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Proctor's Garden: Last call for bulb planting

Bulbs need a winter chill--it's part of their life cycle--so you'll need a cold place to store them.

DENVER — The window is closing to plant. Spring-flowering bulbs must be planted in fall. 

No, you can't save your bulbs until spring. They've already been out of the ground for months. They're not rocks. They will dry out and die. 

The soil along the Front Range and eastern plains haven't yet frozen. You can still plant bulbs in the ground. Tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, and alliums all perform well in Colorado gardens. Tulips are often eaten by deer and rabbits but the other four are rarely bothered by critters. 

If you don't have ground, you still can plant bulbs. Use gallon plastic pots. Fill halfway with soil, add bulbs, then cover with soil. Because bulbs need a winter chill--it's part of their life cycle--you'll need a cold place to store them. It's just too cold outside for bulbs planted in pots. 

Use your ingenuity. A cold basement room, garage, shed, porch, crawlspace or window well will work. It can get chilly--down to 25F--but not into subzero temperatures. It also can't be too warm as this will not fulfill the chilling requirement of the bulbs. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Depending on your conditions and how our winter goes, the bulbs will start to emerge in 12 to 16 weeks. Bring them outside. You can enjoy them blooming on your deck or patio in April and May. 

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