Saturday, January 15, 2011

Is it spring yet?

I know I just got back from five weeks in the tropics, but I miss spring.  Spring is my favorite season, and I anticipate it from fall onward.  So to speed up the process a little, at least in my house, I decided to force some bulbs.

Generally bulbs are forced in October, so you can have flowers in December.  I was very busy in October, and I was not going to be around in December so I decided to wait to force my bulbs until now.  If my calculations are correct I should have bulbs in time for Easter.  I'm hoping to give flowering tulips as Easter gifts.

Here is what I did:

Step 1: Gather supplies.
Potting soil (the websites I consulted recomended using a mix of potting soil, sand and garden loam.  I didn't have anything but potting soil, and one site said I could use just that, so I am trying pure potting soil this year)
Pots- I used cheap plastic ones, but in a nice white color.  I plan to tie a ribbon around them in the end. 
Watering can

Step 2: Fill pots 3/4 full of soil.
Again, if I had all the supplies I would have put some pebbles in the bottom of the pots for better drainage, but alas, there is snow covering the ground so no pebbles were to be found.

Step 3: Place bulbs in pots.
The recommendations I read from various websites gave different advice about how many bulbs to put in each pot.  Because my bulbs were a little on the small side, I decided to just fill up the pots with bulbs.  I put about five to six bulbs in each six inch pot.  The key is not to let the bulbs touch.  Another good tip I got was to put the flat side of the bulbs on the outside.  This is where the large leaves will form, so it is more pleasing to have them on the outside.  I will have to wait to see if this is true, but I figured it would not hurt.

Step 4: Partially cover bulbs with soil.
Some of my bulbs already started to sprout, so I think the time in the refrigerator will be shorter.
I covered the bulbs with soil, allowing the tips of the bulbs to sick up.  I did not pack down the soil as leaving the bulbs loosely in the soil was suggested. 

Step 4: Water the bulbs.
I was not sure how much water the bulbs needed, but I know they need to be kept moist for the duration of the cold period.  I lightly watered them, using my hand to sprinkle the water over the bulbs.

Step 5: Put bulbs in a cold place.

I used the little flower labels to keep track of which bulbs were in which pot.
I have an extra refridgerator in my basement.  This was the perfect place to chill my bulbs.  I will  have to check them periodically and water them, but they are now in a cold dark place.

Step 6: Wait. 

The bulbs are to be kept in the dark for 13 weeks.  Because my bulbs were kept in the basement for the past couple of month I'm not sure if this rule still applies.  I have thirteen weeks until Easter, so I'm alright.  From my research I just have to keep them chilled until I see the shoots are about 2-3 inches high and the roots are sticking out the bottom.  I will let you know if this happens faster than the 13 weeks allotted.  

My tulips are in the works, and in 13 weeks or less I should have orange, pink and white tulips in my house.  The only problem? By the time I have my flowers it will be practically spring.  Oh well, maybe winter will run a little longer this year (I can't believe I just suggested that!).  Anyway who would complain about fresh flowers, no matter the season?

I still have some daffodils and paper-white bulbs to be planted, and they don't need any chill time.  As soon as I have some more soil and pebbles they will be in my windowsills. Spring may still come to the Designed by Chance home early.  

1 comment:

  1. I wasn't even aware you put them in the refrigerator downstairs :P How observant am I?


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