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Garden Reports and Rejoicing – November 3

Yesterday my husband and I planted over 250 daffodil bulbs. I ordered two mixes from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs, and Wednesday morning was our window of opportunity. Our system makes the process move quickly: Dan drills the holes with a bulb auger and I follow behind, dropping the bulbs in and covering them in with soil.

As we moved along I remembered one of my first experience with bulb planting when I thought that fertilizer should be put into the hole before the bulb was put in place. Although I bought into this practice at that time, I later learned that this wasn’t as helpful as I’d been taught.

If fertilizer is put only at the bottom of the planting hole and the bulb is placed on top of it, how good can it be that such a concentration of plant food is right where the new roots will grow? This is especially significant given that the fertilizer I was using thirty-plus years ago was a synthetic product. Yikes.

At some point it also occurred to me that if the new roots weren’t burned by the concentration of fertilizer that they would quickly grow well beyond that tiny space where the plant food was dropped. So although I was trying to help my bulbs, I was creating a potentially harmful environment at worst, and a minimally beneficial one at best.

Turning back to how nature nourishes soil, from the top down with organic materials, tells me how to help my bulbs. Even in situations where a synthetic fertilizer might be occasionally beneficial it makes more sense to apply the product over the entire bulb bed early in the growing season instead at the bottom of a planting hole in the fall.

I think of how we all want to be nourished in our lives, and realize that it’s not in limited, concentrated bursts.

Thinking about feeding my bulbs has me asking this: how can we encourage an overall, constant nourishment for ourselves, and provide that for others?

These Narcissus are some of the mix we ordered from Brent and Becky's bulbs four years ago. This year we planted MORE!

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