As the plants and flowers in your garden start to brown, it's time for you to start thinking about your spring color palette! Hennepin County Master Gardener Jamie Sledd has some tips for you to keep in mind before and while you bury your flower bulbs this fall.
1.) Think about what you want your garden to look like
Think about the different colors you want to see, the different sizes and textures of flowers, and also keep in mind when in the season each flower will bloom. You wouldn't want every flower to peak at the same time.
2.) Remember where you're planting
The climate patterns in this part of Minnesota put us in zone four according to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. It's something you have to keep in mind, especially if you order your bulbs online. Most local nurseries will automatically have zone four bulbs.
3.) Give them room to grow
Flower bulbs come in different sizes. Typical rule of thumb is you can place smaller bulbs about three inches apart. Bigger bulbs need a bit more room.
"We find that next year, as they’re growing, if they’re crowded they don’t get the opportunity to get the air to circulate through them," says Sledd. "That can cause different viruses, different insects, things like that to possibly be problematic."
4.) Watch where you fertilize
Don't put fertilizer directly on the bulb, or it will burn. Work the fertilizer into the soil instead.
5.) Protect bulbs from critters
One of the biggest concerns when planting bulbs is keeping animals away from them. It's a good idea to get some sort of fencing material or chicken wire to lie over top of the bulbs after you’ve planted them. Keep the screen there until you see shoots poke out of the soil.
6.) Be generous with the H2O
Water until the ground is frozen so the bulbs will have a good start growing before the spring.
September 28, 2012