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Growing AK: Planting bulbs to get a jump on spring

Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 2:24 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Though your garden might be looking a little straggly at this time of year, take time and look forward to next summer. If you want those early and mid-spring blooms — like daffodils, tulips and crocus — you need to plant the bulbs in the fall. And it’s almost time to plant. Almost.

According to Sheila Macias with Alaska Mill and Feed and a Master Gardener, the ground is still a little too warm.

“When you’re planting fall bulbs, you want to make sure your soil is 50 degrees or lower or the bulbs will rot if it’s too warm,” said Macias. “The soil thermometer, once again, like in the spring, the soil thermometer is your best friend.”

Soil temperatures this past week were hovering near 58 degrees. Macias says to plant bulbs in rich, well-drained soil in a place that gets full sun.

Most fall bulbs — that produce spring flowers — do well in Alaska but Macias says, not tulips.

“Most tulips that you grow are not really perennials,” Macias said. “The Darwin Hybrid Tulips are a perennial, and they’ll come back year after year. Other tulips may come back one other time, but generally, they’re more of an annual. So it’s the Darwin hybrids that are the big beautiful tulips that you see come back.”

The backs of the bulb packages will provide information about planting depth and when to expect the blooms to appear.

Macias did a class on Facebook Live about planting bulbs that has a lot of information. Check it out below.

Planting Fall Bulbs Class

Posted by Alaska Mill and Feed Inc. on Friday, September 11, 2020

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