Planting Bulbs for Spring

Even though it’s the time of year we focus on digging up our gardens and saying goodbye to our flowerbeds, it’s also important to remember to plant bulbs for Spring.

Tulip, daffodil, crocus and snowdrop flowers may bloom in the Spring, but the bulbs are hardy and must be planted in the Fall as they benefit from sitting in cold soil.

Did you know?
Planting fall bulbs when the ground is still warm is too early and can subject them to disease. 

When to Plant Fall Bulbs?

Fall bulb varieties, like tulips and daffodils, need to be planted 6 to 8 weeks before a hard, ground-freezing frost. In the Bobcaygeon area, the best month for planting your hardy bulbs tends to be October and early November.

Tip: Some gardeners say you can wait until Halloween to plant tulips, but daffodils should be planted earlier in the Fall so they can establish roots before the frost sets in.

How to Plant Fall Bulbs?

• Plant the bulbs 6 to 8 inches deep, or approximately three times the height of the bulb.

• Put the bulb in the hole with the pointy end up. Cover with dirt and press down firmly.

• Water bulbs immediately after planting.

• Put a layer of leaf mulch on top of area, approximately 5 cm, to protect the bulbs over the winter.

planting fall bulbs

Should Fall Bulbs be Fertilized?

There are different theories about this. Some gardeners swear by adding a couple of tablespoons of bone meal with the bulb in the hole to produce stronger plants in the Spring.

Other gardeners prefer using a balanced, 10-10-10 or 10-15-10, slow-release fertilizer. They don’t put it in the actual hole with the bulb as this could burn it. Rather, they lightly mix it in the top layer of soil.

Visit us at the store to purchase your fertilizer.

How to Keep Critters From Eating Bulbs?

Some gardeners swear that the resident squirrels “watch and wait” as they plant their Fall bulbs. No sooner do they walk away and those furry rodents gleefully steal them for winter snacks.

Some suggestions we’ve gathered over the years:

Place a portion of chicken wire above the area you’ve planted, affix it with stakes or rocks and cover it with mulch of shredded leaves.
OR create a wire cage out of the chicken wire and actually place the bulb inside the cage and then place it in the hole. The bulb stems will be able to grow through the holes in the Spring but the rodents won’t be able to dig them up. Be sure to use chicken wire with a big enough hole to allow for stem growth.

Sprinkle a heavy dose of red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce over the planted bulbs. But keep in mind the Humane Society warns this could get in their eyes. Another suggestion is to sprinkle coffee grounds as supposedly they hate the smell.

Add sharp objects (ouch!) to the hole, like thorny leaves or pointy gravel or crushed shells.

Spray an organic animal repellent.

As soon as you finish up planting, pack down the soil and clean up the area. Some say the squirrels won’t be able to smell the bulbs so easily. 

planting fall bulbs

As we plant our Fall bulbs and prepare for winter, we can anticipate the beauty Spring will surely bring, including those gorgeous flowers  (that is, if the squirrels don’t get them!).

“If we had no winter, spring would not be so pleasant”

– Anne Bradstreet

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