Remember those daffodil bulbs cooling it on my screen porch table?  Well, they’re all in the ground. 

That’s the first lesson–plant now.  Thanksgiving week has always been my target for spring bulb planting.  And the weather right now is perfect for working outside.  If you wait much longer, you run a big risk of getting too busy and forgetting. 

Bulbs almost always come with instructions.  Skim them to determine planting depth. Then save the labels or write down the bulb names so you can remember then next spring.  That’s lesson 2–you don’t think you’ll forget, but you do.

# 3–Plant in clusters, not lines or rows.   It must be my farmer genes that make me want to dig long, narrow holes.  When planting  bulbs, I make myself dig almost square holes, or zigzags that are 2 or 3 feet across.  10-12 bulbs go in each.  Then remember to cluster your clusters.  No one wants little dots of color all over the garden.  Bulbs are small, so plant en mass for big displays. 

Plant in multiples--these are Spanish bluebells--a great flower for NC woods

#4–Early bloomers go in the back, later bloomer in the front of your view.   Otherwise you’ll look though the yellowing foliage of February Gold, to view the delicate Hawera that bloom in April.   And remember, daffodils always turn to the sun which is in the South in winter.   On one side of my woods path, the flowers show me their backsides.  I should have planted them on the other side for a better display. 

 #5–Use good fertilizer in your (generous-sized) holes.  I like organic Bulb Tone, but there are other good  products made just for bulbs.  Skip the bone meal.  It was good in your grandma’s day, (she probably ground her own bones) but has few nutrients now due to the way they process these things. 

Final Lesson.  In spring, take pictures of your new  bulbs and your blank spaces.  Then you’ll have a plan when you plant more bulbs next fall.   And keep perennial bulbs out of beds that you dig and redig often.  At almost $1 a piece, no one likes accidentally splitting daffodil bulbs with shovels. 

All that said, daffodils and other spring bulbs are one of the great joys of my garden.  Don’t miss them.  Plant a bunch this week.  (Which reminds me, I think I need to buy some more.)

Use your shovel for generous holes

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