planting tulip bulbs

Asked September 26, 2015, 4:23 PM EDT

I made some garden beds this summer using "lasagne gardening" with newspaper to kill my grass with mixed soil and compost on top and a layer of mulch over that. I'm going to plant tulip bulbs in some of these beds later this fall. So here's my question: can I peel back the newspaper under the soil, plant the bulbs, then put the newspaper back on top? Will the tulip shoots be strong enough to punch through the layer of newspaper? I know much of the newspaper I put down will be soft and will partially decomposed so do you think in the weak places I can put fresh newspaper on top of the bulbs without killing the bulbs? Thank you!

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

The answer depends on how long ago you started these beds, and how deep the newspaper layer was and if it has been kept moist. How many bulbs you have is another consideration.

We'd suggest pulling back the mulch as a first step. That is what you want to save to put back on top.
Dig in and see the condition of your layers. Tulips are pretty sturdy, but if your newspaper is not partially decomposed or damp (it was a very, very dry late summer), we'd poke/dig through to put the bulbs in. You do not need to add any more newspaper.
How are you planning to plant your bulbs? You can use a bulb digger/planter, where you are planting one at a time, or if you have many bulbs, by digging down a whole area at a time and placing the bulbs within the area and then covering?
Adding a small amount of bulbtone or bonemeal for each bulb is beneficial but not mandatory.
The hard part is waiting until spring for your beautiful blooms! Enjoy.