By Karen W. Kovacs
Photo by quicksilver_
The last time I recall thinking about “culture” as a verb dates back to a biology lab and brings back memories of petri dishes, bacteria, pipettes and writing a lab report. I had not thought about “culture” in terms of the action describing my ability to grow or cultivate a plant until I started searching for dahlias to purchase for my flowerbeds.
Used in the context of eradicating polio and the Plants to End Polio world-wide fundraising effort, to culture a seed or bulb means to first order bulbs through this site, plant them and provide everything they need to grow.
As you daydream about late summer and fall blooms in your garden or landscape design, remember that now, spring, is the time to get those summer flowering bulbs ordered so that they will be planted in time to fulfill your visual fantasy.
Guess what? Brent & Becky’s Bulbs have made culturing super easy for anyone, including those of you fearful that you may not have a green thumb. You can check out their Summer Flowering Bulbs Cultural Instructions on their website. Then look through the catalogue and start making your list.
Highlights from Brent & Becky’s suggestions include first and foremost that since “there are no absolutes in nature or horticulture,” try not to go against Mother Nature. Choose bulbs or plants that will almost certainly work in your area to give you a head start on the most success. They describe which plants grow best in your geographic zone.
Improve your soil. Get it right. Get it good. This is the most cost effective step to assure gardening success. And they give tips for how to do that.
Familiarize yourself with the needs of the bulbs, tubers or rhizomes that you want to order. Some can be planted immediately; others need to wait for warmer soil or can be planted indoors. Hints are printed next to each plant.
Finally, consider applying a slow release fertilizer after planting. If your soil is well amended, you may not need to fertilize. They even make a recommendation for a specific product that has worked well for them so that you don’t have to guess or do more research.
There is no time like the present to get started. I had complete success in my first endeavor to force bulbs this winter ~100% success~ and they were beautiful. Now that I know some of these growing recommenations, I’m mixing and adding to my compost pile in between trying to decide which dahlias will make my order list. And though no one can guarantee that your plants will grow, the tips and hints from Brent & Becky’s certainly help.
Remember, 25% of the purchase price of your order will be donated to End Polio Now when you designate Gloucester Point Rotary Charitable Foundation through the Bloomin’ Bucks program. And then that contribution gets matched 2:1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, so your $100 order means $75 goes to help eradicate polio ($25 from Blooming Bucks + $50 from Gates Foundation)…and you still end up with 100 bucks worth of cultivars to cultivate!
Author Karen W. Kovacs is a member of the Gloucester Point VA Rotary Club. You can help eradicate polio by making a purchase at www.PlantstoEndPolio.org or with a contribution to Gloucester Point Rotary Charitable Foundation (Plants to End Polio) P.O. Box 421 White Marsh, VA 23183.