Doubtless, as for many others, it feels like the whole family is starting to suffer from cabin fever. With all the current restrictions here are a few suggestions for jobs that we can do in the garden right now. There is only so much television one can watch.
All the persistent heavy rain this winter can leave a surface crust on the soil, known as soil capping. It is important to lightly rake any affected areas or just loosen the soil with a garden fork. This will allow water to penetrate to plant roots and help aerate the soil. There is not much rain in my local forecast which makes it important that I check my pots and containers once a week to make sure they don’t dry out. Once they start growing spring bulbs do consume a lot of water.
Many of the spring bulbs, especially where they have been undisturbed for four or five years will benefit from lifting and division. Large clumps competing for water and nutrients can lead to a lack of flowers, bulbs coming up “blind”. As a bonus, you get to increase your stocks. For the smaller bulbs, while they are in “the green”, spring is an ideal time to do this. Many are hard to find if the job is left until the autumn. Below are the main considerations to bear in mind.
Only divide the clumps when the bulbs have finished flowering. Much of the energy needed to bulk up the bulb will come from the sugars in the plant, not just the roots.
This is a job to do when the ground is damp. If you have a dry area water an hour before you start.
As far as possible try and lift the bulbs as one clump. Gently break the soil apart into clusters of half a dozen bulbs if they are small and immature, or single bulbs where they are of a good size.
Prepare the ground thoroughly working in any additional compost as required and replant the bulbs to the same depth as they were originally planted.
Give them a good watering and look forward to next year’s show.
A bit windy, but I have to get outside into my garden,