22 thoughts on “A Question for Saraclark

  1. I’m not Saraclark, but I’d say during the first half of November. It really isn’t cool enough for them before that, and early planting confuses them. Keep them in the fridge until you plant them, if that’s possible.

  2. November?! Well, there goes my secret plan to get my mom to help me plant them this weekend. I’ll have to develop a secret plan to get her to help me plant them over Thanksgiving.

    I don’t think I can fit the whole box in my fridge. Should I give up a drawer to put all 100 in or should I leave them in the box and just put them… um, I don’t know. In the garage?

  3. Well, Saraclark may overrule my suggestion, you know. She may tell you that while November is OK, October is just as good. And she has been gardening in middle TN longer than I have. Chase her down and get the definitive answer!

  4. I’d be a little careful about putting them in the fridge. It’s probably fine to do so with daffodils since they are so hardy, but I know at least some bulb plants that need a dormancy period don’t do well in the fridge with your food because being trapped in with the gases produced by fruits and veggies poisons them. Again daffodils may be fine with it, but I’d find out first.

  5. You’re probably okay with putting the bulbs in the garage since it gets chilly at night and probably doesn’t warm up a lot during the day, but nm is right–we could still have some warm weather this month that will confuse your new bulbs. But the end of this month, you should be fine.
    And you don’t need your mom to help you plant; you need your brother to get out there with a shovel and dig some big holes for the clumps!

  6. Dolphin, around here they (Those Who Told Me When I First Moved Here) actually do recommend chilling daffodil bulbs because they (the bulbs) aren’t going to have a long cold dormancy period outside. But, you know, not right in the crisper with the veggies. I put mine on the bottom shelf, on top of the crisper, for a couple of weeks before I plant and this seems to do them well.

    Lesley is right about the Butcher. Or you could have him go over the area with a roto-tiller first, and then dig the big holes.

  7. Late to the party here. I usually do my bulb planting the day after Thanksgiving or later. There’s always that point right around that time when it suddenly gets chilly and wet for a while. You need the ground temperature to drop well below the 50’s before planting. Sometimes even during the first two weeks of December or if I am a real slacker during late January. It just stays too warm here in October. If I order bulbs, I ask for the latest possible delivery date.

    The main point in storing your bulbs is to keep them from sprouting. Most daffodills are pre-chilled, but they need to stay cool and dry so they don’t sprout and start early. If they do, you can still plant them but they probably won’t bloom this year.

    Dolphin is right about ethylene gas (apples and veggies) being bad for bulbs, Store them separately. Cool and dry is what you want, the garage could work.

    Do buy yourself a huge bag of crocus and start planting them randomly all over your yard. They will come up and bloom first in late February/ early March and die back before the grass grows. I plant them with a large spoon or gardening knife. No extra digging necessary. I get a cool scattered carpet of purple, yellow and white when everything else is dead.

  8. Hurray! I will do that about the crocuses. Can we plant those this weekend? I have half a mind to kidnap you and make you walk around my yard and tell us what needs to be completely cut out, and what needs to be trimmed and when.

    And then I’d let you go, so it’d be kind of a lame kidnapping, but I swear, once i started talking plants, your name came up one billion times. “Ask Saraclark this. Ask Saraclark that.” Shoot, I may start a weekly feature.


    But you should totally have a gardening blog.

    And if you already have a gardening blog, you should tell me the address so that I can follow your gardening orders.

  9. I’m starting from scratch in my new yard soon. The developers leveled it and it is bare at the moment. Anyone got some advice on a site with good gardening recommendations?

    Personal recommendations are good too. The house faces due east so the front yard is in morning sun and the back in afternoon.

  10. Ha! you need only demand and I will come. I started out as a garden blogger in the GreenwithEnvy days, but then it died. I should probably start it again.

    Since it rained, you can probably plant this weekend. There is such a thing as Fall Crocus that you could get some happiness from now.

    It’s time for pansies, snapdragons and some late fall zinnias. Mums look awesome, but they don’t always come back. You are within a week of the first frost so I would caution some patience.

    Now is the time for planning, even if it kills you. Think about things for winter interest, late winter color and spring.

  11. W. I will look up a couple and pass them on. I can tell you that first and foremost you are going to have to amend and work your soil. Those lovely developers scraped off all of your top soil and sold it and left you with backfill and hardpan.

    You will need to add back biodiversity and active cultures to your soil. Compost and composting are going to be your friend as well as some of the active teas (worm and mushroom). Look at the Gardens of Babylon site(they’re at the Farmer’s Market) for a lot of information. They are helpful, even if you don’t buy from them.

    It is best to plant shrubs and trees in the winter here and buy local so that they are acclimated.

  12. Oh, that reminds me, B: for irises, since I can’t get you a Martha Stewart shit-ton in every color, blue or purple? yellow or bronze?

  13. My love of irises is directly influenced by my love of Van Gogh, so maybe blue and purple? But bronze? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a bronze iris. That might be very nice.

  14. But you could have purple and yellow, or blue and bronze, or bronze only. Wait a minute, who’s writing this? I feel like I’m in the middle of a Roger Miller song.

    [deep breath] sorry, it’s been quite a day. Blue irises with maybe some purple highlights it is.

  15. nm,

    Do you know Iris City over in Primm Springs? All irises all the time and they are local. If it’s not an open sale day, call them and they are always friendly.


    I suck at growing iris by the way. My Mom’s are gorgeous with mint growing all through them.

  16. I agree with Sara Clark. Please, please, please get some help. Don’t go planting without a plan. Get somebody with a good eye out there. It only makes more work later, if you don’t think ahead. If you’re desperate for bulbs, just plant a few in some highly visible places.

    You really need to live in a place for a year – see the change of the seasons, understand where your eye will fall and where you want it to fall to know where and what to plant well.

    For example, some irises like damp and some irises like dry. I bet you’ve got both places, but you need to put match them up.

  17. You just wait, Jim, until you discover I wasted all my time traveling skills going back in time and seeding your lawn with creeping charlie.

    Bwah ha ha ha ha.

    What an awesome evil plan.

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