Even though it is fall, we Master Gardeners who volunteer in the Demo Garden at the Senior Center in Canton are preparing for spring by planting containers using a method called bulb lasagna. This is done by planting bulbs that bloom in the spring in pots in layers, thus the name, lasagna planting. It is a highly creative way to have a beautiful display of flowers that will last for a few months next year. Perhaps you would like to give it a try.

Importantly, you should plant according to the bloom time, which is stated on the package. The bulbs that bloom first will be in the top layer, the next to bloom are planted in the second layer and finally those that bloom last are on the bottom layer. On the very top of the planter will be winter annuals to enjoy during the cold months. We planted pansies along with Carex because we have lots of it to sell at the Senior Center.

Spring bulbs must be planted in the fall so that they can grow roots and prepare for bursting forth just when we humans are in need of a joyful break from winter. To begin, you will want to separate your bulbs into the three “layers.” Have ready: your container, potting mix, bulb starter fertilizer, and winter bedding plants.

When choosing the bulbs, the goal is to get those that will flower over the longest time. So be certain to read the labels when you are planning your creation. The container will be very full so consider the size when you choose your pot and bulbs.

To plant, begin by placing a layer of rock in the bottom of your container for drainage. Next, add potting mix to lower third of pot. Then, plant your first layer of bulbs, those that bloom last. Cover those bulbs with a two” layer of potting mix. Follow with planting the middle layer of bulbs that bloom before the last layer and cover with a two” layer of potting mix.

Follow with planting the bulbs that bloom first and cover with another two” of potting mix. This top layer of bulbs will be those that bloom first in the spring. On top of all these will be your winter annuals with more potting mix. Got it? I guess this would be called reverse engineering.

Always remember to water after planting anything to settle the soil and wet the bulbs. Keep in mind that bulbs do not like sitting in cold, watery soil so take care not to over water during the winter.

Some possibilities to consider for your bottom layer would be tulips or hyacinths. Next in line for the middle layer might be narcissus, daffodils, or anemones. Your top layer of bulbs could consist of crocus, snowdrops muscari, or even miniature iris. There are several winter bedding plants to choose from including pansies, violas, cyclamen and even parsley which you could use while cooking.

Except for the tulips, the bulbs should last several years. I suggest that you dig them up once the foliage dies back and let the bulbs dry out. Store them in your garage until next fall, keeping in mind to fertilize them with a small amount of 10-10-10 when planting each season.

As for the potting mix, we are taught to change it in containers every 2 years so that your plants can get fresh nutrients. Come by our demo garden anytime to see what is blooming. These three “lasagna” pots are located in the front of the building. I am already looking forward to seeing the layers emerge next year. Happy Gardening!

Suzie Thomas is one of many UGA Master Gardener Extension Volunteers of Cherokee County. For more information or questions contact the Cherokee County Extension Office at 770-721-7803 or for upcoming seminars follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cherokeemastergardeners or cherokeemastergardeners.com.

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