Sunday, January 10, 2010

Rhubarb and Tulips

Rhubarb, tulips and a pot of hyacinths might seem a slightly odd combination in January, but they were the highlight of my gardening today. Stopping by my Happy Valley Community Garden to retrieve a few of my pots of forced bulbs, before I had even reached the mulched area where I had stowed them away for the winter, these tiny red shoots of rhubarb poking through the ground caught my eye. Not sure last summer if the chunks of rhubarb rhizomes that I dug out of that dry garden would even survive, but obviously they did. I took the time to cover these tender sprouts with more mulch to protect them from the remainder of our winter weather, but I love rhubarb and already my mouth is watering in anticipation of the tasty cobblers I now look forward to baking.

Removing some of the mulch from my bed of forced bulbs, I was delighted to see their pale shoots poking through the soil and their healthy root system sticking out the drain holes in the bottom of the pots. I selected three pots of tulips to bring home with me.
I also brought home one pot of hyacinths.
Forcing bulbs is very easy. In the fall, plant your bulbs in pots. Cover the pots with mulch and leave in your garden for 12 to 16 weeks. Once pale shoots are showing and there is visible root growth, you can bring the pots inside. Keep them in a cool place with low to medium light for the first four or five days and they will turn green. Then simply wait another three to four weeks and like magic, your home will be filled with beautiful blooms.

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