Bulbs need balanced diet

Backyard Q&A

November 01, 1998

Q. Should I fertilize my bulbs when I plant them? Is bone meal really the best thing for them?

A.Bone meal is a good source of phosphorus, but bulbs are like all other plants in that they require nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium for good growth. Broadcast and incorporate a balanced fertilizer according to label instructions before planting, broadcast the fertilizer on top of the soil after planting. You can reduce amount of fertilizer if you incorporate compost into the bed.

Q.A neighbor gave me some lemon grass and rosemary plants from her herb garden. Can I grow them in garden soil in a sunny window?

A. No to garden soil; yes to the sunny window. But you may need to supplement winter's low natural light with a spotlight holding a "grow" bulb. Dump out the garden soil and repot the plants in a container with a light, soil-less growing medium. The rosemary will also benefit from daily misting if you have forced-air heat.

This week's checklist

Drain pond pumps and remove fragile statuaryto avoid freeze damage.

Garden tips are provided by the Home and Garden Information Center of the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Maryland. For additional information on these questions, or if you have questions of your own, call the center's hot line at 800-342-2507, or visit its Web site at www.agnr.umd.edu/users/hgic.

Pub date 11/1/98

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