|We are nearing the end of July, yet it feels like our summer
weather has just begun. Though we may have had some days with sunshine, the
temperature has been quite cool. The visual here on the farm is very different
from that of our spring months. The garden
is full of dahlias and zinnia with sprinkles of petunia, lilies, daisies, and a
couple rows of roses. We may not have an abundance of these blooms like we do tulips and daffodils, but we
do have enough to fill our garden and make it a beautiful walk through if
you're looking for something to do this summer. Our gift shop is open and full
of fun décor and dishware for both outside and in, along with fresh cut flowers
and some of our first bulbs
that can be purchased on the spot!
that bring us the spring blooms are
undergoing some of their most purposeful procedures right now. The last of the
tulips have been harvested and are now undergoing the next steps so they can
not only make it back to our fields and beautiful display garden, but right to
your doorstep in the fall! We generally get two questions this time of year: what
do we do on the farm with the bulbs after the blooms are finished and, what
should you be doing at home? Grab your cup of coffee while you read on for a
rundown on bulbs!
We like to say there are seven stages to a tulip bulbs life
and you can check them out right here.
You'll notice these stages all take place when a tulip bulb is planted in the
ground. The processes listed below give us a closer look at what happens between
stages 5-7, and take us beyond, to what happens when a tulip bulb is above the
· topped/deadheaded (green stem and leaves are left),
· harvesting (foliage turns brown, time to dig),
· processing (bulbs are separated and cleaned), and
· cure (drying the bulbs).
Topping the tulips is a must! When a tulip bloom hits
the end of its life, the petals will start to fall off. If you've ever left
your blooms in a vase for a little too long, the tiniest move or bump will
cause their petals to drop off. Yes, they are often still at the height of
their beauty when a petal or two may fall in the field or the garden, but the
topping is critical for a couple of reasons. The first being so the wilted
petals do not fall on the foliage of the flower. If this happens, they can rot
and cause disease. All it takes is one unhealthy flower to infect hundreds of
thousands of bulbs. The second reason, when the bloom is almost over, we want
all the energy to go towards growing the bulb. If we leave the head on, it will take
energy away from the bulb even if it is near the end of its bloom.
Should you top your tulips at home? YES! It
is beneficial for you to top your tulips once you notice the first petal fall
at home for the same reason we do it on the farm.
Harvesting takes place after the foliage of the tulip
starts to brown. Green foliage means the bulb is still growing, but brown means
it is complete. Once harvesting can begin, a bulb digging machine heads out to
the fields lifting the bulbs two rows at a time from the ground. The bulbs are
separated from the soil and fill a truck where they are then brought back to a
warehouse. The bulbs in the garden are harvested by hand, just like they are
Do I have to harvest my bulbs at home? In
short, no. Do we recommend it, YES! Depending on where you live and what tulip
varieties you have (i.e. Darwin Hybrid), there's a likelihood that they will
come back without touching them at all. However, for best results, digging your
bulbs will give you a better chance of them producing a beautiful bloom the
Processing begins when our bulbs are taken to the
warehouse after being dug from the fields and gardens. During this step, our bulbs
are dried, cleaned and graded for quality and size. Often, we will run the
bulbs through this step a couple times to ensure our customers receive the best
of the best.
What does "processing" look like for me at home?
It's actually quite simple! After you've lifted your bulbs from the ground, feel
free to brush off the soil. You may notice that what was once one bulb, has now
become multiple. We call these "bulbletts." Do not worry about separating these
until you go on to plant them in the fall.
Curing - Finally, our bulbs are cured throughout the
summer. We place the bulbs in large bins that allow air flow and good
ventilation, so the moisture is taken out of them. Like many things, too much
moisture can cause rot or mold, neither of which points to a healthy bulb. The
bins also help to keep the bulbs out of direct sunlight. Oddly enough, bulbs,
like people can get burned from too much sun exposure, and though we haven't
tried it, we're pretty certain sunscreen wouldn't do the trick. Instead, we
keep them shielded from sunlight altogether.
How should I store my bulbs at home? Use a
container that allows air flow around your bulbs - a mesh bag, nylon, or grated
tray. After you've placed your bulbs in their ventilated container or bag,
leave them be in your garage, laundry room, or even basement until it's time to
plant them in the fall.
You can see that the beauty in the spring is due to the
preparation and care that is given the remainder of the year. For more tips and
tricks make sure you continue to follow us and stay up to-date on our
happenings via Facebook
and Instagram @Roozengaarde. We wish you all happy harvesting!