...Bulbs & Seeds...


Bulbs

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Fall Bulbs (Spring Flowering)

Planting bulbs in the fall will bring colourful springtime flowers to send off winter with a blaze of colours. Tulips, Daffodils, Narcissus, Hyacinths, Allium, Crocus (spring and fall flowering), Fritillaria, Snowdrops, Grape Hyacinths (and more!) usually arrive by Labour Day weekend in September. The best selection of fall bulbs is early to mid-September; however you can plant until the ground is frozen.


Naturalizing bulbs will multiply year after year creating a larger patch. Naturalizing bulbs such as Daffodils, Narcissus, Crocus, Allium and Hyacinths are great planted amongst perennials and shrubs. Try planting Daffodils with Hostas: by the time the Daffodils are done flowering, the Hostas have grown and will cover the foliage of the bulbs so they can die back naturally to re-bloom next spring. Whereas other bulbs, such as Tulips, are best planted yearly as they produce large showy flowers in their first year.


Fall Bulbs are Eligible for Applicable Perennial Card Discouts!





-open/close- -open/close-How to Plant & Care for Fall Bulbs

Choosing your Bulbs

Look for bulbs that are large for their variety and firm to the touch. Most spring flowering bulbs will be marked as either early-spring, mid-spring or late-spring bloomers. Select some from each group to extend your flowering season, or select bulbs that will bloom simultaneously to stage one big spectacular display!

Choosing and Laying Out your Site

The majority of bulbs are very easy to care for if planted in a suitable location. Choose a site in full to part sun with loose soil and excellent drainage; most bulbs prefer sites that are a little on the drier side. For a formal look, plant masses of bulbs closely together in distinct areas of your garden. Have fun experimenting with different shapes, patterns, and colour combinations! For a more natural and informal look, scatter bulbs among your late blooming perennials and shrubs to add splashes of spring colour.

Planting

Fall bulbs can be planted anytime up until the ground is frozen. After you have loosened your soil, dig a hole of the appropriate depth for the bulb you are planting. Hand trowels, dibbers, and specialty bulb planters are all fine tools to get the job done. Many gardeners also appreciate gloves when handling bulbs, as many bulbs (like Hyacinths) can be irritating to the skin. If you are planting groupings of bulbs, consider digging one big hole or trench instead of several smaller ones to save labour. See our tip below for advice on bulb spacing and planting depths. Mix a handful of compost or a sprinkling of blood meal or bulb fertilizer into the soil at the bottom of your hole to add nutrients. Place your bulbs in their hole with the root end down. Some bulbs, such as Fritallarias, need to be planted on a slight angle to prevent water from pooling up inside and rotting the bulb. Your bulb's package directions should indicate when special instructions like this are necessary.

Once your bulbs are in place, gently fill in the hole with soil. Be mindful to keep your bulbs in their upright positions! After planting, consider scattering a few handfuls of hen menure around your planting site to deter hungry squirrels from digging up your freshly planted bulbs. All bulbs appreciate a generous layer of mulch. Water well and wait impatiently for spring to reveal the fruits of your labour.

Maintenance

Once in place, most bulbs are wonderfully easy to care for. Remove spent flowers by cutting just below the bloom. Bulbs need their leaves left in place to recharge themselves and form the following year's flowers, so leave the leaves and stems in place until they turn completely brown. In the fall, established bulbs appreciate a topdressing of compost or a sprinkle of garden fertilizer.

Naturalizing bulbs such as Narcissus, Crocus, and Hyacinth are examples of bulbs that increase in size and multiply over the years in the garden. Most Tulips, however, bloom best and biggest in their first spring. Many gardeners choose to treat their Tulips as annuals and pull them up every year after they're finished flowering, planting fresh ones in the fall for optimum display. Naturalizing or wild Tulips however, do multipy with passing seasons and will spread to form an expanding clump over the years.

Dividing

Dividing bulbs is an easy way to propagate your favorite varieties and rejuvenate any overgrowing plantings. After your bulbs have finished their flowering cycle and their foliage has faded for the year, dig up the clump and shake off the excess soil. Remove the offsets (small bulbs growing off of the parent bulb) for planting.

