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Tools to plant bulbs.

Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

Do one fun chore for fall

  • Article by: CONNIE NELSON
  • Star Tribune
  • September 28, 2011 - 9:00 AM

Most fall chores are of the knuckle-down-and-do-it variety. It's hard to get too excited about ripping frost-zapped vegetables out of the garden, cutting back perennials or dumping your once-colorful containers into the composter.

And once you're done, there isn't much to look at. Unless your aesthetic runs toward clear-cut beds and empty pots, putting the garden to bed doesn't offer much promise or visual appeal.

Maybe that's why we get to plant bulbs in fall. It's our one truly hopeful autumn task, our one reminder of renewal in a season that's all about shutting down.

Plus it's easy. All you have to do is get them in the ground (pointy side up) while the soil is still workable. There's no need to fuss with fertilizer, though a good watering after planting helps.

Here are some very basic bulb basics:

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 (snowdrops, crocus, Siberian squill) in large drifts.

Lazy? Go for minor bulbs, which reliably rebloom year after year.

Tend to procrastinate? Go for tulips. They can be planted right up until the ground freezes -- if you really want to be in the garden by then.

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