In the Garden: Spring prep & protection from critters

Published: Oct. 4, 2020 at 10:19 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - In this week’s segment of In the Garden, our Sharon Meyer and garden expert Charlie Nardozzi try to plant the seed that we should prepare our plants now for the upcoming spring.

Sharon: Well springtime may seem like it’s a long time away but it will be here eventually and you’ll be glad you planted some bulbs.

Charlie: Exactly, those gray days of April will be much more bright if you have some beautiful bulbs.

Sharon: Poking up through the snow.

Charlie: Oh nice and now it’s October so now is the time to plant them anytime in October usually mid-October or so is an ideal time. One of the problems though people tend to have with bulbs is they disappear

Sharon: Yes.

Charlie: And it’s because of mice and voles and chipmunks eating them in the fall and early winter. So we’re going to give you some ideas on how to take care of those little varmints.

Sharon: ( laughter) OK!

Charlie: The first thing is they really love tulips and crocuses.

Sharon: Oh those are my favorites, too.

Charlie: Well there you go-- good choice. But they don’t like other bulbs such as fritillaria and daffodils and alliums and grape hyacinths so you can just not plant tulips and crocuses and plant those other ones. I can see by the expression on your face you don’t like that idea.

Sharon: I want them all, I want them all!

Charlie: Or you can mix them all together and that way when they come munching looking for the tulips they might hit the other ones and think Ahh these aren’t so good will go somewhere else.

Sharon: OK.

Charlie: So that might work another thing you can do is put some additives in the hole when you’re planting them in October.

Sharon: So if you’re trying to plant a whole bunch of tulips do this?

Charlie: Yes, so if you really want tulips and crocuses do this. And these additives can be a number of different things. Mice, voles and chipmunks don’t like sharp objects so you can put some things in the hole that will prevent them getting your tulips so they could be everything from crush gravel, crushed seashells and oyster shells there’s a fertilizer that has crab and lobster shells in it that will work and be a fertilizer too. I like this material this is Castor oil and it comes in a liquid or a pellet form they don’t like the strong smell of this so what you do is just sprinkle it around in the hole

Sharon: OK.

Charlie: Before you put your bulbs in and hopefully the smell will keep them away and then you just bump your dump your bulbs in.

Sharon: Dump them in. You’ve got to turn them right side up.

Charlie: That’s right pointy side up! Put them in that way make sure the pointy sides are up and just bury them hopefully that will protect them through this fall so you have tulips next spring. Now if you’re really desperate and you’ve got some really beautiful bulbs you can make a cage out of hardware cloth get half-inch mesh hardware cloth make a little cage out of it put your crocus or your tulips in there and bury the whole thing.

Sharon: Nobody’s getting through that! Charlie: nobody’s getting through that!

Charlie: Nobody’s getting through that and the bulbs can grow right through the holes and so you’ll definitely get some flowers in the spring from that.

Sharon: Perfect!

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