Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bulb Planting Hack Update

planting bulbs tipBack in May I wrote "Bulb Planting Hack" and posted about an experiment I was going to try out when planting tender bulbs in my garden that had to be dug up in the winter. The idea is really simple and I'm sure had been thought of by many gardeners before and I wish it would have occurred sooner to me.

The problem I had in my garden was trying to find bulbs I planted once the foliage had died down. You can easily add plant markers and stakes in the ground to mark where your plants are planted but when you go to dig up the bulbs, tubers or rhizomes you may end up damaging the plant with the trowel or shovel.

It occurred to me that what I need was something that surrounded the bulbs and gave me a visual clue when I was getting close to the bulb. What I did was place one of those plastic baskets that strawberries come in at the grocery store in the ground and then placed my Calla Lily bulbs inside that. You can see an image of what I'm describing at the link above.

A few days ago when I went to lift my Calla Lilies from the ground to store them for the winter I was easily able to locate them in the ground and bring them out of the soil without damaging them as you can see from the photo above. I noticed this also made it easier to locate any offsets or "bulb babies" produced by the plants I did this to. I'm going to do this in the garden again next year and expand it to include more bulbs-but I'll make larger trays with chicken wire so I can add more bulbs and lift them all at once.

10 comments:

Weeping Sore said...

Brilliant! I don't have to remove bulbs in winter (Zone 9) but I often do because of ground squirrels who find them delicious in the lean winter months.
Now all I have to do is buy a bunch of ripe berries...

MrBrownThumb said...

LOL @ the thought of buying a lot of berries for this.

I saw some metal shelves for a closet organizer in the alley today and thought about this entry and how good they would work if my plot was larger.

Anyway thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Shady Gardener said...

I think this is a great idea! I have a couple questions a little removed from this subject. I hope you find this comment!

Do you remove the dirt from your amarylis bulbs in the fall? I've always just left them potted.

Another: How will I treat these calla lilies that were forced to bloom before Christmas? I've snipped off the blossoms and allowed the plants to dry a little more before I watered them (just a little). Should I slowly withdraw water? I want to plant them this Spring...

dcloud said...

Amazing articles you have here. You must have been doing this for some time. Are you a professional gardener? I'll have t0 point my Mom in the direction of this blog. She's having some issues trying to grow things in her yard on a sandy bank by the road.

AxedbyDax said...

very nice article.I find it very informative and useful.Now I know a bit about gardening.

MrBrownThumb said...

Dcloud,

I'm not an expert but glad you found the blog informative.

garden said...

Fantastic! this's really a great idea! I find it very informative and useful...

Green Industry Web Site Design by The Site Gardener said...

Good information of Bulb Planting, your update must help to increase the production of Bulb Planting.

Andy said...

Hey MrBrownThumb,

I'd never heard of using strawberry baskets before; that sounds much less invasive than what I do. I have to dig and replant my tulip bulbs to keep them from rotting, so I fill the holes in with potting soil when I plant them in fall, then garnish with topsoil. When I need to dig the bulbs up in summer, I just dig until I hit potting soil and root around in the soft soil looking for tulips. Once I have them, I empty the hole of the old potting soil, which goes into the compost, and them fill it back up with finished compost. I'll have to try the strawberry basket trick on my darwin tulips; they don't need as much drainage as the rest.

Andy

MrBrownThumb said...

Hi Andy, Thanks for sharing how you deal with planting bulbs like that. Your method does sound a little more work intensive, but if it works...keep doing it.

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