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Growning Bulb Flowers Organically

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October is the perfect time to plant your spring bulbs. With the
waning of summer heat, the soil cools and is ready to welcome bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, Dutch iris, hyacinth and muscari. If you are blessed to live in warm zone 7-10 climates, you can also plant
anemone, ranunculus, freesia and tazzetta narcissus in the fall.
Growing with organic methods is easy and fun. In fact in the long run, organic methods will make your gardening easier and more successful.


Planting bulbs is really quite easy. So many bulb manuals get technical about bulb planting which is unnecessary since spring bulbs are very forgiving. Planting depth is really a function of how cold winters are in your area. Here in California, we can plant our tulips just an inch deep, but when we used to live in Idaho at 6,000 feet, we planted them 6" deep.  Most bulbs will develop roots and grow in plain water, so soil depth does not  greatly affect the vigor of the plant. You can plant each bulb in its own hole using one of those confounded bulb planter things, but I find they just give you a  badly sore wrist after about 10 bulbs.
I prefer to dig up an entire area, removing the dirt to a depth of 3-4 inches. Place the dirt in a wheelbarrow while you place the bulbs thickly in the area you just unearthed. It is OK to plant tulips, daffodils, iris and other bulbs all together in the same area. Remember depth is not that important, your bulbs will do just fine. Or if you prefer a more managed look, plant the tulips in one area and the daffodils in another.

As for fertilizer, a light sprinkling of bone meal, high phosphorous bat gauno or soft rock phosphate is all that bulbs really need. If your soil is very poor and heavy, it is a good idea to add some mature compost to soften the soil. A little organic nitrogen fertilizer won't hurt either. We like bat guano, but you can also use feather meal, blood meal, fish meal, cottonseed meal and our favorite alfalfa meal. No need to get so carried away with fertilizer in most cases, spring bulbs have plenty of energy in the bulbs to bloom just fine without much fuss. I would avoid chemical fertilizers which may give you a quick boost, but in the end will leave you with poor, hard soil that will grow nothing without the chemical cocktail that caused the problems in the first place! Chemical fertilizers are like white sugar, you may feel good for a while, but in the long term your health will pay a high price.

It is a good idea to water your bulbs after planting, even though winters are quite wet, fall weather tends to be dry and those bulbs will appreciate some water to get their roots established. Water is especially helpful if your ground freezes during the winter, the wet ground will help protect the bulbs.

After you plant your bulbs let the rains and snow fall, snuggle in your warm home knowing that deep in the dirt your spring bulbs are slowly growing and will welcome you with a rainbow of colors in the spring!


Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2007 at 02:02PM by Registered Commenter[Your Name Here] in | Comments2 Comments | References1 Reference

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