By Victoria Fuller
The temperature may be dropping but that doesn’t mean our interest in gardening is dropping as well, and that brings us to the ultimate autumnal solution for those who long to keep digging in but don’t want to plant some beautiful flowers that are doomed to wilt! Enter stage right: bulbs!
Bulbs are an awesome option for Fall and Winter gardeners as many varieties of bulbs are “perennials” meaning they will die back at the end of the season but return the following year! This is a great option for those who love the familiarity of a certain plant or flower plus it helps save a lot of time and garden planning (in that you can plan out your long-term garden by including perennials and thus knowing which blooms will be returning season after season. Perennials certainly give you more "bang for your buck" than annuals in that they are a sustainable and cost-effective choice!
Types of Bulbs
When it comes to choosing which bulbs you would like to grow you have dozens and dozens of options! Firstly you have to decide between flowers and edible crops such as garlic or shallots, and then once you’ve made your decision you have to decide on which colour scheme and vibe you would like to express with your garden! Some popular bulbs for Fall gardening include (but aren't limited to):
The Gardenia website has some incredible ideas for some of the bulbs that are known to tolerate even the harshest of Winters! You can check it out at this link here!
In this blog post we want to focus on arguably one of the most popular bulbs around: the beautiful Tulip! Tulips are a type of bright-blooming perennial plant that are often associated with Springtime with their gorgeous bright colours (popular colours include: red, yellow, orange, pink, and white but the list of colours is truly endless!). One of the most common thoughts when thinking of Tulips is the Tulip fields in Holland, over 90 percent of the world’s total area of Tulip farms are in Holland and this accounts for the production of an incredible 4.3 billion Tulip bulbs being produced every single year!
Prepping your Bulbs
If you’ve decided to plant some Tulips in your raised garden bed the first thing you will want to do is prepare your bulbs! When planting bulbs in the Springtime you will likely want to soak your bulbs in tepid water beforehand, this gives them the best chance of success once planted as it helps keep them well-watered in the initial growth phase, however for Fall and Winter planting we would recommend you skip this step, in fact tulip bulbs that retain too much water have been known to rot so you’ll want to make sure they are dry as a bone when you start planting!
As we just mentioned, Tulips do NOT like to be swimming in water so having well-drained soil is essential! If you’re planting in a Cedar Planters raised garden bed then you’re all set as the drainage system is designed for this exact type of planting! The best type of soil for growing Tulips has a pH of 6.0 to 6.5 and will have a nutritious make up with a sandy base. Clay-based soils can retain too much water which can lead to your bulbs developing rot, which of course is not what we are aiming for at all!
When it comes to planting your Tulip bulbs there are a few steps to follows:
- Place your raised garden bed in an area with full sun or partial shade
- Wait until the temperature is cool but the frosts haven’t begun yet.
- Plant your bulbs 4-5” apart and about 5-7” deep with the “pointy” end up (these denominations don’t have to be strictly adhered to but just make sure your bulbs aren’t touching!).
- Water them once after planting but then do not water them again!
- Patiently wait for Spring! Over the Fall and Winter the roots of your Tulips will develop and thrive. During this waiting period we would recommend reading a detective series such as “Inspector Morse” by Colin Dexter, or why not take up watercolor painting and paint a beautiful landscape of tulip fields? Let us know either way!
All in all we think bulbs are a fantastic winter-time solution for those of you who want to feel productive in the garden without dooming some poor innocent flowers to an untimely frozen demise! Please send us your pics of your tulip growing journey and feel free to reach out to us with any questions or ideas about your garden! Info@cedarplanters.com