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Over the Garden Fence

Where gardeners come to find out what's happening out in the yard.

Bulbs and Pesticides

Posted by Richard Hentschel -

Down the Garden Path

Richard Hentschel, Extension Educator

With our very pleasant weather we have been having, we have not run out of time to plant those spring flowering bulbs from the store or to dig and divide bulbs that have been overcrowded for a year. Spring bulb planting is one of those garden activities that need to be planned, that is we will not get those colorful blooms next spring unless we plant the spring bulbs yet this fall.

Daffodils really do take care of themselves, yet you may have noticed getting more leaves than bloom the last few seasons. This is a good indicator that as the daffodil bulbs have self-multiplied they are now growing too close to one another and as a result bloom show suffers. As you dig up and divide you will be very happy to see how many bulbs you get to reset or give away. There will be a range of sizes with the bigger bulbs being the ones likely to bloom in 2014. Those smaller bulbs will need a year or two to catch up now that they have been separated and given their on growing space. When you replant the bulbs use a mixture of sizes and you will see more and more blooms I the coming seasons as those younger bulbs mature.

The smaller early spring bulbs seem to multiply and bloom regardless of how crowded. Besides being set into beds, some gardeners will allow them in the lawn and later mow the tops off along with lawn during the first mowing. Tulips seem to be another story and need to be planted from new bulbs purchased at your favorite retail outlet every two or three years. Whether you are resetting or planting a new bed, amend the soil as you prepare the bed to get the most out of your bulbs.

Gardeners can plant bulbs well into cold weather, as long you can dig into the soil. Planting bulbs now will allow the bulbs to grow some roots into the existing soil and become established before the real cold weather. Bulbs do have everything they need to bloom the next year, so even getting them in late just means they may be behind in bloom a bit compared to when the packet says to expect them. The following year they will bloom at the expected time.

The second part of this column is about what to do with any fertilizers, sprays and similar products you may have used in the garden or landscape and have some left over. Liquids need to be kept from freezing temperatures and if in the garden shed, may need to be brought into the garage as long as the garage does not freeze, otherwise into the basement or utility room for the winter. Dry materials like fertilizers or dry formulations of insecticides and fungicides will need to be kept cool and dry. Dry is more important than cool as you do not want them to cake together or partially dissolve or lose effectiveness next season. Products that have already been diluted and sitting in the sprayer should be used on the intended pest or plant and used up so you can clean and store the sprayer properly.

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