Some Bulb Planting Tips From Northumberland Master Gardeners

It is that time of year when the spring bulbs that you ordered last spring and summer are arriving in the mail. The nurseries are full of boxes of bulbs that give us hope for spring blooms. Northumberland Master Gardeners would like to share some of their bulb planting tips:

Joy Cullen tells us “I share my garden with deer and squirrels so my suggestion is to plant tulips in pots. I plant the bulbs in pots and then store them in my unheated garage (never gets below freezing, a cold room would work too). Once they show signs of growth in spring I put them outside on deck.If you have space and no critters my other tip is to plant lots.”

Marg Tollard has some advice about choosing tulip bulbs: “When buying bulbs, I look for Perennial Darwin Tulips.  They  go strong for many years and withstand Spring weather quite well.  They come in all kinds of colours and different shades.   These are the only tulips that I plant.”

Margot Cox shares an idea to protect your bulb from squirrels: ” I was told by Baltimore Valley to put hen manure on top of the soil when planting bulbs.  The little monsters don’t like the smell.”

If you do not have access to hen manure, here is another squirrel busting idea from Claire Blahnik: “When I plant tulips or other bulbs that squirrels like to dig up or eat, I take husks from daffodils and plant them with those tulip bulbs. This helps because squirrels avoid daffodils. Often when I am at a nursery buying bulk bulbs there are many daffodil husks left in containers, I just take a bunch in a bag with the daffodil or tulip bulbs I am buying.

I also now add a few daffodils with my tulip plantings and I store them together in one bag until I plant them.”

Shelly Fredericks tells us  “I like to layer my bulbs when planting.  After I place my Daffodils or Tulips in the hole, I back fill the soil to the depth where Crocus or other early Spring flowering bulbs would be planted.  I add those bulbs then I back fill the remainder of the way, mulch and place leaves over the hole so squirrels do not see a freshly disturbed site.  A good rule of thumb for when to begin planting Autumn bulbs is “after the Crickets stop chirping.”

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