TOW: Tender Bulbs in Cold Climates -- or in containers anywhere

J.E. Shields
Sat, 12 Apr 2003 17:16:36 PDT
Ken Kehl is right in most regards.  The only quibble I might have is over 
the forms of nitrogen.  Nitrite is not generally available, as far as I'm 
aware.   The choices are usually between ammonia-based nitrogen (including 
urea) and nitrate based nitrogen, especially as potassium nitrate and 
calcium nitrate.  For bulbs, the nitrate is preferable to the ammonia 
based, since fungi can use ammonia nitrogen more readily than nitrates, and 
vice versa for plants -- nitrate is the preferred form for most plants 
under many conditions.

If you flush your pots occasionally with plain water, you will have a tough 
time generating fertilizer burn.  The salts in soluble fertilizers are just 
that -- soluble.  They dissolve and wash away when the pot is flooded.

Using granular slow release fertilizers is an entirely different 
situation.  I can't offer any advice on using such, because I absolutely 
refuse to do it.

I put "organic" plant foods in the same banned category but for different 
reasons:  Adding nutritious organic matter to bulb pots can encourage the 
growth of fungi and bacteria, which in turn can be the death warrant for 
delicate bulbs being grown far from their native haunts.

Regards and good growing!
Jim Shields
in central Indiana (USA)

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA                   Tel. +1-317-896-3925

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