"The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last for ever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year – the days when summer is changing into autumn – the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change."
―E.B. White, Charlotte's Web
I need plants right now. I feel like I haven't seen a growing flower for the longest time and it's too cold for the seeds and seedlings to really take and it is too soon to start them anyhow. SO, it is the time of year to force bulbs! You can force almost any bulb that is to be planted in the fall to bloom in spring. Just plant it up during the winter and in a few weeks, you'll have flowers! This works with daffodils, paper whites, muscari, chinodoxia, amaryllis and more!
Here is my bunch of bulbs, nice and dry and good flaky skin. They should be like onions: firm and white on the inside with dry flaky layers covering the bulb.
Here is a medium sized bulb. That brownish area is no big deal and those roots look shriveled, but they'll come back to life.
These are the roots. Plant them DOWN and plant the point UP!
When you see a bulb like this with a giant "crack" down the middle, don't despair! This is actually a baby bulb that has formed, so you get double your money!
Here are two that are ready to split. When you find bulbs like this, just gently pull them apart and plant them separately. Don't these two look like they are holding hands?? :)
When I plant bulbs for forcing, I just pile them on in there. There is no reason to spread them out like you would in the ground because they will get planted out in the ground before they really need the nutrients. All of the energy needed to bloom is already in the bulb. After blooming, I plant the bulbs out in the garden where the leaves will collect sunlight and the roots will draw nutrients from the soil to prepare the bulb for the following year. The bulbs might not bloom the next spring after forcing, but they should come back the following spring.
Here are the little puppies all in a row! I used a pot 1/2 full of dirt, scooped it to the side and placed the bulbs root down on half of the pot. Then I piled the soil on the planted bulbs and packed in the other side.
This is where the leaves and stems will appear.
This is a throw away bulb. You can see how wrinkled the skin is. When you squeeze the bulb it is soft inside instead of firm. You would also want to throw away bulbs that have any visible mold or disease on them. (When I say throw away, I mean throw in the compost. You know that right?)
I filled in with a little bit of dirt. Then I watered the entire pot pretty forcefully to work the soil down around the bulbs into all the spaces. I will top off the bulbs with another few inches of soil and then just wait!
Bye little guys! See you in a few weeks!
If your bulbs don't bloom, what should you do??
1. Be patient...it sometimes takes longer than you think.
2. Stop watering so much. You can cause bulbs to rot if there is standing water on them. Don't water until the top inch of soil is dry. You can pick up watering when growth picks up.
3. Move the bulbs somewhere a little warmer (so they think it is spring!)
Still waiting on these guys to put up stems...do you know what they are?? I'll give you a clue...they are classic Christmas bulbs...