fertilizing bulbs

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@starpower.net
Fri, 08 Apr 2005 08:59:59 PDT
Bob Werra asked: Regarding bulb fertilizing, I have a naive question.
Does regular fertilization shorten bulb or corm life?

Bob, your question made me think two things at once. First of all, here's an
equally naïve answer: there are cultivated clones of Tulipa which have had
regular fertilization literally for centuries - and it hasn't killed them
yet. So I think it's safe to say, as a broad generalization, that
fertilization does not necessarily shorten bulb life. 

But here's another thought: I've been thinking about this question of
fertilizing bulbs a bit lately, and this idea popped up: why not see what
the experts, the real experts whose livelihood depend on the results, have
to say about it. 

I have not yet tracked down the experts, but for starters I'm considering
USDA publications on onion culture and Easter lily culture. Those are both
bulbs, and in the case of onions, bulbs in the big business sense. I'll bet
there are plenty of studies which have determined precisely when those bulbs
need fertilization and just what nutrients they need when. 

What follows is slightly off topic. Don't blame me for the dieresis on the
word naïve (if your email program displays it). That's another Microsoft
editorial effort, and it's one I don't like. Don't they know how the word is
really pronounced in English: neigh eve' is what I hear, as if the word were
spelled naiive. In other words, we're all mispronouncing it anyway. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where I enjoyed the first
chervil of the season with this morning's eggs.  

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