulbs soak them in Ro-pel for one minute allow to dry before planting. For deer and other spring feeders spray all surfaces including both sides of the foliage.

Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
September 28, 2011