fertilizers--thank you

Kathy Stokmanis vikingdoc@earthlink.net
Thu, 19 Feb 2004 10:10:37 PST
Thank you, everyone, for your responses to my question.  I have to fight the tendency to overwater and overfertilize, so a twice a year application of a slow release fertilizer is an attempt to protect my bulbs.  I use a VERY porous mix for the same reason.  Last year I had success with banishing summer dormant bulbs (Calochortus venusta, Scilla peruviana, Dichelostemma ida-maia to name a few)  to an out of the way part of the garden so they did not get water (other than a once a month sprinkling, thanks to some posts I read here about letting many bulbs get too dry).  All of them came back during the fall and winter, though the deer munched the Scilla and Muscari.  

It is very useful to get information on websites and other references.  I have bookmarked them all.   I found the original reference I had lost thanks to Mary Sue.  During the Fertilizer TOW Lee Poulsen referred to a previous discussion about slow release fertilizers, though the comment was not discussed further.    The site suggested by Tom Wells answered my question and increases my concern about 'burning' my bulbs during the intense heat of summer here.  Even some summer growers seem to move into a type of dormancy just to survive, unlike my experience in other parts of the country that get less hot, so they would not be able to use the extra fertilizer released during hotter periods.  I have to water very carefully during July and August.  I don't have a sand bed I can plunge my pots in to keep them cooler and I can end up with bulb mush if I water too much.

Some members suggested the thought-provoking idea of whether to fertilize at all.  I do repot every other year and add compost to the beds.  Perhaps I will experiment as my stock of bulbs increases.

Kathy Stokmanis, zone 8/9, Northern California, Sierra foothills
Sunny today after four days of rain and 9 inches of water.  Another reason for very porous mixes.  Temperatures in the 40's and 50's, 60's forecast for the weekend, definitely spring.

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