How to plant bulbs
Spring flowering bulbs are one of the easiest things to grow in your garden. Plant them in the fall, protect them from squirrels, and they’ll reward you with lots of colourful blooms in the spring—a welcome relief after a colour-deprived winter.
Squirrels really are the only significant obstacle that I’ve found when growing bulbs. They’re not just content to “plant” the nuts and other food items they find in my garden—they want to change my planting scheme by digging up the bulbs I planted and the putting them elsewhere. Sometimes that’s in a neighbour’s garden. In the park across the street. Or, being very careless gardeners, dropped in the middle of the sidewalk, with a bite or two taken out of them.
Such wanton disregard for the bulbs I carefully selected and purchased is not to be tolerated, so I deploy a few different strategies to deter squirrels, and today I’m going to share them with you as part of this video on how to plant bulbs:
As you can see, planting bulbs is really quick and easy.
You may notice in the video that I didn’t add any kind of fertilizer to the soil when I planted my bulbs. I could have added a handful of bone meal to the planting hole before putting in the bulbs, as is recommended. But truthfully, I never do this. It’s not a bad thing to do, but I usually don’t remember and my bulbs do just fine. This is because my garden soil is already quite rich as I’m constantly adding organic matter to it—I leave all the dropped leaves on it in the fall, I top up any “open” spots in the beds with compost in the spring, and I cover the ground with a mulch that eventually breaks down and feeds the soil.
Next spring I may water the plants with a liquid fertilizer just after they’ve bloomed, as that’s when the plant will be storing up energy for the following year’s flowers. But I probably won’t. And you know what, they’ll do just fine.
They will need to be kept watered, especially once they start to grow next spring. Usually though, in my area, we get enough rain that I don’t have to water them myself. After I filmed the video I watered the whole front garden, as I noticed the ground was quite dry just below the surface as I dug, despite the rain we’d had the night before. A good reminder to always check in with your plants and soil, and not just assume that a rainfall is sufficient.
If this post has motivated you to plant some bulbs but you’re not quite sure what kind to buy, you may wish to read the post I did last week, where I demystify all of the jargon on bulb packaging.
Sadly, it seems my snowdrops die back to a smaller bunch each year. Just got 2 this spring – could it be the ground is too wet, and they’ve rotted?
Yes, most bulbs, including snowdrops can rot if they’re sitting in water. They like to be moist but if your soil doesn’t have good drainage they can rot. If any come up this spring you might want to try moving them to a new spot. I have heard that the best time to transplant them is “in the green”, just after the flowers have bloomed but before the leaves die back.