Lifting and Storage

Hardy fall bulbs do not need to be lifted at any time of the year, but many gardeners choose to dig up their bulbs after their spring bloom to make room for summer bedding plants. Be sure to wait until the foliage has died back as much as possible before lifting your bulbs. Dig up your clump and shake the bulbs free of soil. Clip back any remaining foliage and allow the bulbs to dry. Store the bulbs in a cool, dark, dry spot packed in a breathable container. Try to store your bulbs so that they are not touching one another. If moisture creeps in and rot sets into one bulb, it can quickly spread to its neighbours if they are packed in too tightly. Check on your bulbs periodically for signs of rot and discard any that look unhealthy. Replant in the fall once your bedding plants have been removed.

-open/close- -open/close-Planting Depth & Spacing

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The general rule of thumb for planting bulbs is to plant them with their base sitting at 2.5 to 3 times the diameter of the bulb. A similar rule can be applied to spacing, with most bulbs requiring about 3 times their width between them and their neighbour. You can plant your bulbs closer together for a lush, more dramatic display if you wish, but leave adequate space if you want your bulbs to naturalize and multiply. Most bulb packages will indicate the precise planting depth and spacing for the variety you have purchased.


*This chart is for general reference only. Please consider the individual sizes and exact varieties of your bulbs when determining your planting depths. Please always refer to the package directions where available.


-open/close- -open/close-Forcing Bulbs Indoors


"Forcing" is a term used to decribe the process of stimulating a plant to flower early or outside of its natural season. Triggering a plant to flower early is usually achieved by inducing a cold period to simulate winter's chill. To force your bulbs, plant them in moist potting soil in a pot at least 6 inches deep. You can pot one or several bulbs into each pot. Don't be afraid to plant them close together for a lush display. Place your pots in a cool, dark environment that does not freeze, such as an unheated garage or a spare refrigerator. Most bulbs need to be chilled to about 9°C (50°F) for a period of 12 to 16 weeks, but the chilling time will vary between bulb varieties. Your bulbs will need periodic watering during this time but should not be kept soggy. Once your bulbs develop pale shoots, they are ready to come out the cold and you can start gradually introducing them to light and warmth. Your flowers aren't far behind!

Bulb Variety

Cooling Time

Hyacinth

11 to 13 weeks

Tulip

13 to 17 weeks

Narcissus (Daffodil)

12 to 15 weeks

Crocus

14 to 15 weeks

Muscari (Grape Hyacinth)

14 to 15 weeks




Amaryllis Bulbs

Amaryllis are beautiful with very unique flower which starts from a bulb and usually sends up a tall flower stalk prior to the leaves, giving the common name of “naked lady”. Amaryllis come in an assortment of colours including red, pink, white and bicolour. They make great gifts at Christmas time! At Belgian, our Amaryllis bulbs arrive in November with over 30 varieties to choose from. We also offer Amaryllis kits with pot and soil included so they are ready to plant or gift. 


Spring Bulbs and Tubers

Dahlia, Gladiola, Begonia, Hybrid Lily, Calla Lily, Freesia, Agapanthus just to name a few! Spring bulbs and tubers are planted inspring; either early indoors then planted outside when chance of frost and cold temperature has passed, or directly outside when the chance of hard frost is gone. They will flower that summer adding attractive colour to your garden. In the fall, some varieties will need to be lifted and stored in a cool, dry location for thewinter months; read below for further details. At Belgian our spring bulbs and tubers arrive mid-March and are available through April. Some varieties can sell out quickly.

-open/close- -open/close-How to Plant & Care for Spring Bulbs

Choosing your Bulbs

Look for bulbs and tubers that are large for their variety, firm to the touch, and free from mold and rot. The best selection of these beauties can be found in mid-March.

Starting Early

Many bulbs can be started indoors in late winter or early spring before temperatures outside are suitable. Agapanthus, Begonias, Dahlias, Oxalis, Ranunculus, and Callas all make beautiful houseplants until they can be planted out in the garden. Be sure to gradually introduce your plants to the elements once the risk of frost has passed and harden them off before planting as you would your spring annuals.

