Deer Gardener says: it’s time to plant bulbs

  • Oct. 16, 2009 2:00 p.m.

This season is really rocketing by. Mid-October has given us the first touch of frost signaling the need to lift tubers, plant bulbs, divide perennials and prune hedges or other shrubs. The wonderful part is that most of these chores can be done eventually. The ‘tyranny of the urgent’ is not present, in the fall.I like to choose a section of the yard to work in. Then I remove weeds, bulbs that need separating (they show themselves as I weed), and perennials that need dividing. This gives me a mostly bare expanse of soil to improve.Mixing two scoops of basic fertilizer with one scoop each of lime, bone meal and of wood ashes (a scoop to me is a soup-can), I scatter this onto a wheelbarrow full of compost, mixing it in with gloved hands. This is adequate rejuvenating material for a three by four metre perennial and shrub patch that only gets fertilized this time of year.So, how to plant your new or divided bulbs? Try to dig a trench deeper than one spade. Lift the deep soil out of each trench, then place the top soil in the bottom of the hole. Mix the soil that was deeper with the improved compost. Plant the bulbs four times the width of the bulb and fill with the composted soil mix. Whew, that was an easy job, but hard to explain. The bulbs or perennials you plant this way will have a very good start, and perform well next year.If your soil is ‘perfect’ just dig a hole and place the bulbs in it two inches apart. In soggy soil bulbs will rot. Create a raised bed in these areas.If you are inclined to pamper your lawn, this is the time to lime it. Moss takes over throughout the winter. We have given our lawn over to whatever doesn’t mind getting mowed every now and then. It isn’t any worse than it ever was and I don’t need to fret about it. Lawn care is just not that interesting to me. I do dig out the most obnoxious weeds now and then.Outside potted plants and hanging baskets should be taken to a sheltered location, like a nursery area, now. If they are annual flowers, clean out the debris to the compost, dump the soil in a veggie patch and wash out the pot and saucer. For perennial potted plants like mums be sure they are supported against harsh winds and enjoy them for another month.Any time now, the wind will whoosh all the fall leaves (and lawn chairs) off the property and into the ditch. Knowing this allows us to prepare for it, or not.Blackberry dumplings are easy and delicious. Try them! The berries are still producing. For an A-1 recipe email me at