SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

November 8, 2013

Do cocoa bean shells make good garden mulch?

(Continued)

You might want a very low stool to sit on while planting. Consider using a kneeling pad to protect your knee joints; even an old pillow or a rug stuffed in a plastic garbage bag will help protect your knee joints.

As you choose your spot to plant, remember that you will have to allow the foliage to mature and brown before you cut it later in the summer, and it could look messy. Mark your plantings so you can plan to plant other plants to camouflage the dying bulb foliage, and so they won’t be mowed down before the foliage matures in late spring.

Plant bulbs about three times the depth of the bulb or even slightly deeper. Deeper planting gives bulbs more protection from rodents and freezing weather. Plant bulbs in groups rather than in rows. For a natural look, scatter bulbs and then plant where they fall. Plant with the root end of the bulb down and the pointed end up.

Fertilizer isn’t necessary the first year they’re planted, but plan to use it every year in the future. Just scatter the fertilizer over the top of the planted area and water in well.

If you have severe problems with small rodents digging and eating your bulbs, you can lay a layer of chicken wire or hardware cloth over the planting surface, or plant bulbs in wire cages, which are sold in garden centers, to protect the bulbs.

Finally, haul out the garden hose and give your bulbs one last drink before winter.

There is still plenty of time to plant bulbs, so buy some more of them! You can plant until the ground freezes. You never have enough bulbs — buy just a few more or try a new color. You won’t regret it in the spring!

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