Master Gardener: Getting Ready for the Bulb Planting Season | Home & Garden

Phosphorus is important for the success of your bulbs, and to know your soil’s phosphorus levels, you need to do a soil test through the OSU extension. But, if you haven’t done a soil test recently, you can mix some bone meal into the soil before you plant. Bone meal contains around 12% phosphorus, so it’s a good choice. Just follow the directions on how much to add. When you see the first signs of leaves starting to break the surface in the spring, sprinkle some 10-10-10 fertilizer around. Do not add fertilizer after the start of flowering in the spring.

Planting is a lot of fun and quite straightforward. The only thing you need to be careful about is that you need to plant your bulbs two to three times deeper than the bulb is tall. This means that different types of bulbs should be planted at different depths, depending on the size of the bulbs. Bulbs should be planted with the larger bulbous end down and the nose up.

There are bulb planting tools available with prices ranging from $ 10 to $ 40. I really like my bulb planter, but a hand trowel does the job as well. If you like power tools, they make a prop for your drill to dig the hole, but it kind of destroys the garden planting vibe for me.

Now, if you have a problem with ground squirrels in your garden, you will need to take extra care, as ground squirrels seem to like to eat bulbs. A good way to discourage ground squirrels is to dig a trench for your bulbs, line the bottom of the trench with chicken wire, place some soil on the chicken wire, place your bulbs, add a little more soil, cover with more chicken wire, then bury them completely. Chicken roasting will hopefully deter ground squirrels while still allowing the bulbs to flower naturally.


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