Ground is frozen. Menards has bulbs on clearance. What to do?

mrbrownthumb(z5 Chicago)December 7, 2005

Just came back from Menards where I noticed they had all their bulbs on clearance. The thing is that the ground here is frozen.

Do any of you buy bulbs under similar conditions and if so what do you with them until spring.

Any help would be appreciated.

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blueheron(z6 PA)

Are these spring-blooming bulbs, like daffodils?

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 8:04PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)


I bought 5 of the colored 'collections' and a bag of tulips 2 weeks ago, (Menards had super discounts on them!)and now my ground is frozen also and they aren't planted, along with some others I traded for.

What I'm going to do, is pot them up (will have to bring in the frozen bags of potting soil) and then just leave them out over winter...may sink some in a mulch pile. Then during the spring thaw, I plan to sink them in the ground where I had wanted to plant them anyway. After they have bloomed and the foliage has yellowed, I'll then plant them permantly.

I say 'go for it'! You won't find them that cheap for a loooooong time.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 10:10PM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

Well...since it's the midwest, you could buy bags of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, mix it with fuel oil, put scoopfuls everywhere you want to plant bulbs, put a firecracker in each scoop, light and run like blazes, then plant in all the craters you made...

Okay, probably a VERY bad idea. I'd pot the bulbs up, and put them in a cool, but frost-free place (about 40° F) until March, then bring them out to start them growing.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 10:36PM
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mrbrownthumb(z5 Chicago)

Yeah spring bulbs. So many too chose from too.

Thanks for the suggestions. I think I'll do that. I may keep then like you suggested. Do you think they'd need watering? Or should I allow the soil to dry out? Anyone know if you could keep them in the veggie drawer?

LOL that sounds like something I'd consider doing. I eyed the propane tank and the roofing blow torch for a while wondering how long it would take me to defreeze the ground.

I guess I will go back and get more of the Bearded Iris 'Music Maker' for a black garden I'd like to grow.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 11:32PM
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gdionelli(z6 WV)

Along a similar line, I got all but 5 of my spring and summer flowering bulbs planted before the ground froze. Those 5 are pink tiger lilies. They are in my garage right now, still in the little bit of peat they came in. Suggestions? I've never potted lilies before -- not sure they'd look good in a pot.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 12:42PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

How can you tell if the ground is frozen? I'm in the Chicago area too. It's been really cold for days. I've been assuming that it could not be frozen very far down until a really long sustained freeze. Am I wrong? I'd like to know. I have bulbs left too.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 1:55PM
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gdionelli, if you can't get them into the ground, then they should be fine in a pot. Last month I picked up a bunch of daylilies on clearance at one of the orange big box stores; most aren't hot varieties, but then, most are going out by the street, so don't want to invest a fortune there. Anyway, two were huge clumps growing in good-sized tubs, maybe 18" across, and they looked very healthy, still did after planting, and one even bloomed. I imagine they could look very nice blooming in a pot, but come spring you could sink that pot in the ground until they're ready for transplanting.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 5:45PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

MBT, I don't know about the iris, they're not really a bulb. I think they might need to put down roots to survive. Since they are planted near the surface they will be fully exposed to the cold. I would check on the Iris forum before buying more of them.

I bought the black "Music Maker" Iris too! From Lowe's. They are still in the basket with the tulips I didn't get planted. I will plant them when I can but expect nothing from them.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 8:44PM
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mrbrownthumb(z5 Chicago)

Linnea, if you can plant them still in you area then I say go for it. But I tried to put a shovel into the dirst yesterday and it was not going to happen. It was frozen solid and now with this storm I don't think it will happen. Unless I use some TNT. :0)


    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 10:34PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

MBT, I did look at the iris forum. Apparently some people HAVE had luck planting them late when they had no choice. Check it out if you haven't already. I guess if they want to live they want to live.

Thanks for doing the shovel test for me! I've got a good 5 inches of snow here, as I imagine you do too. I will take your word that it's frozen under there. I plan on just watching the weather carefully for whatever approaches a thaw. If I don't get one in a week I'm going to pot them all up and store in the garage. Then plan on moving them out the first thing in spring.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 1:48PM
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And I was complaining about the 41 degrees here! It's supposed to be 68 on Sunday so I'm going out to do some planting. In my longjohns!
Call me a wimp!
Good luck to ya'll!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 11:22PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

68 degrees.... disgusting. It's not nice to rub it in like that.

Unless of course you invite us down for a day at the shore!!

It's probably too late, but like a lot of people in the gardening world I run by the phrase "buy first, worry about planting later"

Sure there are plenty of people who go out and buy plants that they need, when they need them... and then plant promptly and properly.... I'm surely not one of them.

I have used the excuse of needing a specific plant to get clearance to go out to the nursery, but almost always come back with something totally different.

Last year's potted fall bulbs did great. I potted them up, watered them in, and stored them in the garage frost free for a few weeks before letting them freeze solid. In the spring they thawed out and sprouted well. I kept them in the garage all winter until sprouts were showing and then put them outside. Avoid water getting on the pots while the soil is still frozen, it rots the bulbs.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2005 at 8:27AM
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I'm amazed, doesn't anybody who has thoughts about putting bulbs into pots and placing them out of doors think about their pots....let alone the bulb inside it.
How can a bulb that needs to be watered when planted, go into a pot and have the pot not freeze its *** off and burst the pot?

Into a pot yes,....but not left outside. Into the cool place, the 40....45...50 degree place and left there for the required ...minimum 12 weeks....14 for a hybrid tulip which takes us into March at which time they come out into the sunshine of a window to flower. Keep the soil moist.
You can plant 5 in a 6" pot and if tulips is what you are planting, put the flat side of the bulb outwards to the rim.
This will cause the first leaf forming to point out.
Oh, and also, don't push the bulb into the soil....make a hole and put the bulb into the hole, minimum 1" of soil under it. Then cover the bulb.
Leave about 1" below the rim to accommodate watering. And it should drain.

When the bloom has faded, the bulb in the pot can then go outside to finish its yellowing and planted in the garden just like all the rest are.

I don't know whether I can believe the weather report from WBBM.....or WGN.....but those Chicago radio stations say it got down into the single digits last night and they don't expect any improvement until the weekend.

Steve and Johnny make for good listening.WGN...why not call them up and ask them if they think you can still plant bulbs in the about the Professor...
Milt Rosenberg...WBBM....great listening.

Gotta think the ground in Chicago is as frozen as it is in least enough to prevent digging in to put a bulb. But if you can access a pick-axe, and can dig down the rquired...6"....8"...then that'd the place to put the bulbs.
Cant imagine any bulb being left outside to fend for itself through a northern winter if not in the ground.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 5:24PM
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