Friday, September 2, 2011

Bulbs on a Budget

With the recent announcement that unemployment rates will hover around 9% through 2012, along with the ever growing concern over the long term economic standing of our country, frustrations can run high. So to help ride out these unsure times, people begin to look for deals. They do research to find the best quality for the best price. Gardening is still one of the most cost effective ways to beautify your home, ease stress, feed yourself and more. So, when it comes to bulbs, should you shop for price? Or should you shop for quality? The answer is "both".

Spring & Fall Flowering Bulbs
Quality of the product and company you get said product from can be determined in two ways: your opinion and the opinion of others. Do your research online with reputable gardening social sites such as Dave's Garden or See what other people are saying, see what they are getting, how it arrives, how it looks when it arrives, when they planted, how it performed, etc. Find companies who are of interest to you, then look them up by name online. There may be blogs such as Garden Rant or Dirt that are talking up certain companies or talking down others. Then the rest is up to you. Trial and error. Choose a company and place an order. Once you've chosen a company that, hypothetically speaking of course, has a LONG history of being dependable and offering the highest quality product through it's now 4th generation of service (wink-wink, nudge-nudge), you may also want to order some similar things from other companies so you can compare. Compare websites. Compare customer service. but most importantly, compare size and quality when it arrives. Then plant them. But what are you really planting?

Did you order varieties that are more perennial? Are they hardy for your zone? Do they need full sun and you have full shade? Do they like good drainage or wet feet? Is your soil sandy and loamy or hard clay with rocks? Are all of these questions making your head spin? Try a product search engine to determine your needs such as...(ahem)...this one! The BulbFinder allows you to select from a number of conditions that will help narrow down your choices for you. Do you live in Zone 7B in full sun with average soil and love the color red? Done. Do you live in Zone 3A in full shade with dry soil and love plants that were introduced in Europe between 1651 and 1700 that bloom in the mid-spring with the color red in it that are fragrant, pest resistant and considered a Brent and Becky's Favorite (the best of the best)? Done...but good luck finding results that specific. But you get the point! So, why is it so important to use this tool?

Mass Fall planting on the farm and home of Brent and Becky
Easy...we're busy. All of us. This will narrow down potentially thousands of choices to a more manageable size. But it also forces you to be aware of conditions. The title of this blog is "Bulbs on a Budget" and to get the most bang for your buck and not waste what money you may have left, consider those things that are hardy in your zone, love the lighting/soil/moisture conditions that you have and are the best performers. Annuals are nice, but in these questionable economic times, you want to have something perennialize year after year with little effort and money.

For more information on how to maintain your bulbs before AND after they are planted, download this Cultural Instructions booklet for Spring Bulbs and Summer Bulbs. Plus follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more information and ways for you to ask us for some help.

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