Digging up bulbs for replanting this fall
The main rule of thumb is to leave the bulbs alone for as long as the foliage is still green. The color means that photosynthesis is still going on and the food manufactured will be stored in the bulbs for next spring's blooming. Once the foliage turns yellow, the plant can no longer produce food for itself. That's when you can begin digging up the bulbs.
Here in Boston where I am visiting my grandchildren, the grape hyacynth have spread over the whole bulb area and are still green, so I am ignoring the rule listed above and digging them up anyway. Hopefully they are so vigorous and adaptable that some will make it through this rough treatment. There are currently hundreds of them.
What I really wanted to get at were the daffodils, which are the most easygoing of all spring flowering bulbs and the tulips which my daughter says have mulitiplied and need separating. It's always such a hard job since all the foliage of these plants have disappeared and I will inevitably slice through some of the bulbs.
Once the bulbs are dug, I will spread the bulbs out and try to separate them. Most of the ones I dug were already sprouting, so I am not waiting to dry them, but getting them back in the ground quickly. That's where I'm relying on the easygoing nature of daffodils.
Daffodil bulbs can be planted in well-drained spots immediately after drying or stored in dry locations until planting in mid-fall. However, it is important that daffodil bulbs be covered with 6 to 7 inches of soil. Since I have dug up the whole area quite deeply, planting will be easy and the soil is so dark and friable that I think it doesn't need additional fertilizer, but some bone meal couldn't hurt! This will be an opportunity to place phosphorus down deeply. Mix in two heaping tablespoons of bone meal per bulb location.
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Posted by Marilyn Renaker at November 29, 2010 2:45 AM