Planting Techniques for Bulbs

Q. I would like to plant varieties of tulips and daffodils this fall in addition to smaller bulbs. Any suggestions for planting techniques?

A. Most tulips and narcissi can be planted throughout autumn until the ground freezes. Pick a sunny, well-drained area and plant your bulbs three times as deep as the height of the bulb. If the soil is heavy clay, mix in finely shredded wood chips or composted leaf mold. When planting a large bulb bed, dig out all the soil first, arrange the bulbs (usually three to five per square foot) and then backfill with soil. Sprinkle a granular fertilizer (5-10-5) on top, water the bed well and apply a few inches of lightweight mulch. Mulch will stall the soil from freezing early and allow bulbs to develop a strong root system during the fall. Bulbs always look best when planted in large drifts.