Fall is a great time to plant hardy (cold tolerant) bulbs, such as tulips, irises, daffodils, hyacinths, and crocuses. These bulbs typically flower in the spring, and can fill your landscape beds with beautiful, vibrant color and interest. What a welcome sight, after the passing of a colorless winter! Unfortunately, voles and other burrowing rodents find bulbs to be a delightful treat when other food sources are scarce during the winter months - YIKES! Voles don’t hibernate, and they’re always hungry. Read on to learn how to protect your beautiful bulb investment from these critters!
The best time to plant depends on your climate, as hardy bulbs need to be planted well before the first frost. Colder climates need to plant in early Fall, while milder climates can wait until late October or into November, once the soil has had a chance to cool down. Hardy bulbs need the cold to reach their full potential, so be sure to store them in a cool place if you’re unable to plant them right away. Before you plant, think about your landscape, and the look you’re hoping to achieve. Think about how the colors you are planting will look together, and with your existing surroundings. Once you have a plan, make sure your bulbs are in good condition. They should be large and firm, with no obvious damage, mold, or soft spots. Gather all of your planting materials, and let’s get started!
Your first step will be to prepare the soil. Make sure it’s loose and well drained. You may want to add in compost, peat moss, or a bulb fertilizer, depending on your specific needs. Next, grab a 3, 5, 10, or 15 gallon Vole King basket, depending on how many bulbs you are planting in your cluster. Using our wire mesh baskets will create a protected area, allowing a grouping of bulbs to be planted together. We recommend wearing gloves while working with Vole King - you probably already wear gloves while gardening anyway! For larger bulbs, such as tulips, you want to shoot for at least 12 of a variety, for smaller bulbs, you’ll want to plant many more….the more you plant in a grouping, the larger the visual impact, and the larger the basket you will need! Dig your hole to match the size of your basket, while planning to leave 1-2 inches of wire mesh exposed above ground.
Fill your Vole King wire mesh basket about half-way with your prepared soil. Place it in the hole you just dug, and arrange your bulbs in the basket. Be sure to read the package instructions for the proper planting depth, but the general rule is to plant 2 to 3 times as deep as the bulb is tall. Place your bulbs in the soil with the roots facing down, and the smooth point facing up. If you’re unable to determine which is which, place it on it’s side. Bulbs should not be touching. Once all of your bulbs are planted, cover with another layer of the prepared soil. Don’t forget to leave room at the top for mulch and the exposed basket edge.
Next, cover the area with a generous layer of mulch, you’ll need about 2 inches worth to protect the bulbs during the coldest months. It bears repeating, make sure you maintain your 1-2 inch Vole King barrier above the mulch to prevent voles from burrowing through! Your bulb investment is now fully protected! Be sure to water, water, water! Now sit back, enjoy those pumpkin spice lattes and peppermint mochas, and prepare to be wowed by your gorgeous Spring bulb garden!
We would love to see your Vole King protected bulb gardens once they emerge this Spring! Please tag us @vole__king and #voleking on Social Media!