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Try Growing Bulbs Indoors

GROWING BULBS indoors is a type of gardening that can be enjoyed by everybody. You don't need a vast acreage, a lot, of money tor upkeep or, as a matter of fact, very much knowledge. Yet the results of bulb-growing indoors are always highly gratifying. And, in addition, you can watch the day-by-day development of the plants. This Is the time to get started. There are several bulb varieties suitable for bulb forcing but tulips, daffodils and hyacinths remain the most popular. This also seems to be true of outdoor bulb growing. For forcing purposes the largest size will prove most advantageous. This seems especially true of hyacinths, the small or bedding size being of very little value comparatively for Indoor culture.

One of the most important factors concerned with pot culture of bulbs is adequate drainage. Unless excess moisture can flow rapidly from the container the bulbs may rot. Although bulbous plants thrive on ample water supplies, they are not aquatics. They will not develop properly in soggy soils and the bulbs, because of the large mass contained, are quite susceptible to rotting, Drainage is easily installed in the average clay pot or comparable container. The drainage hole in the bottom of the pot should be covered with a piece of curved broken crockery. The curved section should face upwards. Then add a layer of broken bits of crockery. This situation will prevent the soil from clogging up the drainage hole, will encourage free exit of excess moisture and provides for a certain amount of aeration.

A MODERATELY rich garden loam slightly on the alkaline side will suffice for a potting mixture. Thoroughly decomposed manure can be added but make sure It is no longer hot. Bulbous plants can be forced well only after a system of well-established roots has formed. One of the best ways of encouraging this condition is to sink the pots in a ditch.

Make a trench about six or eight inches deep, just narrow enough to accommodate the planting containers. Before setting the pots in this ditch water the soil thoroughly and do not let the compost dry out afterwards. The pots can then be covered either with soil or peat and topped off with leaves or peat.

If this type of culture is not convenient the pots can simply be stored in a dark room. Keep out light and heat. The temperature should not exceed fifty degrees for best results.

BULBS CAN also be planted in fibre, rather than making a soil mixture. Bulb fibre is sold by most garden supply dealers and is economical and clean. The pot that is to be planted should be filled to the top with the fibre, then saturated with water and all excess moisture squeezed out. Then plant the bulbs. Add water about every two weeks and more frequently after the roots are well established.

It is advisable to keep the bulbs In a cool environment until about the first of February. The early varieties can then be introduced to a temperature of around 65 degrees. Keep them well shaded for the first week; after this more light can be added and watch the soil moisture content carefully; it must not be allowed to dry out. More heat can be allowed and in approximately one month the flowers should appear. As the tops develop you gradually add more light and heat.

Care needed to avoid too much light which may cause the flowers to appear prematurely; the result being a flower squatting on a very short stem. To discourage this formation, place an inverted pot over the plant, thus keeping out the excessive light. Such treatment allows the stems to grow to their proper height in advance of the flower opening stage.

Hyacinths and daffodils such as the paper white and golden paper white can be grown just in water. The hyacinths should be placed In regulation hyacinth glasses and the narcissus in shallow bowls, the bulbs being supported in place by pebbles or small rocks.

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