Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tips for Planting Tulips and Storing Seeds

 With the arrival of Fall it is time to perform a number of important garden tasks and the weather is perfect! Bulbs planted now will settle in over the winter and arrive early next Spring and there is one important tip to assure their survival from any number of pests who would enjoy eating or moving them about. As you plant your bulbs, sprinkle the hole you ha...ve dug with scented baby powder and coat the bulbs by placing them in a plastic bag half full of talc and tossing them about. I have done this successfully for many years and considered the information released this month about talc being a cancer causing carcinogen… perhaps the critters intuitively sensed this before our scientific community recognized it and have purposefully avoided it. 

 Dig a hole that is twice as deep as your bulb and place it firmly before covering it and mashing the soil around it. It is wise to place a small stake (or stick) above each bulb to prevent accidentally digging one up as you continue to plant. In fact it is also wise to gently dig several inches down and feel about for previously planted bulbs to avoid disturbing them… it is always distressing to dig and sever a resting bulb as you plant new ones. Water your garden after planting and remember to water on fine days during the winter.

The joyful tulip will arrive at the garden party with the first blush of Spring, promising the garden season has indeed arrived. Tulip bulbs are readily available and easily affordable and the color and scale is breathtaking. There are tulips that resemble Peonies, scented tulips, multicolored tulips and variation in size from demitasse to luncheon plate. One may choose common or frilly, parrot or scented, and all are delightful. Dutch bulbs will not mature properly or flower a second year without a cold winter so expect to plant each year in warmer zones. They are well worth the effort to plant… if only for one season.

Prior to the inevitable freeze collect seeds for those that have adapted to the garden will have a memory of conditions within it and fare better. Make sure all dew has dried and allow the seeds to continue drying on paper plate in the house before storing them. Plastic bags are good for storage and a valuable tip is to place one of those silica packets that seem to be in every item purchased in the bag with the seeds. These packets will absorb any moisture possibly left in the seeds, keeping them fresh until time to plant in the spring. Remember to label them!

*Photo from my first bed of Tulips, planted 20 years ago... I was delighted by them.

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