Ask a Question forum: bulb dilemma

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Bellingham WA
karenes
Nov 5, 2017 7:59 PM CST
I live in Bellingham Washington. We are experiencing snow and freezing temps super early this year but will probably see some warm days before actual winter temps stay consistent. I don't feel like the ground is "frozen" as I can turn the dirt fairly easy. I still have lots of bulbs to plant. My question is do you think I've missed my chance or should I just put them in the ground the next warm day we have and mulch heavier?
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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Paul2032
Nov 5, 2017 8:23 PM CST
Plant when you can.......
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
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crawgarden
Nov 5, 2017 8:24 PM CST
So long as you can dig it, you can plant it.
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Name: Archivesgirl
Salisbury, MD (Zone 7b)
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Archivesgirl
Nov 5, 2017 8:30 PM CST
I would plant them because it's unlikely that without a hard freeze your ground would be too cold to plant. I've heard of using a ground thermometer (looks like a meat thermometer) to see if the temperature is in the mid-50s but I don't have one so if I can dig the dirt then I figure it's fine.

Gayle
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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dyzzypyxxy
Nov 5, 2017 9:28 PM CST
I've planted bulbs as late as December, (in Utah) and still had them come up and bloom on time in spring. Go for it.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
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RoseBlush1
Nov 5, 2017 9:56 PM CST
I have the same issue as Karenes. I am not so worried about the soil freezing just yet, but we have had enough rain that it's quite muddy. I have never planted anything in mud in the past. Can bulbs be planted in mud, if I can get myself out there ? We, too will have some nice days, but the ground will still be wet.
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Nov 6, 2017 5:10 AM CST
I've planted bulbs when I had to chip through a frozen crust on the soil surface to do so, and they were fine. There's not another easy option anyway other than winter them over in pots.

Lyn if they were already planted they'd be in mud, the problem has more to do with the soil not being conducive to working. Again, though, what is the alternative? It may depend on the bulbs, some need to go in early enough for root development before it gets too cold, some need chilling to promote flowering and so on. If there aren't a lot you could pot them up so that they can get started and then plant them when the mud dries out. If there are too many for that, can you work from a board or something?
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
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RoseBlush1
Nov 6, 2017 10:29 AM CST
Hi Sue ...

I have a mole having fun in the garden and every time I went to plant bulbs, I ran into mole problems ... oh, joy.

I have a lot more bulbs than I expected. I decided to divide a relocate my species tulips, muscari, dutch iris and daffys. All had multiplied more than I expected .. Rolling my eyes. I do have a LOT of bulbs to plant because the weather turned wet and cold two weeks earlier than usual.

I left a lot in the original siting, these are the bulbs I just wanted to move to other parts of the garden.

I'll just go for it and see what happens.
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Nov 6, 2017 10:53 AM CST
I'm in the PNW and often dig in bulbs late. They always do fine.
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Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
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RoseBlush1
Nov 6, 2017 11:03 AM CST
Thank you, Deb.
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
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Leftwood
Nov 6, 2017 3:24 PM CST
Sooby is right: it depends on the type of bulb (and of course, your climate).

Where I am in the north, you would be a month and a half too late for daffodils and fritillaria. But tulips and scilla can be planted until the ground freezes, which won't happen for 2-3 weeks, yet.

The bad thing about planting in muddy conditions is that the soil structure is extremely delicate. Be very gentle. The soil will be lumpy. Leave it lumpy, and don't try the break up the lumps into smaller bits. Plant your bulbs among the lumps and let mother nature slowly fill in the gaps. For the most part, the much touted idea that air pockets in the soil is bad thing, is really a myth.
Name: Lee-Roy
Bilzen, Belgium (Zone 8a)
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Arico
Nov 6, 2017 4:26 PM CST
Tulips are better off planted as late as possible as it decreases chances of tulip fire. Other bulbs are best planted as soon as possible to get their roots going before the ground really freezes. So get them in whenever you can
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
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RoseBlush1
Nov 6, 2017 6:34 PM CST
Thank you Rick and Lee-Roy.

It's been a very strange weather year for me. Last week temps were in the mid-80s. It's strange preparing for winter when it is that warm ... Smiling
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
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crawgarden
Nov 6, 2017 9:36 PM CST
Lee-Roy

What is Tulip fire, never heard of it or the term? Thx
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Nov 7, 2017 5:23 AM CST
Rj, tulip fire is a fungal disease caused by Botrytis tulipae, you can read more about it here:
http://ipm.illinois.edu/diseas...
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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crawgarden
Nov 7, 2017 6:57 AM CST
Thx!
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

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