Archive for the ‘November’ Category

NovemberForcing Bulbs

This month’s article is directed at the countless Guerilla Gardeners (who shall remain nameless) that bought bulbs in September with the best of intentions, only to discover a few bags (or more) at the back of the garage in late November. Although these bulbs could still be planted outside, it’s a perfect opportunity for a Guerrilla Gardener to experiment with “Forcing Bulbs” indoors.
This Guerrilla Gardener’s definition of “Forcing Bulbs” is as follows:
Bulbs that have been  neglected, abused and abandoned in a garage or on a sales table for a long period of time and now are going to be forced into blooming. Thus, the term “Forcing”.
 Here’s a few to try and impose your will on:

Narcissus – (Plant 5 per 6″ pot) Some of these can be forced extremely easily like Tete a Tete, Icefollies, Minnow, just plant them in potting soil and water well. Place in a cool, dark place (like a garage). When sprouts are 3 inches tall, bring the pot indoors and place in cool and bright room. 

Paperwhites – (Plant 5 per 6″ diameter container) Plant now for Christmas blooms! Place bulbs in a bowl on a layer of pebbles.  Then fill with more pebbles so the tip of the bulb sticks out.  Fill the bowl with water to just below the bottom of the bulb. Put the bowl in a cool, dark place and check weekly for water level (add as needed, but do not let the water touch the base of the bulb).  As soon as the sprouts are 3 inches long, place the bowl in a cool and bright room.  My experience has been that the stems eventually require some staking to keep from flopping over, so this year I am going to try growing them in a tall, clear vase with pebbles.. My hope is that the vase will support the stems as they grow while still displaying the blooms to advantage. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Hyacinths placed on a jar with water – (Plant 1 bulb per vase) There are special Hyacinth glasses available for this purpose and you will need specially prepared Hyacinths for this to work well Fill the glass with water so that the water does not touch the base of the bulb.  Place in the garage and check the water level weekly.  If needed, add water.  Once the thickest part of the sprout is out of the bulb (aprox. 10 -12 weeks), you can bring it indoors where the light is bright. This year I’m going to try planting them in a clear hurricane vase with pebbles (like the Paperwhites) and see what happens. 

If you start right away you just might have some beautiful blooms to impress your non-gardening friends with by Christmas.

Note: If by chance the bulbs do not show their gratefulness for being rescued by putting on a fabulous show of flowers, just threaten them with the compost heap and repeat the phrase “Grow dammit Grow!” several times. Don’t feel bad about doing this after all…….

It’s called “Forcing Bulbs” for a reason!

Brenda Dyck
A Guerilla Gardener on an Adventure!