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Growing Tulips - planting guide

How to Plant Tulips: Planting Bulbs for Success

Tulips: How to Plant Guide

There is nothing that brings in Spring like a mass of beautiful tulips growing in your garden. But How do you plant tulips? Are there techniques to. make sure they thrive, bloom and return? Here is a quick Planting Tulips Guide for any gardener, with some tips and tricks.

How to Grow Tulips 101

Before you plant your tulips

Growing tulips is not super difficult, but there are a few things you need to consider. Before you get started:

  • When to Buy Tulip Bulbs – In most zones, you can plant your bulbs in Fall. It’s best to buy your bulbs ahead of time (most suppliers ship in early fall).
  • How to Store Tulip Bulbs – If you receive or buy your bulbs and you are not ready to plant, store them in a dry, dark and well ventilated area.
  • Where Should I Buy my Bulbs? – There is a huge (literally) different between the bulbs you buy at your local home store, and ones you can purchase from a flower farm or online importer. You want to make sure you buy from a quality source, and we recommend you buy size 12+ bulbs.
  • To Chill or Not To Chill – most tulips need 5-8 weeks of chill at or below 40 degrees F in order to bloom. If you live in warmer areas where the environment will not provide this tulip chilling period, you will need to put them in your refrigerator.

Prepping your tulip panting bed

You have to provide a happy home for your tulip bulbs. What does that mean? Choose a well draining area, that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Here are some required steps for your tulip bed:

  • Loosen the soil with a tiller or garden fork down to 18 inches.
  • Add compost to give the soil a healthy texture and nutrients.
  • Fertilize with a 9-9-6 mix. Bonemeal is the best fertilizer for tulips and most other bulbs.

Planting the Tulip Bulbs

Tulips are fairly forgiving, and different varieties have different spacing and depth requirements. A good rule of thumb is 4-6 time the size of the tulip bulb in depth. As far as spacing goes, we like our tulips in tight bunches, and typically plant 1-2 bulb widths apart or 3 or so inches for a full look. You can use a bulb dibbler/dibble or a garden scoop for small quantities, or for larger areas, just dig a flat area at the required bulb depth.

Make sure you place the bulbs pointy side up to insure fast growth. Tulips will still grow if planted upside down, just a bit slower 🙂

That’s it. Wait for the bloom and enjoy!!

Best unique gift list for gardners

2021: Gardening Gift Guide

Unique Gifts for Gardeners They Will Love

We started our Celtic Farm Gardening Gift Store because the “gifts for gardeners” selection online was limited, of low quality and similar across sites. In running our small flower farm, we needed quality tools, quality garden apparel, and quality options for spreading our love of gardening…essentially, a great set of stuff for us, and gardening gifts to spread the love.

As we expand our offerings, and take feedback from our great customers, our goal is to get better and better, and provide you with a broad set of options for both women and men gardeners.

Here is a quick list of some new and old gardening gifts that are amazingly popular:

  1. The Apron – about 18 months ago, we worked with a handful of manufacturers to test samples of garden aprons. This was our second product idea, and we wanted a durable, fashionable apron that was functional for the gardener or florist. Since then, we have sold thousands of these great aprons, with an amazing string of 5 star reviews. This is a great gardening gift for any gardener, and an amazing “tool” in the garden.
  2. The Journal – I wanted a better way of keeping my notes, plotting my dreams and future endeavors on the farm and for our property. The spiral notebook does little to inspire, and gives me flashbacks to school. We worked hard to find the best quality, flexible journal system that was in market, and now offer our Gardening Journal. With three types of paper, and endless expansion capability, it is already a winner on our site. A great and unique gardening gift any gardener will cherish.
  3. The Gardner’s Tool Belt – Here in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, it gets just plain hot in the summer. No, I mean like hot hot. Wearing an apron while sweating profusely during chores just doesn’t cut it. So we created a “Bat Belt” for the gardener. A small gardener’s tool belt, that is lightweight, waterproof, and has enough storage for your primary tools. Our Garden Tool Belt is a sure winner as a gift for any gardener.
  4. The Garden Tool Set – “Most gardener’s already have tools.” Investing in a nice set of tools is rarely something a gardener will do for themselves. They’ll use that cheap plastic handled trowel, or that cultivator they picked up on sale at the hardware store that has a loose head. A great gardening gift is a nice set of hardwood and stainless tools. You can view our gardener’s hand tool set here: Celtic Farm Garden Tools

This is just a short list of great gifts for gardeners. Take a peek at our store to see more. Gifts for Gardners at the Celtic Farm

January Winter Garden Checklist

What To Do In The Garden In January

A January Garden Checklist

Looking for a Garden Checklist for January? We are now just two months from Spring, and right now the ground maybe frozen, with snow falling and crisp winter winds blowing through our patch, but the promise of warm growing weather is on the horizon. Here is a “What to do in the Garden in January” list to help guide your time.

  • Take care of your birds in winter, and they will take care of you all year. Birds are amazing natural pest control, and can help with grasshoppers, aphids and other painful pests. Putting out seed and treats for them will keep them in the area and they will help you all year.
  • Plan your garden. I love to grab my garden journal, a cup of coffee and head out on the property to plan, sketch and dream. Plan new beds, get rid of old ones and come up with some fresh ideas for the garden in spring.
  • Order bulbs and seeds. The seed companies know you are tucked away in a warm cozy house, dreaming of spring blooms. We usually have no less than 10 catalogs laying about, and order sporadically as we come up with our garden plan.
  • Prune your rose bushes. This is a great time to get out your favorite pruners or garden scissors, and shape your collection of roses while they are still dormant.
  • Prune and shape perennials. If you have not done so, this is the perfect time to trim back and shape those forgotten perennials (like lavender). Be sure not to go down to the old woody growth. This will provide for amazing growth in spring.
  • Prune fruit trees. – Winter is a great time to. prune and shape your pear and apple trees.
  • Prep new beds and amend old ones. – Here in California, the ground is warm enough to work in amendments and prep new beds for planting. Adding mulch, fresh compost and the like and covering with straw can help create a warm and plentiful environment for worms and smaller helpful critters.
  • SHOP!! – While seeds and bulbs are fun to buy, we love to buy new garden tools, gadgets and aprons/apparel to give us something to look forward to in spring. You can browse our garden item and gardening gift selection for you or someone you love.

