Updated: Nov 26, 2020
In some ways the warm weather this winter was a worry for flower growers, particularly when they thought about their tulips. Tulips need a cold period to flower, so I'm glad that Dave Dowling from Gloeckner suggested that I order the pre-chilled bulbs to ensure the proper cold period had been achieved.
This was the first year that we were able to plant a large number of tulips, using the raised beds that were built last year for the dahlias. I am so sold on the idea of raised beds that I'm beginning to see them as a solution to many problems. The soil on this farm is heavy, heavy clay and planting tulips is not a fun task on cold fall days. The raised beds out in front of the barn are perfect for the bulbs as they receive full sun and are permanently protected by a true deer fence. Tulips are very demanding, however, and we cannot replant in the same location for seven years, so we will have to rotate them around the various raised beds.
We planted around 1,000 bulbs in the fall of 2019 and they sprouted up well and began to flower in the late winter. We had the same issue as many other growers this year--that of short stems. Fortunately, we are not selling to florists with the needs they have for longer stems and our mason jar bouquets worked perfectly well with these shorter tulips.
One of the biggest surprises that most people have when seeing how we harvest is learning that we pull the entire bulb with the flower connected and store it. This allows us to hold the tulips for longer periods of time in our cooler. We were able to use tulips in bouquets for weeks after they were harvested.
After the success of this year's tulips we plan to order many more for planting in the fall and will have them for sale in the late winter and spring of 2021.