Fall chores tend to be bittersweet — harvesting the last of the veggies, putting the garden to bed, packing away the hoses and the hoes. But there’s one truly hopeful autumn task: planting bulbs. In a season that’s all about shutting down, bulbs are our one reminder that, yes, there is something called spring. And, yes, it will come. Eventually. You can plant bulbs right up until the ground freezes, but who in their right Minnesota mind would want to do that? Buy your bulbs now, and get them in the ground as soon as you can. Some tips:
• Plant (pointy side up) at the recommended depth. In general, the bigger the bulb, the deeper it goes. There’s no need to fertilize, but do water.
• Want flowers as soon as the snow melts? Plant minor bulbs — crocus, Siberian squill and the aptly named snowdrops.
• Got deer? Plant daffodils. Deer don’t seem to care for them.
• Want a natural look? Plant large bulbs (tulips, daffodils, hyacinths) in uneven numbers. Plant minor bulbs in large drifts.
• Lazy? Go for minor bulbs, which reliably rebloom year after year.
• Tend to procrastinate? Go for tulips. Even if they’re planted late, they usually make it through the winter just fine and put on a dazzling show come spring.
— Connie Nelson