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NC Cooperative Extension, Cherokee County Center
Farm Credit Service (Sponsor)
Hello and welcome to episode 1 0 6 of the Grow and Graze podcast. you're listening to Cherokee County Cooperative Extension.. My name is Douglas Clement and with us we have Jim Wilcox. Hello Doug. And we're gonna be talking about, hints for fall planted spring and early summer. flowering bulbs. That's a lot to say, isn't it, Jim? Oh, Doug. These things give me such joy, and I'm not even being facetious about this. So I'm glad Jim's with me this morning because he does a lot of this. And, we're gonna get started with, basically the fall planning of the bulbs this today. Correct?Jim Wilcox:
We do. Doug, these are the bulbs that, you plant in the fall. They get you through that long gray winter because, you know, in the spring you are going to see some beautiful flowers. So specifically we'll be talking about tulips, hyacinth and daffodils. These are the things that will come up in our gardens February, even into May. And, but it's a bulb that you will plant, this time of year in the fall, probably even locally here, even in November. And, you plant them now and they will bloom in the spring. And then some of them that you can plant now will actually even be roll into the summer. some specialty bulbs like allium, which is one of my favorites, that's the one that puts up a big. Softball size cluster of pink that'll come up, in July, even up to four foot tall. So, now's the time. You should be thinking of them, Doug. Oh, okay.Doug Clement:
And I know we get a lot of questions too, of, can you leave them out in the winter or do you have to take them up So you might, if you can talk a little bit about that.Jim Wilcox:
Yeah, let's talk about that. when you go to buy them, it's a little bit like an onion. You'd want to, firm. Slightly even heavier than it might, you might think for its size. Although if there's a slight, nicks on it, that's okay. And some people say those nicks may even encourage them to, to grow more roots. You'll keep them cool before you plant them. So don't leave them out the sunshine. Don't leave them in a hot room. and that'll help them from blooming too soon. So you plant them in the fall. where do you wanna plan a, One of the important things you want to keep in mind is you need good drainage. Don't put it in a wet bog down there. if it's a clay area, you really should supplement that with some organic, material, Maybe some peat moss, compost aged bark. If your area is mostly sand, which may not be too likely around here, you could, amend it with some organic material, your pH. Will, will really help your bulbs do well. You want it to be in the six to seven range. You're probably thinking, How do I know that? Well, we can help you with that, bringing us your soil samples and the county can send that off to be tested, which by the way is free, Doug.Doug Clement:
we certainly encourage that. And we're actually going to do a podcast on how to do soil sampling in the near future, but it's something really important for people to.Jim Wilcox:
Very good, very good. So, back to the location, good drainage, good pH, you don't want them in bright, sunny areas. A little bit more shaded will, without direct sunlight will do better for you. And, you can, interplant these with, different types of varieties also. Well, what about, plants around the foundation or near their house mm-hmm.Doug Clement:
So is there, is that a good place to do them around your house? And how close do you probably want to do that to your house?Jim Wilcox:
Yeah, that's a, that's a good question, Doug. The beauty of being close to your house is you can enjoy 'em yet if you get too close and if your home is radiating some heat that may diminish how well they may do for you. Okay. Well, we may have talked a little bit about this, but what about how to plant them and, and, and certainly one thing that, is important is, after they flower in the spring, what do you do about it, basically? Okay, well good. Let's talk about that when you plant them as we leave that topic. let's say a bulb is one inch. in size, you wanna plant that about five inches deep. And that's from the bottom of the, the bulb. So it'd be five inches to where that bulb would sit in the ground. A bigger bulb, two inches in, in, height, maybe eight inches deep. and then fertilizing, or what do you do afterwards? you, you can fertilize. Either with, some of those timed release when you plant them, they actually like bone meal, that you could put out with them also. But in the spring, if you've fertilized in the fall, you can supplement that in the spring. Here's a couple things about your maintenance. So let's say you've enjoyed your tulip, the flower has started to fade and falling off. Take all those flower organs with the scissors, hand pruner, and then let your foliage stay on and die naturally. That's where it's kind of refeeding that bulb for you. So you have a nice, strong plant next year, and then, after that foliage is died away, you can remove it. I know a lot of people, when they go to using scissors and sharp objects, they, get concerned about. Where to cut or when to cut. So is there a right or wrong way or is the plant pretty forgiving for that? Basically? Yeah. These are actually good news. Pretty forgiving. Okay. Yeah. You can, split the bulbs, harvest them. They say, you know, like, like other bulbs, like your day lilies, you know, as they get to crowded, you can split them. Our advice is if you got a good bed of them, don't mess with them. They'll, they'll do just well. And conversely, if they're not doing well, well then it might be time to rethink the, the location of them or, or the soil. and, move them. Okay. Well, great. Well, is there anything else that you can think of, right now that. You can give us some advice on, on making sure we've got some nice flowering bulbs for the spring next year. You know, I think this is one of those you need to plan a little bit in advance. Think about it now. Put 'em in the ground all winter long. You can be thinking about those tulips and hyacinths, all the different colors you can get coming up and giving you joy in the spring, so.Doug Clement:
Okay. Well great. Well, Jim, we appreciate all the information that's really. Good advice. And for anybody that wants to get more in depth of this, we will certainly leave some, links in the show notes. And you can visit cherokee.ces.ncsu.edu. And if anybody has any questions about becoming a Master Gardener and, and doing some of these things with NC Cooperative Extension, that will also be in the show notes too. We thank everyone for being with us today, and thank you, Jim, for being with us too. You bet. Happy gardening to you.