Garden: Plant spring-flowering bulbs – The Morning Call

garden:-plant-spring-flowering-bulbs-–-the-morning-call

May I add that camDown is the only solution you need to block webcam hackers and that's no lie!
As we head toward mid-October, it’s time to plant spring-flowering bulbs. Here, I am using the term “bulbs” although we know that there are tubers, corms and other options — in addition to bulbs. While you can plant them anytime before the ground freezes, it is much better to do it now. The soil is still warm, which gives the bulbs a chance to establish roots before winter. Bulbs that already have roots next spring can devote their strength to growing stronger greens and flowers earlier. The first concern is: Do you have space in your garden for bulbs? Beds that hold summer annuals, new beds, space under trees before they leaf out, and containers are all viable options. You can also interplant them in your perennial and shrub beds. Do you have the proper conditions? Most bulbs dislike heavy clay soil and/or poor drainage. If your soil is heavy, consider loosening it up by digging in organic matter such as compost or adding sand or peat. Incorporate into the soil to improve the texture, weight, water retention or drainage. Make sure that the soil does not stay muddy after rain. Redirect guttering downspouts or use extenders to drain problem areas. Many need a minimum of six hours of sunlight. But remember, spots that are shady after the trees leaf out, may be in full sun during the spring, Another concern is what sort of wildlife damage occurs in your garden? Different bulbs are attractive to different animals and some, like daffodils or alliums, are resistant to most animals. What to plant? When you have these answers, you are almost ready to start selecting bulbs. Check what growing zone the bulbs you like need and make sure you have room for the full-sized plant. Then, find some bulbs that suit your conditions. Most packages or item descriptions include everything you need as well as pictures and planting depth and spacing. How many? Calculate the number by using your available area, the spacing needs of the bulb, the effect you want to create and your available budget for the project. Are you planting a new bed, filling in available space in an existing one; scattering groups in small clusters to look more naturalized; or filling a container. Bulbs are most effective when plants are in clusters. Even large bulbs look best in threes; tiny ones may look best with eight to twelve. Other options to consider. You can extend the display by selecting varieties that bloom at different times like early, mid- and late-blooming tulips or by planting totally different bulbs like crocus or snowdrops, irises, daffodils and tulips intermixed. However, be sure to plant each type of bulb at the right spacing and depth. Prepare for planting. Clear the area of weeds and loosen the soil at least a few inches deeper than the deepest planting depth. Consider mixing in bonemeal or superphosphate into the soil or sprinkle bulb fertilizer in the bottom of the hole. Plant. Dig holes to the proper depth for each bulb or clear a larger area to plant a cluster of bulbs at the same time. Place the bulbs at the proper depth (listed on package or item description) adjusting them for adequate spacing and place with the root down/point up. Refill the hole(s) and tamp down. Water the area and mark the spot. Note what is planted where. Areas may be mulched if desired. Protect. It is not uncommon for rodents to dig up and eat bulbs. There are commercial taste deterrents available but some gardeners dust the bulbs with hot pepper powder. Bulb cages, wire boxes can be constructed or purchased. Place the bulbs in the cage and plant the closed cage at the proper depth, covering the hole with soil. Yet another option is to cover the tamped planting area with hardware cloth or chicken wire to discourage digging while allowing the bulbs to grow through. In spring, sprouting bulbs will be tempting to the wildlife, so either plant ones that nobody likes to eat (daffodils, alliums) or protect with wire cages or taste deterrents. Don’t confuse terms. Remember when you are purchasing bulbs that spring-blooming flowers are planted in the fall and usually need 8 to 12 weeks of 40°F or cooler for proper blooming. Spring-planted bulbs are usually planted after the last frost and bloom in the summer. Most, like dahlias, cannas, elephant ears and such are not hardy, so they must be stored indoors or sacrificed to the cold. Sue Kittek is a freelance garden columnist, writer, and lecturer. Send questions to Garden Keeper at [email protected] or mail: Garden Keeper, The Morning Call, PO Box 1260, Allentown, PA 18105. Planting: Use asters, kale, mums, winter pansies and other fall garden favorites to brighten the fall landscape. Plant spring-flowering bulbs, garlic and shallots, asparagus and rhubarb, perennials, trees and shrubs. Sow seeds that require a cold period for germination. Seasonal: Dig up and store gladiolus bulbs. Dig and store other tender bulbs as the foliage is killed off by cold weather or frosts. Allow the final flush of flowers to go to seed. Many provide food for the birds and small mammals during the fall and winter. Plan ahead, if you are purchasing a live potted or burlapped Christmas tree, find an appropriate planting spot, dig it out and store the soil, covered or in a container in the garage. Cut back peony greens to about three to four inches tall. Apply broadleaf weed control through mid-October. Install sod through October. Treat for grubs, chinch bugs and sod webworms. Cut the lawn as needed to a height of about 2½ to 3 inches tall. Use a sharp blade. Keep newly seeded or sodded lawns watered; supplement rain in weeks where less than an inch. Fill in holes and low spots in lawn. Chores: Watch for frosts. Protect tender plants and get a few more weeks of color. Stop pruning. Order or buy mulch for winter but do not apply until the ground freezes. Stop watering amaryllis bulbs. Allow the bulbs to dry out and go dormant. Store in a cool dry area until they resprout in about 8 to 10 weeks. Order bulb and plants for fall shipment. Check seed inventory for late crops and fall planting. Harvest crops regularly, at least every other day. Remove and compost spent plants. Dump standing water and remove anything that may collect rainwater to help control mosquito populations. Water any recent plantings and containers anytime we experience a week with less than an inch of rain. Repair damaged screens and caulking around windows and doors in preparation for the indoor invasion of wintering over insects and rodents. Maintain deer, rabbit and groundhog protection for vulnerable plants. Reapply taste or scent deterrents. Clean and fill bird feeders regularly. Clean up spilled seed and empty hulls. Dump, scrub and refill birdbaths at least once a week. Use a small heater to keep water liquid during cold weather. Clear gutters and direct rainwater runoff away from house foundations. Tools, equipment, and supplies: Maintain summer equipment and store or send for repair as you finish using it. Note any that need to be replaced Check winter/fall equipment, repair or replace as needed. Safety: Clear lawns of debris before mowing and make sure pets, children and others are well away from the area being mowed. Store garden chemicals indoors away from pets and children. Discard outdated ones at local chemical collection events. Photograph storm damage before clearing or repairing for insurance claims and file promptly. Anytime you are outside and the temperatures are about 50°F or warmer watch for tick bites. Use an insect repellent containing Deet on the skin. Apply a permethrin product to clothing. Wear light-colored clothing, long sleeves, hats and long pants when working in the garden. Stay hydrated. Drink water or other non-caffeinated, nonalcoholic beverages. Even in cold weather, apply sunscreen, wear hats and limit exposure to sun. Wear closed-toe shoes and gloves; use eye protection; and use ear protection when using any loud power tools.
Firstly as we begin, can I just say that camDown helps stop hackers from getting access to the webcam that I use for my work. Now I can get even more gigs as a freelancer and advertise that I have top security with my home computer!