Today I have some tips on planting spring bulbs. It's often hard for us to be patient when we see all the beautiful pictures and catalogs this time of year. If you are in a cold climate you should wait until the end of October or first of November to plant bulbs.

In warmer climates wait until the end of November.

For those of you living in hot climates without our freezing weather you should talk to your county extension office to find out what can be planted in your area. Bulbs planted too soon in warm ground may bud early with the possibility of dying off.

When you plant bulbs be sure to keep in mind how attractive they are to wildlife and take the proper measures. Daffodils, fritillaries and alliums are safe from rodents, squirrels, and voles--plant and enjoy without worry! However, tulips and crocus are very tasty to the wildlife. You can buy small "cages" to plant your bulbs in for protection or make your own with chicken wire which is fairly inexpensive. You can also try sprinkling ground up dried cayenne peppers around the bulbs. One trick that seems to work often is to cover bulbs with crushed gravel. If you have a lot of rodents on your property a combination of these things is recommended.

Bulbs are often the fun part of fall chores but we also have to do a few other things to keep our gardens in shape. Any annuals that are finished blooming should be removed and added to the compost pile, along with leaves you've mulched or chopped. Remember, you want to leave all of your flower beds and garden areas clean of debris.

It will take work now, but you will be SO glad in the spring!

The Beloved Crocus
By Brenda Hyde

The crocus is a treasure of spring, when we feel a bit cooped up from the cold winter, and long for color, they pop up so cheerful and bright!

Crocus is easy to plant and nurture, so be sure to try a grouping this year. They do best in full sun, however, if the planting area receives sun in the spring before the leaves on the trees are out, they will do fine too. Prepare the soil with compost or manure before planting the bulbs. They don't need especially fertile soil, but preparation is good. If squirrels or other rodents are a problem you'll want to try planting the corms of your crocus a bit deeper, about 5 inches, and mulch with chopped up fallen leaves. You can also try "planting" a few moth balls in the ground around the corms too-squirrels generally don't like the smell. Crocus is prettiest planted in groups, whether in mixed colors or little sections of all one color. Plant them about 3-4 inches apart. They will fill in later as they multiply. Once they become too crowded you can dig them up after their foliage browns in the spring and divide them.

You can also lift small patches of grass with a trowel, add a little compost to the soil, plant your crocus and replace the grass. Be sure you don't mow over the foliage the next spring until the blooms are gone and leaves have yellowed. This is a neat way to plant along walks or fences! You can also plant them in a circle, which will make your children or grandchildren giggle if you tell them perhaps the fairies dance in the circle or give tea parties while they sleep.


From Brenda Hyde, owner of Old Fashioned Visit her for more tips, recipes and crafts. Sign up for her free newsletters here: