How to plant tulips using a traditional bulb planter

 

How to plant tulips using a traditional bulb planter

We’ve had a couple of frosts here and that’s a good marker of when you want to start planting your tulips. I love growing tulips with vegetables because then you make better use of your space; you don’t have your tulips in one place and your rhubarb somewhere else, you can mix the two together. So, what I do is I just randomly throw the bulbs and then I’m going to plant them where they land. You can just do a whole handful like that and again if you plant them there they will look really nice and natural; that’s particularly important in grass but even in here I don’t want it to look like a cutting garden I want it to look more naturalistic than that, as if the rhubarb and tulips are almost cohabiting. So just chuck them down and plant them where they fall.

That sort of spacing is fine, in a cutting garden I would put them closer, but here they’re between four and six inches apart. I’ve got one of these brilliant bits of kit which is basically like a massive, giant apple corer. So, just push the bulb to the side, go in with your bulb planter and pull out the plug of soil. This bed here has had lots of grit added to it in the past, so I’m not worried about putting grit in the bottom of the hole. I’m just going to plop that bulb in, go on and cut the next core and as I do so the previous core will come out of the top. I can then plop that back over the first bulb and firm it and then just cover again with the mulch. So again, core of soil, put the bulb in with the pointy end uppermost and go to plant the next one. The point is it makes quite light work of planting bulbs. It’s such a perfect core that you get, particularly with heavy soil.

So I’m trying not to tread where I know I’ve put the bulbs. The other thing, of course, is because we’ve got such heavy clay soil it forms a plug that sticks together. To get that with a much more crumbly or gritty soil, just do it after a relatively rainy day and it will hold. But even if it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter, you just need to pile back the soil over the head of the bulb. And you can see it’s really quite quick and easy to do.

It’s also worth saying that the brilliant thing about this bulb planter is that because it has this sharp, or sharpish, blade there, you can use this to cut through grass so you can plant bulbs all the way through your rougher grass or even on the edges of your lawn. Put crocuses in the sunny patches and snowdrops in the shade.

Happy gardening,

Sarah

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