Thursday, December 29, 2011

Planting Tulips

Last year I planted 1000 tulips in a little over two hours in November.  It was a beautiful day, my beds were nicely tilled.  I used a hoe to make shallow trenches, dropped the bulbs in and raked crumbly, loose dirt over the top of them and spread a nice thick layer of hay mulch.  It was rather pleasant.

In the spring however, nearly twenty percent of my tulips came up less than 10-12 inches tall-too short to be sold at the market as cut flowers.  A friend suggested with us being in zone 7 that it maybe didn't get cool enough for them last winter and I might try getting them pre-chilled.  My tulip supplier confirmed this theory.  By getting them pre-chilled we had to push off the planting date till the beginning of December when the ground and air would be cooler.  We knew that in doing this we were risking it being too wet to plant them easily.

The tulips arrived on December 7.  It had rained on the 5th.  But we were supposed to have a few dry days in a row....unfortunately they were 40 degree dry days-the water didn't go anywhere.  It's proceeded to rain every few days since then as we've watched the tulips sit on the floor of the barn.  The tulip bed we prepared was like a bog.  Finally, last week I decided to get them in the ground the only way we could, it was obvious we weren't getting a tractor out anytime soon.

For the first row of bulbs that I planted I dug a trench in the mud and dropped bulbs in and covered them back up.  The entire time I was plopping bulbs into the muddy standing water I swear I could hear them drowning.  So the next thirteen rows I planted I set the bulbs on top of the ground and shoveled mud from a trench next to them to cover them.

I finished this over the course of three days.  I don't know how much each shovel-full weighed, but the combination of shoveling mud while standing in mud

pretty much kicked my ass.  

I did have plenty of moral support though.

River would have been there too had I let him.  I finally had to put him up after realizing he was stealing tulip bulbs behind my back.  I merely thought he was tossing horse crap around till I caught him in the act.  

Finally though, today, they are done.  We'll see what they look like this spring.


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