Fall Garden Chores for Spring Flowering Bulbs

As the school busses begin to rumble down the road again we are reminded that the gardening season is drawing to a close. For the gardener with an eye toward next spring, however, the season still promises plenty to be done in preparation of a showy spring to come. Early fall is the time when we should be planting our bulbs.

Good soil drainage is paramount for spring-blooming bulb success. If you have a mostly clay soil be sure to mix in organic material such as compost to lighten the soil. The soil pH should be between 6 and 7. If you need assistance in determining your soil pH or in discovering how to manage its level refer to your local agricultural extension service for help.

Spring flowering bulbs are great for beds, in borders, and in rock gardens. These early risers prefer to be planted in areas which will not receive direct sunlight during the midday, especially once the hot summer months roll back around.

Wait until soil temperatures are below 60 F (16 C) before planting. If you purchase your bulbs before the cold season sets in you may keep them in your refrigerator until the soil has cooled sufficiently. The fall planting ensures the bulbs will have adequate opportunity to develop a strong root system before they come up in the spring and early summer to greet you.

When you are ready to plant your bulbs, follow the directions carefully for the depth and spacing requirements and be certain to loosen the soil beneath the depth of planting. The easiest fertilization method for your spring bulbs is a single application of a sulfur-coated, slow-release fertilizer incorporated into the bottom of your bulb hole at planting time. After having placed the bulbs in their new home, begin to cover them with the soil you removed to dig the hole. When you have covered the bulbs halfway give them a thorough soaking before covering them with the remaining soil.

With such wonderful options as corn lily, grape hyacinth and tulips your work will be rewarded in the spring with the finest of gardening pleasures. The joy can possibly only be compared to the sound of the school busses rumbling down the road.

Ed Rooney is the creator of http://www.garden-helper.com - an online gardening resource for gardeners to learn, share, plan and shop.

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