Planting Fall Bulbs for Food or Flowers

'To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.' 

Audrey Hepburn

Embrace Fall Planting: Unveiling the Magic of Bulb-Blooms and Edible Delights

As the vibrant colours of summer gracefully fade and the crisp air of autumn sets in, it's time to embark on a new chapter in your gardening journey. While spring is often synonymous with planting, don't underestimate the possibilities that fall brings, especially for plants and flowers that emerge from bulbs. Discover the magic of fall planting and how these bulbs can transform your garden into a tapestry of colours and flavours come spring and beyond.

The Fall Planting Advantage

Fall is a season of transition and transformation, and it's also the perfect time to give your garden a head-start for the next growing season. Planting bulbs during this period allows them to establish their root systems before the ground freezes, making them ready and able to put on an incredible show the following spring – and every spring after that.

The Wonder of Bulbs

Bulbs are nature's treasure troves, containing all the nutrients and energy needed for a plant's initial growth. As you plant them in the fall, these bulbs utilize the temperate soil and ample moisture to develop strong roots. Unlike seeds (which contain the elements to bring new leaves into existence), Bulbs also have all the necessary elements to create the 1st flowers. And, in general, the bigger the bulb, the bigger its flower will be. This is why bulbs are graded (and priced) by size. Where bulbs are concerned – size matters.

Apply Root Rescue Transplanter

As with almost everything you plant, Root Rescue Transplanter will help the emerging roots of your fall-planted bulbs. Most flowering bulbs are members of the Allium (or Onion) family of plants – and all these plants love working with the mycorrhizal fungi in Root Rescue. You can plant your bulbs, mix Transplanter in water, and give the planted bulbs a good drench, or simply dust the bottom of the bulbs with the Transplanter powder as you are planting. Once the roots start to emerge from the bulb, the mycorrhizae will germinate and attach to the roots – and once partnered, the roots and the fungi will continue to grow and support each other year after year.

Choosing the Right Bulbs

When it comes to fall planting with bulbs, there are many options for ornamental and edible varieties. Here are a few popular choices, both flowers and vegetables, that promise to usher in a breathtaking display next spring and a flavourful harvest down the line:

1. Tulips: Symbolizing new beginnings, tulips are available in various colours and shapes - and flowering times. Plant them in clusters for a dazzling effect that will make your garden burst with vibrancy. Some tulips flower in early spring, some in mid-spring and some in early summer; plant groups of each to extend the flower show!

2. Daffodils: With their sunny yellow hues, daffodils are the epitome of spring cheer. Their robust nature makes them a reliable choice for fall planting, even for beginners. The cousin of the Daffodil is the Narcissus – these modest beauties also have a wonderful fragrance – and like many flowering bulbs, they make excellent and durable cut flowers too!

3. Make your Lawn Bloom: Crocuses (and other early, compact spring bloomers like Snowdrops and Grape Hyacinth) can be grown and thrive in your lawn! These beauties will emerge and flower before the 1st grass-cutting in the spring! Their short grass-like leaves will persist after the flowers have gone – and your mower will not harm the leaves once it's time to cut the grass. Their green leaves will survive among your turfgrass leaves until they have "charged" the bulb below for next spring's show. By early summer, these leaves will go dormant, and your turfgrass will become all you can see. The permanent integration of Early Spring bulbs into your lawn is called Naturalization.     

4. Garlic: Planting garlic in the fall results in larger, more flavourful bulbs. The cold winter months help garlic cloves develop into bulbs with multiple cloves, perfect for enhancing your culinary creations. For best results, start with "seed garlic" vs. using garlic purchased at the grocery store. This will ensure the garlic you are growing is from a local source, and will avoid the possibility of infecting your garden with foreign-based diseases. Each seed garlic bulb can now be separated into the individual cloves, remove each clove carefully and leave as many layers of the skin intact as possible. Plant the cloves before the first frost, rows should be 25 centimetres apart - using a string and stakes at each end of the row will help keep rows straight, and make it easier for weeding when spring arrives.

Planting Tips for Success

1. Location Matters: Choose a spot in your garden that receives the right amount of sunlight for the specific bulbs you're planting. Some prefer full sun, while others thrive in partial shade.

2. Proper Depth: Follow the planting depth guidelines for each bulb type. Generally, larger bulbs are planted deeper than smaller ones. This ensures that they have ample soil protection as they establish roots.

3. Well-Drained Soil: Bulbs dislike sitting in waterlogged soil, so ensure the planting area has good drainage. If your soil retains too much moisture, consider adding organic matter to improve drainage.

4. Build Strong Roots: Establishing solid roots by adding Root Rescue's Mycorrhizal Fungi to the soil in the fall will ensure the best results in the spring. The main benefit of Mycorrhizal Fungi is its ability to assist the roots of their host plants. Once mycorrhizae are connected to roots, the plant's access to water and nutrients (particularly nitrogen, phosphorus, zinc, manganese and copper) increases. Just one application of Root Rescue Transplanter will deliver mycorrhizae's multiple benefits (for years to come).

5. Mulching: Once you've planted your bulbs, adding a layer of mulch helps regulate soil temperature and moisture, providing an ideal environment for root growth.

A Prelude to Spring Splendor and Culinary Delights

Fall planting with bulbs is like composing a symphony of anticipation – the quiet sowing of bulbs now transforms into the grand crescendo of colours, flavours, and fragrances as spring arrives. Embrace the magic of fall planting and let these humble bulbs weave their enchanting spell, turning your garden into a canvas of beauty, taste, and wonder. When the first buds break through the soil next spring, you'll be grateful for the foresight and care you invested in your fall garden.

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