my bulb forcing experiment: part 1

Last September, after a long year of making planting an business decisions on the fly, I decided that I should try to force bulbs for early sales this year.  I was exhausted by autumn, but this last push was going to get me sales earlier than I ever have before.  Locally grown flowers, in Milwaukee, on Valentine’s Day. Fantastic! Well…. It didn’t really work out like I had planned. Image

There’s my crates with nothing in them. I had my doubts about forcing bulbs this early in the year. For many varieties they just have not had enough winter but I was hoping that some earlier flowering bulbs would cooperate, mainly hyacinths and crocus. Well they didn’t. The hyacinths have not even sprouted. They have roots and the bulbs still seem to be in good shape so I am going to stick them back outside and see if I can get something for later this spring, maybe Easter. Now I did not put all of my eggs in this Valentine’s Day basket, while I am prone to rash decision making, I am not entirely crazy. I did make a schedule and plan to pull in more crates next month for March and April blooms. Tulips, hyacinth, muscari and crocus from the middle of March to the end of April. Fingers crossed.

5 thoughts on “my bulb forcing experiment: part 1

  1. Interesting! My bulbs all started chilling November 1, and I have been pulling in pots every weekend since about January 25th. Everything’s coming up great – hyacinths take about 3 weeks to bloom, and I’m still waiting on the muscari. Because of space issues my set-up is a little different than yours though – the bulbs have been sitting in pots in big tubs full of leaves in my unheated garage, which hasn’t dropped below 15 degrees, even during those bad cold snaps. One other difference (which may have accidentally jump started everything, lucky mistake) was that I brought all my tubs into the 55 degree basement during that first early January cold snap, because I didn’t know how cold the garage would get. They then went back out for a few more weeks. Sorry for the novel, just interested in other WI growers doing similar things!

  2. That is good to hear. Where do you keep them for blooming and what temp? I have also suspected that my babies aren’t warm enough. Maybe only 55-60 degrees. I am going to leave a few inside and see if they come up eventually.

  3. They’re in the coldest room of the house (besides the basement) which is a sort-of sun porch. It’s about 50-55 degrees I think, with a northern exposure for light. I learned the hard way a few years ago after bringing some into a standard 65-70 degree house – everything got tall super quick and flopped over.

    Hope the ones you kept in pop soon! One thing to try may be bringing some into a “halfway zone” like an unheated garage to see if they send up shoots. Once they’re poking about 2-3 inches out of the soil they’re pretty much guaranteed to bloom. Just bring them in, water them and watch in amazement at how quick they green up!

  4. So sorry you didn’t have some flowers for V. day just to make it feel like spring. Once bulbs have their required chilling (about 15 wks for most….), they really pop up when moved to warm temps. 4 -5 wks for muscari and bleeding hearts. Seeing all that snow….! We could use the moisture but I’m glad I’m not digging out the high tunnels! Muscari will be blooming in the tunnels the last week of March!

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