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Gardening with Ellen Pell, November
Gardening with Ellen
Bulbs- the growing kind not the electric kind, are on my mind. Could it be because my mail order bulbs arrived?
If you love bulbs, do not plant them in warm weather or they will start to grow and you will be disappointed in the spring. Wait for a cold snap to plant those daffodil, tulip or hyacinth bulbs - usually around Thanksgiving these past few years. But make sure to dig before the ground freezes. Bulbs are not difficult to plant. I use a bulb planter, inexpensive and available at any garden center. Or you can plant them in a big hole. Make sure to plant at the recommended depth, or the bulbs may be pushed out of the ground by frost heaving. E.g., 8" is a safe depth for tulip bulbs. A word of caution: Do not use bone meal. Bone meal attracts moles, voles, mice, squirrels, and other rodents. They smell it and go right for your bulbs. Also, NEVER plant bulbs in a straight line. Nature doesn’t “do straight.” Toss a handful of bulbs in the air and plant them where they land (with their pointed ends up, of course.) Daffodils and other members of the Amaryllis family, including snowflakes and snowdrops, are truly deer and rodent proof. They contain a bitter, poisonous substance called lycorine that no mammal will eat. Daffodils need to be divided every few years for continuous, large blooms. But don't expect your tulip bulbs to return. Consider them annuals and plant new tulips each season. Resist the urge to cut the leaves of your bulbs back or tie them up. Bulbs store their energy for next year's flowers from this year's leaves. Happy planting!
Ellen Pell, Master Gardener