It didn’t actually turn out to be as big a mission as I had originally intended, mostly because halfway through planting I ran out of the soil! Whenever I buy those enormous bags of the stuff I never think I’ll see the bottom of them, but low and behold, last weekend I did.
I managed to plant about a third of the bulbs I’ve been hoarding over the past few months, including a mixture of daffodils, miniature tulips, tete-a-tete narcissi and a collection of tiny crocuses. I bought these bulbs in garden centres and supermarkets, and as I mentioned last week, now is the best time to be planting your bulbs for next spring. Before long everywhere will be awash with Christmas decorations and there won’t be a bulb insight.
Instead of investing in a bunch of new pots I decided to recycle what I already had. I pulled up the dead cornflowers and chrysanthemums from this year and emptied their containers of soil and dead leaves. Interestingly, I perhaps wrongly assumed that the soil needed completely replacing at every replanting, but apparently this isn’t true. It’s a bit of a complex subject, so I’m going to save it for its own post in the coming weeks.
After emptying the pots I used my usual peat-free soil for planting. I’ve stuck with this across most of my gardening escapades and have had fairly good results. It seemed to benefit my champion nasturtiums very well indeed and seemed satisfactory across the rest of this summer’s flowers. I prefer using a peat-free mix because it’s much friendlier to the habitats of lowland bog-dwelling creatures. Peat takes thousands of years to form and is vital to the continued survival of many rare animals, birds and plants. Don’t be pinching it just to ensure your petunias are bigger than the neighbours’.
Planting bulbs is ridiculously easy, it’s exactly what you’d imagine. Fill your pots with soil, prod your finger in the soil to make a nice deep hole (about twice the size of your bulb) and then bury that oniony-looking fella right into those dark and cosy depths. Make sure you leave a good amount of room between one bulb and the next so they’re not too squashed – again, about a bulb and a half’s width apart. When you’re done, cover the bulbs with a good layer of soil and give them a gentle pat-down.
Treat your bulbs to a little water and pop them outside. As I mentioned last week, if your pots are open to the elements, all should be fine, but if they’re sheltered you might need to watch that you don’t water them too much, else the bulbs will rot.
I’ll be back soon with a further planting update once I’ve raided the garden centre for more soil supplies. In the meantime, I’d love to hear the latest in your garden! Drop me a line on Twitter with your gardening news… perhaps we could compare notes?