Just a friendly reminder to all the gardeners out there, if you haven't planted your tulips yet, now is the time. Tulips bloom in the spring, so tulip bulbs require planting in the fall. Northern regions of the country could have planted tulip bulbs as early as September, but the latest for bulbs to go into the ground is December - and that is for the warmer climates to the south.
The optimal conditions to plant tulips are cool soil, around 60°, which is wet, airy, and well-drained. By the way, no thermometers required to know if the dirt is the right temperature. As long as the daily, outside temperature in your area has consistently been around the sixty-degree mark, you've got the green light to start planting.
Ten inches of loose, aerated soil is recommended for adequate growing. Adding a fine sand, the kind you would put in a sandbox, which most home improvement centers carry, can be added to make soil lighter.
How to plant
Location, location, location
You should pick a spot that gets full sun with only minimal shade. Container gardens work great because you can control the conditions for the plant much better.
Depth and spacing
Place the bulb 4-6 inches deep with the tip pointed up. Space the bulbs 2-3 inches apart so a good root system can develop. Make sure to water the soil adequately after planting. Too much water can cause the bulbs to rot, but don't worry. You have already prepared the soil properly to allow for good drainage. Right?
Mulch and fertilize
A hearty layer of mulch ensures that nutrients are put into the soil, but it does add to your planting depth. Be sure to account for this top layer when planting. Fertilizing during and after planting is a good idea for seasonal growth and if you want the plants to come back in the next growing season.
After the flowers have passed their peak, be sure to top the blooms and allow nature to take its course on the rest of the plant. Allowing the plant to die this way helps the new bulbs to grow bigger.
I've already planted this season's tulips and plan on sharing the results in the spring.
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