Tulipa humilis 'Albocaerulea Oculata'

Gene Mirro mirrog@yahoo.com
Sun, 30 Sep 2012 18:29:31 PDT
Kathleen, the best bulbs I ever grew were on a place in New Jersey in nearly pure sand.  The local extension guy said that the sand was 23 feet deep!  When I first moved there, the tulips and daffs were in bad shape.  I started feeding them dolomite lime and bone meal, and they immediately starting blooming and multiplying.  A few years later, I dug up some monstrous tulip bulbs.  My veggies would grow like crazy, but they had no taste.  Probably some trace element deficiency.  

The problem with a soil with no clay is that it has no "cation exchange capacity".  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…  So it won't retain nutrient ions with a positive charge, such as Calcium, Magnesium, Ammonium, Potassium, etc.  You can fix this by adding clay, topsoil, humus, and lime.   

Some species lily growers on the east coast claim that they can grow Lilium washingtonianum in a pure sand bed.  Maybe, but I would mulch with bark to keep the soil temperature down.  Sand has great drainage, but it also gets very hot in full sun.  This leads to basal rot and bacterial diseases in the bulbs.

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