bulbs in pots over winter

C3fnn@aol.com C3fnn@aol.com
Wed, 07 Dec 2011 14:47:39 PST
Hello Uli,
Thank you for sending your method of planting potted bulbs in the ground. I 
 also have lost many bulbs to voles and mice; these rodents seem to use the 
mole  tunnels to devour fleshy roots during winter. Your plastic-container 
method  sounds effective and practical--thank you for sharing!
HZ 5
In a message dated 12/7/2011 5:34:36 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
johannes-ulrich-urban@t-online.de writes:

Hello  Carol,

This is a very good method I use EVERY year. I cannot grow  bulbs like
tulips, crocus or hyacinths in the open ground as I have a lot  of
rodents that will eat them all the time. so I plant them in big  pots,
bury the pots lower than the rim and cover the pot hermetically  either
with wire mesh or a suitable other material to stop the mice  from
entering the pots from above. Then an extra layer of soil to  protect
from frost.  In spring I check for growth and when severe  frosts are
over I unearth the pots and put them where I want them to  flower. I add
long acting fertilizer as well.  Normally I can re-use  the same bulbs
for at least one more season, but tulips tend to degenerate  very quickly
(I suspect virus) and will not flower any more in the third  season.
I am not sure if it is a good idea to unpot the bulbs in full  growth in
spring, this may cause root disturbance. Some bulbs may be  more
disturbed by this than others. Maybe if this is done at an early  stage
of growth this might be less harmful and using a compost that makes  good
rootballs that do not fall apart when unpotting may also  help.

I do the same with summer growing bulbs like lilies and Gladiolus  as
they are prey to rodents as well. But these pots are stored in my  cellar
in winter. For lilies I have tried a new method this year (sucessful  so
far): here in Germany we can buy cheap big containers made of a  solid
but flexible black plastic, They are made for builders to mix  concrete
and the like and contain about 100-200 litres. I cut the bottom  off, dug
an appropriate hole, covered the bottom of the hole with good  quality
wire mesh and sunk the bottomless container with the rim just  exposed. I
ensured the mesh fitted tightly to the walls of the sunken  container.
Filled up with good compost and planted valuable Lilium. My  rodents
usually come from below and so far the lilies are there and have  grown
well, needed some extra water in dry spells, but this saves me  carrying
yet another big pot...... and the rim is barely  visible.

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