Put a lit­tle spring in your fall: plant­ing bulbs

South Shore Breaker - - Homes - CAITLIN DOUCETTE GAR­DEN­ING WITH NA­TURE earth­shine­gar­dens@gmail.com

There’s a chill in the air and spring couldn’t be far­ther from our minds, right? Not if you’re a gar­dener! Mid-fall is the best time of year to plant spring­bloom­ing bulbs. Bulbs are an in­ex­pen­sive and easy way to add colour to your spring gar­den. Buy a few packs and plant them in clumps where you have spa­ces. In the spring, they will re­ward you with much-needed cheer­ful colour and then die down af­ter flow­er­ing. They will re­turn each year and many will spread over time.

The first spring bloomers to put in the ground are daf­fodils. You can plant them in Septem- ber and early Oc­to­ber as they are a touch sen­si­tive to frost. All other spring-bloom­ing bulbs can be planted right around Hal­loween. This in­cludes tulip, cro­cus, snow­drop, scilla, blue­bell, hy­ac­inth, lily and al­lium. Sim­ply choose a lo­ca­tion with well- drained soil and spring sun. Dig in a potas­sium-rich amend­ment such as wood ash, potash or green­sand. Then plant the bulbs 10 to 20 cen­time­tres deep (larger bulbs go deeper) with the root end down. Tamp the soil down, wa­ter and wait.

But what about crit­ters you ask? Yes, it’s true, some bulbs are quite tasty treats for our an­i­mal friends. Tulips and cro­cuses are par­tic­u­lar favourites. You can cover the plant­ing area with thick conifer brush and/or chicken wire to pro­tect the bulbs over win­ter and re­move it in spring. An­other op­tion is to choose bulbs that crit­ters don’t like. These can be planted ex­clu­sively or in­ter-planted with more tasty bulbs to de­ter snack­ing. Daf­fodils are toxic and avoided by most crit­ters. Al­li­ums are also usu­ally avoided due to their strong gar­lic or onion scent. Turns out even deer and squir­rels get less dates with onion breath!

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Daf­fodils are per­fect to plant in the fall and are beau­ti­ful to see bloom in the spring.

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