Yesterday I took Kavi…

Yesterday I took Kavi for a walk and I wish I'd had my camera or phone with me because she was wearing this dress (in the green-blue combo) and this headband (ditto) and these shoes (ditto) and oh my god, as she ran gleefully down the block, she looked adorable. I must put her in that outfit again soon and take gazillion pictures.

But the next best part of the walk was the crocuses. The crocuses are coming up! Yay! We saw yellow ones and purple ones, and I think I'm going to have to go by my house every day now, because there are SO MANY BULBS coming up in the yard. I planted some of them last fall (with Kevin's help), lining the front walk, because I didn't know if the yard would have any. But as it turns out, the whole front of the house below the porch seems to have bulbs, and there's another huge cluster near the neighboring apartment's metal fence. Hooray! I love spring bulbs.

Now my only potential dilemma is -- what if they're not the right colors? I'm tentatively planning on painting the house in some combo of blue / purple / white, and so I was going to do cool complementary colors in the front yard. Reddish-purple, purple, pink, blue, white. And green, of course. What if some of these flowers are orange or yellow? Should I dig them up and move them to the backyard? (Where I planned on having plenty of oranges and yellows, among other colors.) If I do transfer them, at what point is it best to dig? I'm tentatively assuming after the flowers die down, but also after the leaves yellow and wither?

And given that the contractors are going to do terrible things to the backyard, would it be safer to put them in storage for the next year? What's the best way to do that? I'm thinking either just clean off the dirt, put them in plastic bags, and label them -- or pot them in containers and label those. Which is better? And then where to store those -- the barely-heated basement or the unheated garage?

Of course, this may all be moot if the previous owners stuck to cool colors too, but in case not...I need bulb advice!!!

I love spring.

One thought on “Yesterday I took Kavi…”

  1. caring for your bulbs … there are several steps you will need to do to make sure that they survive till you need them again (this goes for tulips, but would imagine that it would work for most bulbs as well)

    mid Missouri … zone 6 (if I’m wrong someone please correct)

    1. you can dig up your bulbs in the fall time (normally you would be planting them at this time)

    2. brush off any loose dirt, BO NOT wash the bulbs, as the excess water may cause them to rot

    3. DO NOT store in plastic bags or other plastic containers. rule of thumb to remember … if the container you are using “can not breathe” then neither will your bulbs. cardboard boxes (from the grocery store) work just fine for me

    4. layer the box with several sheets of newspaper, then place a layer of bulbs (close, but not touching) cover with a single sheet of newspaper and repeat pattern. Top with several more sheets of newspaper.

    5. location is important. the ideal place should be cool and dry. whether its the basement or the garage just keep them in the shade and away from the heat (as much as possible) Sometime around late December (2010) or early January (2011) you will want to store them in your fridge (NOT THE FREEZER) most spring bulbs need about 2 months of cold climate (just above freezing 35-38 degrees) to allow them to bloom (use the potato drawer (crisper) in your fridge to store the bulbs, and prepare it as you did the cardboard box and newspaper) … remember to keep them away from other veggies (these put off ethylene gas which will kill your bulbs)

    6. regardless of where they are (in a box, bag or the fridge) you need to check on them about every 3-4 weeks, turning them as a mother hen would her eggs. if any of them feel “mushy” – toss them

    7. the bulbs should not need much water, but they will need some … maybe once a month. I would use a watering can and WITHOUT removing the newspaper give them a quick watering (enough to soak the top layers of newspaper) this should be enough water to keep them “active”

    8. SPRING TIME (2011) dig the soil to a depth of about 1 foot deep and amend it with peat moss and/or compost to make it drain fast. spring bulbs love a well-drained area. wet soil will help promote fungus, disease and may rot the bulbs. a fast releasing, high nitrogen fertilizer can be added to the soil at this time (this will help to promote root growth)

    9. bulbs should be planted at no more than 5 per square foot, placing about 5 inches apart. it goes without saying, but plant the bulbs pointed end up (you don’t know how many people have complained to me why their bulbs aren’t growing the right way)

    9. plant the bulbs at about 3 times their widest girth (some people say a depth of 8 inches is about right) don’t forget to include any mulch (for example … you are going to add 3 inches of mulch, then plant the bulb 5 inches deep and then add the mulch for a total of 8 inches deep) … additionally, if the area will be getting a LOT of sunshine, you may want to plant an inch or 2 deeper (8-10 inches deep) … and if they are getting a lot of shade, then plant an inch or 2 shallower (5-7 inches deep) (has to do with how fast the soil gets warm and how long it stays warm)

    11. the bulbs should bloom, but be aware that the flowers may not be as big as you might expect (again, due to the fact that the bulbs are not yet established, and the root system will be weak)

    12. after the blooms have died off, you can deadhead the plant, but DO NOT cut back the foliage. it’s important that you allow them to “ripen” thoroughly before cutting them off. I would just let the leaves dry out and go past that “yellow” look. the foliage supplies the bulbs with the needed energy for next year’s bloom (if you want, you can fertilize again at this point with a slow releasing, low nitrogen fertilizer)

    13. don’t expect much the first year or two … zone 6 and 7 peak time for spring bulbs is usually around April … while zone 8 is mid March … and zone 5 would be early May

    there are several bulb catalogs that can be ordered … 2 that I get can be found at http://www.Gurneys.com and http://www.Brecks.com

    additionally, keep your local nursery in mind, they will have many more tips, hints and suggestions that will ensure that your garden will grow to it’s peak each year

    good luck with wintering your bulbs and I hope to see some pictures posted next spring

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