Fall planting for spring flowering bulbs


By Kathy Kunemund  | PREVIEW Columnist

Fall is a busy time of year as our gardens are beginning to wind down. There is clean up to be done, including pruning back shrubs, putting down mulch and removing dead plants from your vegetable garden, etc. 

If you are thinking ahead to spring, you may want to consider planting spring flowering bulbs. This will add color and interest to your garden in early spring. Spring flowering bulbs should be planted in mid-September through October. This will allow the bulbs to establish roots before the ground freezes and winter sets in.

Bulbs can be purchased directly from growers online or at your local nursery. Choosing the right bulbs is important. There are many bulbs to choose from that will give you a beautiful show of color from March through early June. 

The varieties that do well in Colorado include daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, allium and tulips. There are varieties that are also deer-resistant if that is a concern in your landscape. Most catalogs or bulb packaging will tell you when the bulbs will bloom, their mature height and how deep to plant. The general rule of thumb is to plant bulbs at a depth of three to four times the length of the bulb. It is very important to plant the bulb with the growing tip up. After planting, water the bulbs well to encourage root growth.

Take the time to plan where you will plant the bulbs and how many you need to purchase. Some websites even have apps that will help you determine how many bulbs you need to purchase for the area you want to cover. You may just want to naturalize your bulbs by planting them randomly on your property. Place them in strategic locations where you can view them from inside your home. I like to be able to look out my kitchen window and see daffodils in bloom all spring. 

When choosing colors and varieties, keep in mind that a solid block of one color is more impressive than a mixture of colors. 

Cover the planted bulbs with a few inches of mulch to protect against freezing and thawing. This process can damage the roots and bulbs. It will help maintain a consistent soil temperature throughout the winter and keep the soil moist. The mulch can be left in place as the emerging shoots can usually penetrate through. 

After the plants bloom and wither, remember to remove the dead flowers. If allowed to go to seed it will deplete food produced by the foliage. Then allow the foliage to die naturally. This will provide energy needed for next spring’s blooms.

CPR and first aid classes

CPR and first aid certification classes are offered every other month by the CSU Extension office, generally on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. The cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. Call the Extension office at (970) 264-5931 to register.