Preparing Flower Bulb Beds For Winter

Flower beds tend to take some neglect on the homestead.

They all start off with good intentions.  And although everyone loves a beautiful flower or shrub, they just can’t compete for attention with the produce of vegetable gardens and orchards.

But the good news is they don’t always have to take as much work as a vegetable garden does.

In one morning, you could feasibly put all your flower bulb beds to sleep for the winter.

Flower bulb beds are a little different than other perennial beds when it comes to preparing them for winter. See how this bulb bed is laid to sleep for the winter.

Here is a bed made entirely of bulbs that bloom throughout the spring and summer.  Once all plant foliage has died back, winter preparation can begin.

Start by removing all weeds and leftover plant debris.  Depending on your dirt, it may be easier to soak your bed and pull all the weeds, or it may be easier to wait until it’s quite dry to get them out.  Pull from the bottom to make sure you’re getting the roots.

If you do this mid summer or early fall, there is a chance your weeds have seeded and will grow again after all your hard work.  Make sure it is late enough in your year that weeds that may have gone to seed in your bed won’t sprout again.

Flower bulb beds are a little different than other perennial beds when it comes to preparing them for winter. See how this bulb bed is laid to sleep for the winter.

If you are worried it’s warm enough for weed seeds to sprout, give them a week to come up.  Then use a stirrup-hoe to get these new seedlings, and any other remaining small weeds that weren’t previously gotten.

Flower bulb beds are a little different than other perennial beds when it comes to preparing them for winter. See how this bulb bed is laid to sleep for the winter.

Use a rake to gather all your smaller weeds and get them out of there.

Flower bulb beds are a little different than other perennial beds when it comes to preparing them for winter. See how this bulb bed is laid to sleep for the winter.

Next, add your organic material for next year.  This can be straight out of your compost pile.  (This picture shows compost via all the hard work my chickens did last year.)

Flower bulb beds are a little different than other perennial beds when it comes to preparing them for winter. See how this bulb bed is laid to sleep for the winter.

Since this is a bed of bulbs, don’t use a shovel to mix it in.  You can use a rake to mix in the material if your bed hosts shallow bulbs.

Alternately, if your bed has deep bulbs, and your tiller has a shallow setting, you could use your tiller to mix it in.  Then use a rake to get an even surface.

Flower bulb beds are a little different than other perennial beds when it comes to preparing them for winter. See how this bulb bed is laid to sleep for the winter.

Add your mulch on top, and you’re done.  Ideally three inches is used.

 

Your bulb beds are ready for the winter in just a short amount of time, and you can get back to your harvest.

 

10 Comments

  1. Hey that sounds quite easy! Well written, thank you!

    Blessings, Esther

  2. Wow, this is super helpful! I want a nice flower bed, but I’ve not had one yet since the kids and dogs always mess it up. I might give this a try, though, and hope for the best!

  3. Great post! My chickens are helping with my compost pile this year. We just moved, and I need to figure out where to put my bulbs that I dug up from our previous home. One of our dogs likes to eat every iris and tulip that bloomed, so I have to find a place where he can’t eat them. Enjoyed your post, and it reminded me I need to get busy and find a new home for the bulbs I dug up! 🙂

    • Wow–your dog eats your flowers? I have a hard time getting any tulip blooms (even though I have hundreds planted), because the deer eat them every chance they get. I’ve never had anything eat my iris’s though. I’m curious what kind of dog is he?
      Maybe if you have a rock wall he can’t get to? Let me know where you put them!

  4. Looks like a great system and so quick!

  5. I haven’t done this yet this year. You are definitely a step ahead of me! Great job!

    • We have a short growing season here. I get to be done before many other parts of the country, but I also have frozen ground in the spring when everyone else is tilling and planting in their gardens.
      Thanks for stopping by Lisa.

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