Garden Journal and Diary

The Garden Journal: A Diary for a Better Garden

Garden Journaling to Reproduce Success

Being organized in our gardens and on the flower farm is a constant challenge, and over the past few years I have started a new habit with a new tool: The Garden Journal. Taking notes, drawing bed layouts, creative sessions and the like have helped create new landscapes and areas on our property, and have also resulted in some beautiful new additions and varieties. Think of it as your creative space, where you can plan and outline the steps to a new year of gardening. It’s also great for those of us that have become forgetful with age :). So, before I give some suggestions on what to put in your garden journal, let’s take a quick second to define the qualities of a great gardener’s diary or journal. These are compiled from my own trial and error, and are a complete personal journaling preference, but hopefully they help you choose the right one.

  • Bound garden journals are creatively limiting. – I’ve tried a number of bound, static journals, and I have found that they are always a set way of planning or thinking based on the designer. You should be free to add pages, clippings, new page types, sections and anything else at a whim. A free, open binder type is refreshing and allows creativity in your journal setup, as well as it can change over the seasons or years with you.
  • Make sure it is has a water resistant cover. – i started out years ago with a spiral bound, el cheapo journal left over from the kid’s school year. The garden is a wet dirty place, and water and pen journal pages don’t mix. Spend some extra moola and buy a leather covered journal. Leather naturally repels water, is a pleasure to hold and will last years. And there is just something about opening a leather journal that makes the creative juices flow.
  • Use pencil, not pen, to journal and change. Making changes is part of the gardener’s ethos, and pencil let’s you take an eraser to paper, and make changes on the fly.
  • Use different paper types. I’ve come to realize that for me, a journal requires different types of paper to force a mood: blank for creativity, lines for structure and thought, and a grid for planning. This is just me, but i finds it puts me where I need to be as I add content.

Ok, so now that we have a quality garden journal to create a diary of our daily thoughts, just what do I put in it? Mine is a mix of science, methodology and idea. The best part is you can choose what you put in, and what you leave out. Here are some ideas for journal content:

  • Science – Ok, like it or not, the garden is like a big science experiment: Ph, depths, distances, mixes, sizes and types. It is also a series of trial and error experiments, based on elements and combinations, and recording results. I am sort of a geek, so logging what i plant, soil characteristics and the end result interest me. Once again, maybe not your thing, and the best part is, you can omit this section of content ;).
  • Design – some people can just walk out and build a great garden without a plan. For me, I need to have a layout, plan and overall design. The journal. becomes your record and plan to a new or better garden. Logging dimensions, varieties and a list of seed, bulbs and plants makes sure your grand idea becomes reality. Easy way to make a shopping list.
  • Dreams – what do you want your garden to be? Nothing helps develop your long term vision like a journal. Jotting down ideas, must haves, wants and more provides a reference as you build your garden over the months, seasons and years. The garden journal is definitely a creative space for all those things.

Just a quick set of thoughts. If you want to start journaling your garden experiences and thoughts, see our Leather Garden Journal and Diary.

A checklist for the winter garden in December

Things to Do in the Garden In December

A Checklist for Winter in the Garden

As Winter wraps us in her cold arms, there are still many things that need to be done to provide the best garden results when we usher in Spring. If you don’t have a Winter Garden Checklist, here are some things to consider and complete.

  1. Order Seeds. Ok, why not do the most enjoyable thing right away. If you are like me, you have a ton of seed catalogs piled up, just waiting to be dog-eared and marked. Start your garden plan, and order any seeds and spring bulbs you might care to plant. There a number of flower seeds you can sow in January (Delphinium, Calendula, Bachelor Buttons, etc.), so plan and sow!
  2. Prune your bushes and trees. If you have not already done so, prune and shape your roses, lavender, fruit trees, etc. The lack of leaves makes it easier to shape and find dead branches. (We have a great pruner for all types of chores: Best Stainless Steel Pruners for the Garden)
  3. Feed Your Garden Friends. We love our birds, and feeding them year round can pay great dividends in natural pest control come growing season. The lack of food in the winter makes any bird feed a welcome gift for your feathered friends.
  4. Dig up any remaining tubers. Here in California, our Dahlias don’t die back until mid to late December. Any tubers that remain in the ground that you want to divide and propagate. Dig them up, pack them and store them until spring.
  5. Garden Tool Maintenance. We love our tools sharp and clean, and winter is the perfect time to put your tools to sleep fresh and clean. You can read more on garden tool maintenance here: Care and Maintenance of Garden Tools.
  6. Protect delicate plants. Certain plants just don’t do well with harsh winter cold. For dahlias left in the ground, apply an additional layer of mulch or straw, for tree like citrus, cover them with burlap or an insulating material.
  7. Hydrangea treatment. Want a pleasant surprise in Spring? Change the pH in your hydrangea soil and see the beauty of blue or pink, depending on your preference. You can read more here: Changing Hydrangea Color
  8. Plan a New Garden. Here at Celtic Farm, we are always planning, planting and shuffling. Last year we put in a new lavender field. This year we are adding some growing areas and landscaping around our new storage barn/shed.

Definitely not a complete list, but some things we are working on right now I thought I would share this to do list for the winter garden.