crocus coming up in my lasagna containers

njitgradFebruary 22, 2014

This is my first season planting bulbs in containers. I have two containers in my garage that I planted lasagna style (crocus, daffodils, and tulips). I just started to see the sprouts of the crocus a couple of days ago (see pics from today below) and with the temps above freezing for the first time in weeks here in NJ, I decided to bring the containers out into the sun next to my garage. That is the right thing to do, am I correct?

Unfortunately this temperature moderation will be short-lived with colder temps in the 30s after the weekend and into the single digits on some nights this upcoming week.

My plan is to always bring the containers in at night, but taking them out during the day is a question mark if the temps will be below 32F. Will my crocus continue to grow without any direct sunlight for a few days in the garage when temps are below freezing and I can't risk killing the tulip bulbs that come up later?

I also have six containers that I buried in my raised garden vegetable beds which I covered with a thick layer of leaves and had burlap stapled over the frames to keep the leaves in to prevent the bulbs from freezing. Right now all of my beds are buried deep in snow so I can't even see them. When should I consider digging the containers out of the beds and moving them to the garage?

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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

All the bulbs you name, including the tulips, are well able to take temperatures at or below freezing. I'd be inclined to just leave them outside permanently. (Unless those pots are ceramic?) You could always throw some fabric or newspapers over them if you're concerned it will get very cold. BTW they look rather dry.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 12:58PM
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Really? I though tulip bulbs needed to be kept above 32F. At least that's what the company that I bought the bulbs from told me last season when I was inquiring about using containers for my bulbs.

As far as the soil moisture goes, I was also told that no watering was needed (except when I first planted them) while the containers were in my garage all winter long. But since they sprouted, what I did the yesterday was literally cover the tops of the containers with clean snow and allow it to melt in the sun to give the soil some much needed water. Maybe I need to repeat the process today? When I brought them in last night and brought them back out this morning, I could see wet spots on the cement floor of my garage indicating that perhaps I did water it enough yesterday?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 1:41PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Well it's total nonsense that tulips can't take a freeze. They are routinely planted out of doors in November here and in many other climates which can have freezing temps. Maybe the pot won't take it though. Or maybe they were talking about the pot and soil freezing right through for a long period?

And since the bulbs will be making roots even when you can't see any leaves of course they need water. You seem to have been badly advised by the company.

This window box of tulips was outside all winter last year when we had (for us) an extremely cold winter with several days well below freezing.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 2:47PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

And this was the scene a few weeks earlier.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 2:50PM
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Water as needed (I hope your pot has drainage). Don't allow to freeze thoroughly (will kill the bulbs). However, temps down in the mid 20s but which it warms up above freezing at night, might be even beneficial in getting blooms.

I realize this is a little late in advising you now...I just saw the thread...I hope they do well and bloom.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 8:13AM
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Another issue just arose...most mornings this week I have been leaving the two containers outside next to my garage. When I came home for lunch on Tuesday it appears that a squirrel decided to hunt for a snack in one of the containers. It did manage to pull up a few bulbs but I was able to salvage about 95% of what I originally had and fix the mess that it left behind. How do I keep squirrels out of containers in an aesthetically pleasing way?

For the bulbs that I planted in the ground it was simple. I just laid down chicken wire mesh (held in place with stakes) before covering with mulch.

However containers I'm not so sure how to approach when it comes to squirrel prevention especially since I have some crocus that is already emerging but the rest of the tulips and daffodils in the same containers are still a couple of weeks away.

By the way...of the bulbs I planted in the ground (and protected from squirrels) I did see some emerging bulbs over the weekend but now it seems like something chewed the green sprouts all the way down. Rabbits? If so, how can I keep them uninterested in my sprouting bulbs?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 8:51AM
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Well, I ended up putting chicken wire over the containers (trimmed to fit the round shape) and used bungee cord to keep it in place. Sooner or later I'm going to have to remove it. What should I do to keep the squirrels away???

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 3:05PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Two things have worked for me in keeping squirrels from digging in pots - and LORD, we have squirrels like you wouldn't believe:

They hate blood meal, so just sprinkle the soil with that, but it eventually washes away with rain or watering.

or better yet..

Cover the soil with pieces of lava rock. The sharp edges of this stuff really discourage squirrels from digging because it hurts their noses. Have you ever notices squirrels always have their noses to the ground? Seriously - this works like a charm. My neighbor had window boxes constantly being dug up by squirrels and when I told her about this technique the squirrels stopped digging completely. I use it for all my pots outside and have zero issues with squirrels.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 3:26PM
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After a bit more investigation I ended up purchasing the Havahart Deer/Squirrel spray from Amazon. I'm hoping it does the trick.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 9:04AM
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