One type of gardening that is a favorite of mine is growing plants from bulbs. This is one of the easiest ways to garden, produces truly unique flowers and since it is so rarely done, will make the envy of your neighbors. Who wouldn’t want to grow lilies, daffodils, gladiolas and crocuses?
Using a variety of bulbs, a garden can actually bloom the year round. If you live in an area that freezes, you won’t see bulbs growing during the coldest two months. Otherwise, these wonder flowers will greet you each day. Even if you have tired of bulbs in the past, there are so many new color combinations, such as pink daffodils, that exploring the world of bulbs will not disappoint.
Bulbs take a little more planning than some flowers. You need to plant ahead of time, because bulbs do a lot of their growing underground. The benefit from this, besides great flowers, is that once they poke their heads out, the shoots are not affected by insects and animals nearly as much as vegetables are.
Simply put, you need to plant your bulbs about six months ahead. If its July, you can still plant fall flowering bulbs since the summer heat will make them grow faster. In general though, you want to plant four to six months ahead.
Bulbs like direct sun, so don’t plant them in the shade. To prepare the soil, loosen about six to eight inches of ground. Add some bulb plant food if you wish. You can prepare the soil using using digging equipment with extensions, if bending is hard for you. To plant the bulbs, set them in four to six inch deep holes several inches apart. If you don’t want to do this by hand, you can purchase a bulb planter with will give you even rows and keep your hands out of the dirt.
Bulbs do not need much water when you first plant them. Once you see the shoots coming out, this is the time to give them some early and late waterings. Keep the water off the blooms and shoots, as they can lead to mildew on your plants. It is fine to pick your flowers and bring some inside. Unless you buy special bulbs, most plants only bloom once. Flowers will last longer on the plant, so don’t bring too many in at once.
Once the plants die down, you will need to cut and dispose of the remains. Then comes the question: should you dig up the bulbs? This depends on where you live and what you planted. If I had planted some specialty bulbs, I would dig at least some of them up. Some bulbs will just not survive in cold areas outside. However, I have found many bulbs do just fine if left alone in the ground. I would suggest you experiment with your bulbs. Another reason for digging up bulbs is to separate them into new bulbs and add to your collection. If you don’t separate some bulbs they will not reproduce themselves very well. On the other hand, some bulbs will reproduce themselves all over the place, perhaps ruining your neatly designed color schemes.
Chart out your gardening plots. Design colors that work together. You need to also consider height with bulbs. Some such as gladiolas, will fall over. It is best to plant these against some support if possible. Most flowers under a foot or so will stand on their own. These can go into the front of your plot. You can become creative with your plots, perhaps designing a flag or other geometric combinations or even your family name. Bulbs are also outstanding candidates for container gardening. Simply set them out of the way until they come up, and bring the pots in when the blooms are present. Rotating them in and out is a good way to change the décor on your deck or patio.