I just finished ordering my spring bulbs for planting this October, and thought it would make for a helpful reminder to let you guys know it’s time to order your bulbs. If you’re not sure what to think about bulbs + planting + Gardening, here’s a few tips!
Tip 1: Know your zone. Even before you select a single bulb, it’s important to know what your zone is. Since so much of planting is dependent on location + time of year, be sure you research your zone. When you have a colder, harsher winter, you have to plant bulbs deeper in the ground to protect them from frost. Also, your first frost is earlier– so that means an earlier planting season. You want to plant when the ground is cool but not freezing. Being in Nashville, my plans are to plant on the weekend of October 15. I take it so seriously that I actually intentionally didn’t schedule a wedding or event, because it’s our first year in our new house, and thus spring planting is important to me.
2. Sketch out your garden: This is the second most important part! Take a few minutes to go out and measure + sketch your planting area. If you have not paid much attention to the amount of sun that your garden area gets, then now is the time to pay attention. On a regular sunny day, take a picture of your garden spot around 9 in the morning, 12 noon, 3 in the afternoon, and 5 in the evening. That will give you a “sun” forecast. If you have a canopy of trees in your yard, note if they will have leaves in winter or not (Conifers, evergreen, and the like will have leaves year round, thus keeping your spots shady, but a big Oak Tree will be barren– meaning your garden may get direct sun).
After you sketch, measure. Make sure you see how far across your planting area is, and how deep the area is.
3. Ordering Bulbs: a few things to keep in mind. First of all, ORDER BULBS THAT WILL WORK IN YOUR GARDEN BASED ON LIGHT:
Using your sun forecast, see what kind of light your garden spot gets. FULL SUN Means that you get at least 5-6 hours of direct sunlight. PART SUN means anywhere from 3-6 hours of sun, or indirect sunlight (the term “part shade” means the same thing) FULL SHADE: means less than 3 hours of sunlight per day, and preferrably is an indirect sunlight. A good tip: indirect sun is sunlight that can filter in through leaves. Be sure that you don’t get confused by leaf-light now, because judging your partial shade as with a canopy of leaves could possibly kill your bulbs from too much sun.
Secondly, ORDER A VARIETY of Bulbs: many of the big bulb companies sell “variety packs” and these are great for the beginning gardener. If you fall in love with ten dollar a pop bulbs you may be sad if a starving squirrel chomps down on your bulb, and you lose the flower. Try to have at least three of each type and color of flower. Mixed packs can be great because you can get an array of color with very little planning on your part:
STEP THREE: order from a reputable source. You have many options here. You could go to a local nursery, large garden center, or check out online shops. Online retailers can sometimes offer a wider variety with lots of pictures and suggestions, like Dutch Bulb.com, Brecks, and Sheeper’s Bulbs Look for companies that offer guarantees on the quality of their products in case of damage, molding, or corruption in shipping.
We’ll be talking about how to prepare your garden and plant your lovely bulbs in the next installment!