WHEN the bright stars of Crocus ‘Golden Yellow’ opened in my window garden this week, the frozen tundra outside seemed an illusion. The sunny blossoms look picture-perfect on the broad sill in my upstairs bath, nestled among a collection of ferns, vines, and pink and white cyclamens. Need a crocus forcing-tutorial? This one works for me:
In October, plant 10-12 bulbs one inch deep in a 6-inch pan (a “pan” is a shallow clay pot intended for bulbs) of well-draining soil. Then submerge the pan to its rim in a sink or dishpan of water until the soil becomes quite wet.
Next, set the bulbs in a cool, dark location (35-45F) where they can go about making roots. I rely on my spare refrigerator in some years, and the cellar or mud-room closet in others. The bulbs merely need a place that stays reliably cold and dark for their rooting-duration. Check the bulbs every other week, and provide them with just enough water to maintain even soil moisture.
To insure a fine future in the garden outdoors, snip off faded blooms, but allow the plants to remain in a sunny east or west window. Keep them watered and fed until their yellowing foliage signals dormancy. At this time transfer the bulbs to a cool, dark, and dry location. For me, this means the cellar. In October give the bulbs a permanent position in some sunny spot outdoors. In two years’ time they will bloom as if they had never been forced in a window garden.
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