As the weather cools off and fall begins, the last thing you have on your mind is next spring. It is the time, however, to start planning ahead for your spring garden. Now is your chance to shorten your winter by planting early spring bulbs.
Towards the end of winter, everyone is ready for a little bit of color. And as you see those first bits of green pop through the soil, it's a sign of warmer weather to come. Taking the time now to plant bulbs like crocus, snowdrops, wolf's bane and hyacinths will give you an early spring. Another favorite early spring bulb is scilla, the tiny blue flower that spreads and looks like a groundcover. Each spring we have many customers come in asking to buy the plant, well now is your chance!
Other spring bulbs that should be planted now are tulips, alliums and daffodils.
When planning to incorporate bulbs into your garden, be sure you look at when these flowers bloom, their height and leave space for additional spring and summer annuals. Each bulb variety differs with how deep to plant it, but typically you will want to dig a hole that is about 6-8 inches deep. Many people use a bulb planter to do this, but a hand trowel will work as well.
If you have a lot of bulbs you want to plant, there are two planting methods you can use to make the job easier. One is the trench method, which works best if you are looking to plant a long row of bulbs. With this, you will dig a long trench that is about 6-8 inches deep, place all of your bulbs in their rows, and then cover them with the soil. If you are planting groupings of bulbs, you can dig a circular pit that is the right depth, fill it with the bulbs, and then cover them with soil.
Also, to help feed the spring bulbs throughout the winter, we recommend using fertilizer such as Espoma's Bulb Tone or Bone Meal that you can add into the soil when you plant your bulbs.
Many people have problems with squirrels moving their bulbs around, especially tulip bulbs. Hyacinth and daffodil bulbs are actually poisonous to a lot of animals, so they should leave those alone. Your tulips, however, can be protected by incorporating dried blood or a granular animal repellant into the soil when you plant them.
Next spring, your bulbs will bloom and give you a blast of color to kick off your spring. Once they have bloomed, we recommend letting them die back naturally to encourage blooming again the following year. If they are really unsightly, you can cut back the green leaves. Once the leaves have turned brown and died back, you should easily be able to rake them up or grab them with your hands.
With a little bit of planning you will have a shorter winter with lots of color next spring!