Choosing and Laying Out your Site

The majority of bulbs are very easy to care for if planted in a suitable location. Choose a site in full to part sun with loose soil and excellent drainage; most bulbs prefer sites that are a little on the drier side. For a formal look with big impact, plant masses of bulbs closely together in distinct areas of your garden. For a more natural and informal look, scatter bulbs among your perennials and shrubs to add seasonal splashes of spring colour.

Planting

Spring bulbs can be planted once the risk of hard frost has passed. Your bulb's packaging should indicate the optimal planting depth and spacing for the variety. After you have loosened your soil, dig a hole of the appropriate depth for the bulb or tuber you are planting. Hand trowels, dibbers, and specialty bulb planters are all fine tools to get the job done. Mix a handful of compost or a sprinkling of blood meal or bulb fertilizer into the soil at the bottom of your hole to add nutrients. Place your bulbs in their hole with the root end down.

Once your bulbs are in place, gently fill in the hole with soil. Be mindful to keep your bulbs in their upright positions! After planting, consider scattering a few handfuls of hen menure around your planting site to deter hungry squirrels from digging up your freshly planted bulbs. Water well and wait impatiently for summer's warmth to reveal the fruits of your labour.

Maintenance

Once in place, most bulbs are wonderfully easy to care for. Remove spent flowers by cutting just below the bloom. Bulbs need their leaves left in place to recharge themselves and form next year's flowers, so if you intend on keeping your bulbs leave the leaves and stems in place until they turn completely brown. During the growing season, many spring bulbs appreciate an occasional topdressing of compost or a sprinkle of garden fertilizer.

Dividing

Dividing bulbs, tubers, and corms is an easy way to propagate your favorite varieties and rejuvenate any overgrowing plantings. It's best to divide your tender bulbs before planting out in early spring. For true bulbs (like Hybrid Lilies), remove offsets (small bulbs growing off of the parent) for planting. Tuberous roots (like Dahlias and Begonias) can be divided by cutting into segments. Each segments must have at least one bud or eye. Cure the cut pieces in a dry place for a couple of days before replanting. Corms (like Freesia or Gladiolus) produce offsets similarly to true bulbs. These offsets can be dug up and replanted to propagate. Rhizomes (like Callas) can also be divided when the plant is not in flower. Dig up the rhizome and divide so that each section contains at least one fan of leaves. Discard any leafless sections and replant immediately or put into storage.

Lifting and Storage

Many tender bulbs can be saved for the following year if dug up and stored before winter frosts. Gladiolus, Dahlias, Cannas, Freesias, and Begonias are all good candidates for lifting. After the first light frost in the fall, dig up your bulbs and shake them free of soil. Clip back any remaining foliage and allow the bulbs to dry for a couple of days. Store the bulbs or tubers in a cool, dark, dry spot (such as a root celler or an unheated garage that does not freeze) packed in a breathable container. Vermiculite, peat moss or spagnum moss make excellent packing materials. Try to store your bulbs so that they are not touching one another. If rot sets into one bulb it can quickly spread to its neighbours if they are packed in too tightly. Check on your bulbs periodically for signs of rot and discard any that look unhealthy. Replant in the spring once the risk of frost has passed.

Seeds

At Belgian we have a full seed selection from January through August, with select varieties of seed available the rest of the year. We have thousands of varieties from vegetables and herbs to annual flowers, perennials, heirloom varieties and sprouts. We also carry seeding supplies such as seed trays, soiless potting mixes, coir pellets, misters, and fertilizers.

We carry bagged lawn seed from spring to fall; However we do not sell lawn seed in bulk.


-open/close- -open/close-Starting Seeds Indoors

Starting your own seeds can be a cost-effective and fun way to get your garden growing! The dizzying array of seeds available to modern gardeners is spectacular, and growing from seed is a fun way to learn more about plants and explore new or unusual varieties. Vegetables are some of the most satisfying and popular plants to grow from seed. There is a marvelous selection and many unique varieties that you will never see in the grocery stores; the number of tomatoes, peppers, and squashes alone is staggering! Starting from seed also allows you complete control of any/all products and fertilizers that are used on your plants – a big advantage for those committed to organic or pesticide-free gardening.

