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Proctor's Garden: Planting bulbs for the spring

Plant most bulbs with about five inches of soil on top.

DENVER — Spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips, hyacinths and daffodils must be planted in fall. A winter chill is part of their life cycle. 

Take advantage of sales on bulbs. If your soil has not yet frozen, plant them in the ground. Put five bulbs in a generous hole for a "bouquet style" effect. It's much more impressive than dotting them here or there. Plant most bulbs with about five inches of soil on top. 

If you don't have ground--or if deer or rabbits are a problem--plant bulbs in pots. Plant them closely and cover with four or five inches of soil. Water them well and keep them moist all winter. 

The pots can be chilled in a garage, shed, crawlspace, cold basement room or window well. Even though these bulbs are hardy in the ground, it's just too cold in winter if they're in pots with cold air attacking from every side. You can also dig a trench and place the pots in it. Fill in soil around the pots to insulate them. Cover them with more compost or soil.

After 12 to 16 weeks--depending on conditions--the bulbs with send up sprouts. At that point, bring them onto your patio, deck or balcony. You can protect them from critters and enjoy these lovely spring flowers.

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