It's 20 degrees this morning. I think I'm done in the garden for 2013 UNLESS...

Asked November 11, 2013, 10:17 AM EST

It's 20 degrees this morning. I think I'm done in the garden for 2013 UNLESS we get another fall/winter surprise. So... I have two hydrangea shrubs, three blueberry plants and a bag of 50 tulip bulbs that never got planted. Is there a way to overwinter the plants and use the tulips between now and spring?

Ramsey County Minnesota tulips perennials

1 Response

It's hard to overwinter tulip bulbs indoors. I suggest that you go ahead and plant them now - the ground hasn't frozen yet. You should plant them deeper than you would normally have done if planted in Sept. or Oct. Water thoroughly and mulch them heavily. You might want to consider covering the mulch with chicken wire - squirrels are storing up for winter, inquisitive (newly turned soil seems to send out a siren to them), and frankly, ruthless!

Or, you could pot them up and keep them in an unheated space (like a detached garage) until Jan or so. You can them bring them indoors and begin lightly watering them to force their growth.

It is also late for any permanent shrub planting, but you can consider "heeling in" these plants:
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/ho-100.pdf
http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/info/heeling-in-plants.htm

In any case, if we get enough snow cover this year, and if the temperatures do not plunge very low, you may be able to save some, if not all of these plants, but if you do nothing - at this point you will have surely lost them all!

Good luck, and please contact AaE again if you have further questions.