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Monday Mom challenge: Time to plant bulbs

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Planting for spring!

You've just - finally - hit your stride with the fall schedule. The kids are all settled into their routines and you've hit a comfortable stride. It's time to enjoy the autumn before the craziness of the holidays strikes. It's also time to start thinking spring!

Woman planting bulbs

Sure, it sounds like you are getting ahead of yourself; you should enjoy the moment. But there are certain really lovely aspects of spring that require attention now. If you want your yard or even your kitchen table filled with daffodils and tulips to harken the return of warmer weather, you need to get some bulb into the ground or into the refrigerator now.

Before the ground freezes

One of my favorite sites in my little town is this one side road along a golf course. Thousands upon thousands of naturalizing daffodil bulbs have been planted along each side of the road. April is a sea of yellow and while narcissi that makes even the surliest local curmudgeon smile. Families take Easter photos with them and couples linger on walks; it's been one of the most successful civic beautification projects I've observed.

Here in New England, flower bulbs are for sale just about everywhere right now. In the home centers, garden centers, mega marts and even at some gas stations, you can purchase big bags of bulbs to brighten up your landscape months from now. Bags of 50 or more naturalizing daffodil bulbs are not particularly expensive, especially when you consider that the bulbs will reproduce and you'll have more and more daffodils for years to come. A couple bags of common tulips (if you don't have voles that might eat them from underneath) mixed in and you'll be good to go.

Once you get them home, get them in the ground quickly, before the soil gets to cold to work for comfort. Three or four bulbs grouped together throughout the landscape will provide gorgeous punches of color when the spring weather can't decide what it's doing.

Flowers that need some chill

Daffodils and tulip bulbs - and other kinds of bulbs - need several weeks of chill to bloom well in the spring. Even if you don't live in a chilly climate, you can plan for spring by planting bulbs in pots and refrigerating the pots for eight weeks or so. When the pots are removed from the chilled environment, they'll start to grow. Even if your area isn't know for supporting tulips (the desert southwest, for example) you can still have that spring color. And even if you are in a tulip-friendly area, forcing some bulbs for mid winter color is fun, too. Even if there is still a foot of snow on the ground outside, you can feel the glory of springtime.

It may feel a little odd to be planning for spring when you're still enjoying autumn, but a small time effort now will yield weeks of glorious color when you might need it the most. So go plant some bulbs.

Get more tips on fall bulb planting here!

For more on our Monday Mom series:

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