Tips and resources for farmers and gardeners
Bulbs for Winter Blooms
To add a bit of color to the dull days of winter, consider starting a process known as "forcing bulbs.".
It is possible to get bulbs like daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, and crocus to bloom indoors during January, February or March.
"Forced bulbs" are those which are induced to flower at something other than their normal time. The process is relatively simple and involves five basic stages or steps.
Loose pack the pot, water the bulbs, and then find a way to expose them to cool temperatures (between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 13 weeks.
These temperatures might be achieved in a cool north room, basement, bulb cellar, outdoor trench, cold frame or refrigerator. If a refrigerator is used, food products should not be stored in the refrigerator while the bulbs are being chilled.
The purpose of the chilling stage is to allow bulbs to produce a healthy root system and to elongate their flower primordium in advance of being forced to bloom.
The actual forcing of the blooms can take an additional three to four weeks. Put the pots in a bright window where temperatures are around 60 degrees.
When flower buds are almost fully developed, pots may be moved out of the bright window into the living room or other area of the home so they can be displayed and
Source: Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist, University of Missouri Extension
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