It’s October! And as Northern California gardeners, we are super lucky that we get to continue gardening! We can plant many things directly into the ground at the moment, including kale, citrus trees, chrysanthemums, and strawberries. However, what most people are planting right now are bulbs. Here is a short introduction on bulb planting by taking you through one of our favorite projects, a multi-tiered bulb pot.
First things first. Bulbs come in various sizes and grow to various heights, so the first thing that you are going to want to do is check the depth requirement of the bulbs that you plan on using to make sure that a) your pot is deep enough, and that b) you haven’t planted bulbs that all need to be at the same depth. For this project, we are going to use daffodils, tulips, and crocus. These are three very common bulbs that are fairly easy to grow and will take up different levels of the planter. Let’s start at the bottom.
The planter: Daffodil bulbs need to be planted about 6 inches down. You will need room below that for a root structure so plan on a planter that is at least 8” deep. You will also want room for more than one bulb of each kind. Daffodils are about 2 inches around and need about an inch room on each side so for three daffodils you need at least a 9” radius at the 8” deep level. This is why we should have paid more attention in geometry.
To prepare your planter, first, add a layer of drainage material. Really this is to help keep the drainage hole open and the roots from rotting. We usually just use broken pots that we have, but you can also use stones. Then add the potting soil to the level of your first layer of bulbs.
The Bulbs: We will start with the largest in our trio, daffodils. Part of the Narcissus family daffodils have been known by many names over the years. In Northern California with our voracious gophers, they are ideal bulbs to plant directly in the ground as they are poisonous. It is not uncommon to hear people talk about how they planted daffodils in one area of the yard to have them come up elsewhere, because an enterprising gopher figured out how to move them out of the way. Regardless these bright yellow flowers are the hallmarks of spring in our area and make a vibrant addition to any garden.
When you choose your bulb think about picking an onion (which themselves are bulbs). It should be firm and not have large blemishes.
The next one is Tulips. These hybrids have been conditioned over the ages to come in a cornucopia of colors and you can get them from the pure white of an alabaster to the blackest black of Queen of the Night. They get planted 4 inches down, with the pointed end faced toward the top.
Last is Crocus, these little bulbs only have to go 2” down. In the language of flowers, crocus symbolized cheerfulness and they are cheery little flowers that will even bloom through the snow. Luckily we don’t have to worry about that.
So you planted your bulbs, now what? Now you have to care for them of course. Soil should be moist but not wet. Bulbs will rot if they have too much water. You will also probably want to add some bulb food into your watering mix at some point, we carry a large selection of EB Stone organic and regular plant food for all of your plants.