After a long, dreary winter, fall planted bulbs fill the garden with bursts of floral sunshine in a celebration of spring. What could be a more welcoming sight! Bulbs produce a colorful display with little effort. Once planted, they give years of enjoyment with little care.
For simplicity, the word bulb describes plants that store energy for their seasonal cycle in an underground storage organ. These include “true” bulbs such as daffodils and tulips, corms such as crocus and tubers, rhizomes and tuberous roots. The time to plant spring blooming bulbs is now (November) before the first frost as all bulbs need certain “chilling time” with temperatures below 40 degrees for at least 12-14 weeks in order to bloom. Buy good bulbs with no blemishes, bruises or soft spots — the larger the bulb, the better the bloom. Bulbs need plenty of sunlight and rich, well-drained soil with a PH of 6.0 to 7.0. Work the soil to a depth of about 12 inches and add a half-inch to one-third inch organic material or peat moss, compost or aged bark. The rule of thumb is to plant them twice as deep as they are tall. So if you have a 3-inch bulb such as a daffodil, plant 6 inches deep. You can even plant smaller ones above larger ones. (November 5, 2010, Page 5B)