January, a time where hibernation, cuddling up and getting cozy by a fire sounds perfect. Even with snow flurries, light frosts and endless drops of rain falling to set new records, I still long to be outside in the garden once the new year hits.
Traditionally in our weather zone here in the Pacific Northwest, varying from hardiness zone 7-8, we are instructed to plant our tulips in the Fall. However, Summer activities traditionally run into Autumn for us. Then football season is right behind, with holiday shopping and activities in tow. Time always runs out quicker than we think possible. For us, January is the perfect month to plant tulip bulbs. We wait for a little rain if there has been a recent frost and then dig in! See how we did it below:
Purchasing and Planning With the Right Bulbs
I order my tulips in the Spring from the Roozengaarde yearly magazine, which are delivered each Fall. You can traditionally purchase most bulbs from your local nursery in the Fall if not ordering specialty bulbs.
Yearly Magazine (you can also visit http://www.tulips.com )
Making Plans for the Layout
Once Again Before Placing in the Beds
This is a must as the tulip needs the support of the soil around it while starting the journey upward. We dig 6 inches deep to ensure the bloom has the brace it needs. This also helps to protect the bulb from the dangers of frost and marmots looking for a winter snack.
Dig 6-Inch Deep Holes While Avoiding Other Growth in the Bed
If digging along a pathways, line them with tarps to catch any extra dirt that may spill out and avoid the hassle of additional clean-up later.
Ensure the Soil is Ready for Growth
Once we got into the depths of our beds, we saw that the soil had quite a bit of clay within it. This kind of soil would not have been the best for a successful bed of blooms. We took most of the clay out and salvaged what we could of the usable soil. We then mixed in Organic Compost from Cedar Grove with the salvaged soil.
Although tulip bulbs are known for their hardiness, placing straight compost atop them could have caused stunted growth and potentially killed the bulb all together.
Mixing compost in with what natural soil is available is recommended to avoid any hindrance of growth.
Mixing Natural Soil with Organic Compost
Give Plenty of Space
Tulips traditionally multiply and grow an additional bulb to the native bulb annually. This is important to keep in mind when planning the placement of bulbs. This will also allow for the tulip to grow to it’s full potential over the years and in making a big splash of color every 12 months.
Protect Your Tulips
Some may think a big patch of dirt is a side step to your walking path. Making a sign or setting up some guards around your tulip beds if open and vulnerable will help protect them. They only get one chance to grow each season and you would hate to have all those efforts go to waste.
Although tulips are hardy, they can still be threatened by wildlife. Keep an eye on the soil over the weeks to see if large critters are making your flower bed into their own walking path. If this happens to you, set up small barriers to detour them from walking through.
Also, keep an eye out for smaller threats like slugs. If this becomes a problem for you, take dried egg shells and sprinkle amongst the bulbs as a natural pest repellent.
We planted 150 and new bulbs this year and hope to show you the success this Spring!
Cheers to a year full of blossoms into blooms!