Start Small & Timing
It’s very easy to let your enthusiasm get the better of you while leafing through the glossy pages of a seed catalogue. Keep your seeding quantities manageable - seed only what you can easily commit to caring for and make sure your seedlings have plenty of room to grow. You and your plants will be much happier that way! Timing is absolutely essential when starting seeds. Seed packets indicate the best time to start by referring to the number of weeks before last frost; in our area, the last frost usually comes around the end of May. Count back from the Victoria Day weekend to estimate the optimal time to start your seeds.

Setting Up
Seeds can be started in almost any container of suitable size that is clean (preferably sterile) and has good drainage. Small yogurt containers with holes drilled in the bottom work well, as do plantable coir pots. Do not use a pot that is too large; excess soil can hold too much moisture and encourage rot and mold. Seed trays are perfect for growing larger numbers of seedlings and many come with a plastic dome to help contain humidity. Most seeds require relatively constant moisture when first sprouting. Other types of containers can be enclosed in a clear plastic bag until sprouted. Remove this covering for ventilation once the leaves have emerged.

Let There Be Light!
Good lighting is, also, absolutely essential to growing strong seedlings. Even in a space with excellent natural light, supplemental lighting is usually a good idea. Give your seedlings 12 – 18 hours of good strong light each day. Special horticultural lights will give the best boost to your growing plants but standard fluorescent bulbs do the trick, too. Keep you lights about 4 – 6” above your plants and be prepared to raise the lights up as your seedlings grow.

Temperature & Ventilation
Most seeds germinate well in average house temperatures. Some seeds, however, require a little extra heat to sprout. Special seed heating mats are great for seeds that need that extra couple of degrees to wake up. Check your seed packets for temperature recommendations. Once your seedlings are growing, slightly cooler temperatures can help slow them down and keep them strong and compact. Extra ventilation, such as a small fan on a low setting, is also beneficial at this stage. Good airflow helps prevent mould and fungal diseases and encourages plants to stay good and stocky.

Watering
A good watering schedule is extremely important to young plants. Be prepared to check on your seedlings 2 or 3 times a day so they do not dry out. Be careful not to keep your seedlings too wet either, and the potting mix should never be soggy or soupy. Seedlings are delicate and require a light touch; a mister or fine spray bottle is a great way to gently water without flattening delicate sprouts. If possible, avoid watering late in the evening. Young plants do not require fertilizer until they have 3 or 4 growing leaves. Use a weak solution of fertilizer every two weeks, but only once plants have started growing vigorously.

Spacing & Thinning
As seeds grow, they will need more space to spread out without overcrowding. If your seedlings are in individual pots, you may need to space them out a bit, while seeds started in plug trays or smaller pots may need to be potted up into larger containers to be comfortable until planting time. Often (and especially with very small seeds) you may end up with more seedlings in your pots than you intended. As cruel as it may seem, these extra seedlings have to go for the greater good of your crop. Cutting them off at the soil level is usually the best method, as pulling up seedlings can disturb the tender roots of those you intend to keep; this applies to plants seeded directly in the garden, as well. Some thinned vegetable seedlings make great micro greens for salads (broccoli, beets, beans and peas, for instance).

Hardening Off and Planting Out
Now it’s time to take your carefully raised seedlings and introduce them to the outside world. But all that care and attention you’ve lavished upon them for weeks may have left them a bit spoiled! Seeds started in the perfect comfort of indoors need to be “hardened off”: acclimatized to the wind, sun, and temperature variations of outdoor living. To harden off your seedlings, gradually introduce them to the elements over a few days. Leave them outside for a few hours on the first day, then bring them back inside. The following day, leave them outside all day long and bring them back in at night. The next day you can bring them out in the morning and leave them outside all night long. By the fourth day, they are ready to move out into the garden permanently. Be sure to consult the weather forecast before planting your seedlings out. Most will be very sensitive to frost. Some crops (eggplants, melons, and peppers come to mind) like the soil to be quite warm before they get planted out. I usually wait until about mid-June before planting heat-loving crops like these.

 

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