Daffodils, tulips, dutch iris and other bulbs are beautiful additions to any garden. They're easy to maintain and easy to plant let me show you how.
Many bulbs benefit from being divided every three to five years if you're getting a lot of foliage with few blooms, holes in your plantings or overcrowding in your plantings it's time to divide and replant your bulbs. Spring and early summer blooming bulbs can be dug up and divided at any time after the foliage gets brown or before the ground freezes a digging fork is a great tool to gently dig up your bulbs as opposed to a spade or shovel which can cut the bulbs in half. Layer bulbs out in a seedling tray to dry out for a few days and if they're double nose like this don't pull them apart. Set your trays out in a shaded area and if you have multiple varieties that you want to keep separated label the tray. Discard any bulbs that show signs of disease or insect damage only keep large healthy bulbs that are firm and free from spots compost undersized bulbs. Store your bulbs in any kind of a mesh sack until it's time to replant them in the fall don't store them with any fruit and make sure that the temperature stays between fifty and seventy degrees.
Plant your spring blooming or your early summer blooming bulbs in the fall when the temperature of the soil reaches about sixty degrees daffodils are pretty pest resistant but tulips are gopher candy if you have gophers in your area and you're doing a mass planting install a gopher basket if you're doing individual plantings of tulips these mini baskets work great. If you're replanting bulbs or planting new bulbs make sure that you have good drainage if the bed has poor drainage add some compost to the top twelve to eighteen inches of soil remove all perennial weeds.
A good rule of thumb for planting depth is to plant the bulb to a depth of three times its height big bulbs like daffodils and tulips get planted two a depth of six inches and smaller bulbs will be planted to depths more like two to three inches. These steps are measured from the bottom of the bulb to the top of the soil if you have loose soil the dibbler or the bulb planter are great tools to use to plant your bulbs the bulb planter is also useful for inserting a bulb or two into a existing planting. If you have really hard or compacted soil this auger attachment for your drill is really the way to go.
For more naturalized mass planting start by digging a big hole or a trench bulbs need a lot of phosphorus to make big plentiful blooms work in a high phosphorus amendment like bone meal into the planting bed deeper than your bulb's planting depth use a rate of about two cups per ten square feet if you have a high alkaline soil use high phosphorus sea bird guano soft rock phosphate instead of the bone meal. Take a handful of bulbs and drop them in the trench and just top it off with a little bit of flower and bulb food and if you're fall rains are delayed you can give them a little sprinkle. Plant bulbs in the fall for an abundance of spring color and grow organic for life!