Wouldn’t it be fun to plant a LOT of tulips this fall? Maybe 200. Or why not 500? Enough to have your own spring cutting garden with a full range of flower styles and bloom times. To finally experience some of the varieties you have only seen in photographs. To inject a big shot of color into your yard when little else is in bloom.
If you think that’s a pipe dream, I can guess why. Maybe you don’t have enough space or enough time to plant the bulbs. Or the soil in your flower garden doesn’t suit tulips. Or maybe you struggle with deer and other critters.
For some gardeners, growing tulips can definitely be challenging. But if you have a vegetable garden, here’s a suggestion that could make your tulip growing dreams come true.
Even if you grow kale and other fall crops, it’s likely that at least a few rows of your vegetable garden are empty from November to May. Why not fill some of those beds with tulips? Once you have pulled out the tomatoes and peppers, just fork over the bed, rake it smooth and plant tulip bulbs. You can easily fit well over 100 tulips in a 4’ x 8’ bed.
In the spring, your tulip feast will have come and gone before it’s time to plant heat-loving vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers and squash. When the last blossoms have faded, just lift out the tulips, bulbs and all, and plant your vegetables as usual.
Planting is Fast
If your flower beds are anything like mine, they are packed with perennials and it’s not easy to find empty spaces to plant tulips. In comparison, planting in the vegetable garden is a breeze. Lay a tarp in the path, dig out the soil, place the bulbs and cover them up it. Planting 100 bulbs in the bed shown above took about 20 minutes.
Tulip bulbs do not like soggy soil. In Holland, they are grown on pure sand. If you have had a vegetable garden for a while, it is probably some of the best soil in your yard. You’ll be amazed what a difference it makes when you get top quality tulip bulbs and plant them in well-drained soil.
If you grow vegetables, and have problems with deer, rabbits or woodchucks, you may already have a fence. If you don’t have one, you probably should, and maybe tulips will be the nudge you need. No one thinks twice about protecting peas and beans. For me, tulips are soul food and just as important.
Blog Post by: Kathleen LaLiberte.
Kathleen LaLiberte has been writing about gardening for more than 30 years from her home in northern Vermont, where she tends a half acre of flowers, vegetables and fruit.