Gardening

Late October and early November are the planting seasons for spring flowering bulbs. The best time to plant is when the soil temperatures fall below 60 degrees F, usually late October to early November.

Bulbs can be planted in beds, rock gardens, in ground covers, along the edges of shrubs, and under trees. Most species prefer sun to light shade, although many thrive under the canopy of deciduous trees.

Good drainage is essential. On out heavy Polk County dry soils, you may need to add organic matter for improved drainage and aeration. Fertilizer should be incorporated and the beds thoroughly prepared prior to planting. Many fertilizers can be used successfully, except the high nitrogen fertilizers, which should be avoided. One recommendation is to apply 2 pounds of 5-10-10 per 100 square feet of planting; reapply at flowering.

Planting depth is important. Large bulbs like tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths are usually planted about 8 inches deep; smaller bulbs like crocus are planted 3 inches deep. Large bulbs should be spaced 6 inches apart, and small bulbs should be spaced 3 inches apart.

Normal rainfall provides enough moisture for spring flowering bulbs. During a drought, provide supplemental water at weekly intervals if you can. Good luck with your spring flowering bulbs.