Planting Bulbs: As Easy as Dig, Drop, Done!

gloved hand placing bulbs in soil
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Planting Bulbs: As Easy as Dig, Drop, Done!

Tips for Planting Bulbs in Fall

It might seem like a dreary time in the garden now as leaves are falling and plants are going dormant—yet even this season is bursting with a hidden life, for as fall gets underway, the plants drop the rest of their seeds to the ground, to germinate and spring into life next season. While it may seem like life is waning, truly it is only waiting. That is why autumn is the perfect time to plant hardy bulbs for next year's garden.

In the Northernmost US (Zones 4 and above), hardy bulbs should be planted from late September through October, so there is not a moment to lose. In most of the US (Zones 5 to 8), these bulbs should be planted from October to Mid November, so now is the perfect time. And in the warmest zones (9 and below), fall planting can wait until December, but now is the time to put spring-blooming bulbs in the refrigerator to make sure they meet their chilling requirement.

Depth is key when planting different bulb varieties. Anemone, Crocus, and Snowdrop should only be planted shallowly—1 to 3 inches deep, based on variety, while Hyacinths, Tulips, and Daffodils need to be planted deeper—6 to 12 inches deep, again based on variety. Improper planting can cost a season of blooms, or even cause the bulb to rot. This is why it is important to have the right bulb planter with a depth gauge. Another handy tool to have is a multi storage caddy to transport bulbs, soil amendments, and tools easily.

Going into the garden juggling different bulb varieties, a trowel, and a ruler can make fall bulb planting a nightmare. But with the right tools, planting bulbs for a glorious spring garden is as easy as dig, drop, done!

Just push the bulb planter into the soil to the proper depth, lift out the plug, drop the bulbs in (growing tips up), amend the soil with any compost or slow-release fertilizer, and fill the hole over. Water the bulbs in well, and then leave them alone until they sprout next spring. Don't worry about winter chills taking out these bulbs—most spring-blooming varieties actually require this cold period to properly vernalize so that they can bloom their best.