The Inside Story….Forcing Spring Bulbs From HGTV - Bulbs such as tulips, daffodils and crocus are the harbingers of brighter things to come. Create color all winter long by forcing these spring beauties. There are hundreds of bulb varieties to choose from, and you can reap a wintertime harvest with fragrant blooms as early as Christmas. The Great Indoors host Jan Goldsmith and indoor gardening expert Mike Hibbard explain the simple process of forcing.
Some of the most popular hardy spring bulbs to force are tulips and daffodils. Most need a period of cooling off in order to bloom. The bulbs come in a dormant stage and should be bought in late fall. Plant the bulbs in soil (or potting soil) and put in a cool place to force the development of a healthy root system.
Any tulip bulb can be forced to bloom early, but the shorter varieties are best to use in the house, because they're quite attractive and don't flop over. Traditional yellow daffodils work well for forcing but you can also use miniatures, bi-colored white and yellow forms as well as doubles and other varieties. Other great bulbs to force: crocus, puschkinia, scilla and hyacinths. Fall is the only time of the year that you can buy spring bulbs, so plan ahead.
When shopping for bulbs, look for healthy specimens. Make sure that bulbs are not shriveled and dry. Avoid soft spots or mold. Depending on what you are growing, the bulbs can look very different. A daffodil bulb has a papery covering, but others don't.
PLANTING BULBS IN AN INDOOR GARDEN
1. The first step is selecting the pots. The size doesn't make any difference. Goldsmith and Hibbard choose the short, squatted-type pots. Bulb pans can also be used
2. Fill the pot approximately three-quarters full with soil.
3. Tulip bulbs are sharp on the top and flat on the bottom. Plant the flat side down in the soil and the pointed side up.
4. Tulips also have a rounded side and a flat side. Put the flat side toward the outside of the pot, and your first leaf will come over and fall over the pot
5. Use the same technique for planting daffodils, crocus or hyacinths. Many bulbs planted in the same pot will give a flashier show.
6. Cover the bulbs with soil.
7. Water well. The soil needs to be kept moist or saturated during the forcing period. The saturation point comes when water comes out of the drainage holes.
8. Place the pots in a refrigerator-crisper drawer. Label each pot with the date you put them in the refrigerator and the variety of bulb it contains.
9. Some bulbs need only a short time to root. Crocus takes only four weeks to root. Daffodils and other varieties can take as much as 12 weeks.
10. Fruits emit ethylene gas that may affect your bulbs so don't put the bulbs around fruit.
11. In four to eight weeks your bulbs will begin to develop a root system. Don't worry if the tops have sprouted. When roots begin to grow out of the bottom of the pot, remove from the refrigerator. If the minimum time for root development has passed and the pots still show no roots, simply leave the pots in the refrigerator.
12. You can stagger your bulbs so that you will have blooms all winter long. Each plant bloom anywhere from one to three weeks after being taken out of the refrigerator. Leave some of the pots in the refrigerator so they will bloom at a later time.
13. Place bulbs where they will receive plenty of light but cool temperatures, preferably 55 to 60 degrees. The bulbs will get leggy and flop over if you put them in a room where the temperature is too warm.
14. Once your bulbs have started to bloom, water every day. The plants will be better off too wet than too dry.
15. Bulbs love sunshine and tend to turn toward the sun. If you want to keep them straight, just quarter-turn the pot every day.
16. Pinch off spent blooms. After flowering has finished, you might want to discard the plant to the compost pile or set it outside when weather permits to start the whole process over again. Always start with fresh bulbs when you are forcing blooms. If you are going to enjoy the blooms and then simply compost the bulbs afterward, there is no need to fertilize.
FALL IS UPON US… They don’t call is Fall for just any reason.Yes!All those wonderfully colored leaves have fallen and covered our lawns and gardens.WHAT TO DO NOW?
COMPOST, of course! By the pound, the leaves of most trees contain more minerals than manure. The mineral content of a sugar maple leaf is over five percent, while even common pine needles have 2.5 percent of their weight in calcium, magnesium, nitrogen and phosphorus, plus other trace elements. Trees are deep rooted plants and they absorb a good portion of the nutrients directly into their leaves.
The Calendar says FALL but SPRING time is here and it’s in a box or a bag at your local garden center.TULIPS, DAFFODILS, NARCISSUS, and SPECIALTY BULBS are available for your gardens.Many colors and shapes to choose from. Prepare your garden beds – Make sure that you select a planting site with appropriate sunlight and good water drainage.Bulbs will not grow in an area with poor water drainage – they hate “wet feet”.For clay soil, break up the clay about a foot deeper than the planting depth of your flower bulbs and amend the bed with sand and / or peat moss.For sandy soils, add peat moss and / or aged leaf compost. Flower bulbs must have neutral pH soil to develop a mature root system and, resultantly, a full sized, blooming plant.Never add horse manure, chicken droppings, mushroom compost or other “hot” manure or compost to your flower bulb beds.If you have any questions about your garden’s soil, a soil test is recommended. Consult with local experts if you need to amend the soil so that it has a neutral pH (around 6.5). Plant your Bulbs – once the weather has turned considerably cool and before the ground has frozen.Determine the proper planting depth and spacing for your bulbs according to planting charts.Dig 2” to 3” below the planting depth to loosen the soil to promote thorough root growth.Place the bulbs firmly in the soil with the pointed end up.The general rule of thumb is to cover the top of each bulb with 3” to 4” of topsoil, taking care to not break off any sprout growth.
Is your Garden a Back Yard Restaurant ?
Deer Say No Thank You To Daffodils… Fortunately for gardeners, Daffodils are near the very bottom of the list of deer food preferences. Their leaves actually contain a toxin that deer, rodents and most other creatures avoid. Today, daffodils come in a wide range of flower forms and colors, with bloom times that span a month or more. You can plant plenty of these early spring beauties and be relatively confident that they won't be eaten by deer.Other Bulbs deer avoid… Though hungry deer will eat most anything they come upon, there are many other spring-blooming bulbs that are typically shunned by deer. These include: Alliums, Star of Holland (Scilla siberica), Glory of the Snow (Chinodoxa forbesii), Crocus, Winter Aconite (Eranthis cilicica), Grape Hyacinth (Muscari), Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis), Early Stardrift (Puschkinia libanotica), and Crown Imperials (Fritillaria imperialis). Deer-Resistant Bulb Companions: Daylilies are ideal companions for daffodils because their foliage covers up maturing daffodil foliage, their dense root systems choke out weeds, and they provide a colorful display of flowers in mid-summer. Unfortunately, deer relish daylily foliage. So think about pairing your deer-resistant bulbs with other types of perennials that less attractive to deer. Some good deer-resistant perennials include: Ornamental grasses, Bee Balm (Monarda), Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Lenten Rose (Helleborus), Shasta Daisy (Chrysanthemum), Columbine (Aquilegia), Japanese Anemone (Anemone japonica), Deadnettle (Lamium), Bleeding Heart (Dicentra), Foxglove (Digitalis), Threadleaf Coreopis (Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam'), Most ferns, and Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) and remember… Tulips are Deer Candy Deer love tulips and hybrid lilies just as much as gardeners do. To discourage deer from dining on these cherished flowers, plant them as close to the house as possible, where deer will be reluctant to venture. Or try growing them in a protected area, such as a fenced-in vegetable garden. You can also erect a temporary fence during the time that your tulips or lilies are coming into bloom.