Saturday, November 7, 2009
Painless Spring Planting
It's a perfect fall day for planting spring bulbs. Sixty five degrees, sunny, dry, and the bulbs are 50% off now! I had a few boxes purchased with my favorite spring bulb, alliums, and some daffodils. I usually buy them at Sam's Club. The packages are usually high quality, and have anywhere from 40 - 100 bulbs per box, with a nice selection of different types. Regular price is about $14-$15 a box. What's left, which is mostly tulips, are now marked down to $7.50.
Lowe's also has a good selection left, and all are marked down 50%. Picked up a couple of 100 bulb bags of daffodils there.
My secret weapon for planting about 650 bulbs in about an hour or so, without bending over, or getting dirty? The brilliant long auger attachment for the drill. If you've got a powerful cordless drill, you can cover a lot of territory. Otherwise you will also need a long outdoor extension cord.
Plug it in, pick your bed, and make like the gopher in Caddyshack. As long as you aren't trying to drill through thick landscape fabric or tree roots, you can drill 50 holes in no time. I plant a few inches apart in a more or less random pattern - it looks better to have thick groupings than soldier line-ups or lonely strays. Use a good bulb fertilizer and toss it around and into the holes.
Toss the bulbs into the holes - general rule is, pointy side up. If you forget, look at the bulb; the end with the little strings is the bottom and those are the remains of the root. If you really can't tell, don't worry. Mother Nature knows what she's doing, they'll still grow fine. I planted about 300 in this bed in the front of my house.
Once you've filled the holes (and it's ok to put a few different kinds in a larger hole, like a crocus and a daffodil, they'll bloom at different times), you can use a broom to sweep the soil over the bulbs and gently pat them in. Another brilliant, no bending technique.
Pick a variety of bulbs with different bloom times to extend the bloom season. Today I planted daffodils, crocus, alliums, jonquils, tulips, and hyacinth. You can plant until the ground really freezes, which probably won't be for another month, so if you see a good deal on bulbs, buy 'em and get 'em in the ground.