Ask the master gardeners
Q: What can I plant now for a beautiful spring garden? Is it too late to plant spring bulbs?
A: Bulbs can be planted anytime in the fall before the ground freezes. They must be planted in the fall rather than in the spring because they require a long period of cool temperatures to spark the growth process that causes them to flower. In temperate areas like ours (USDA Zones 4-7), planting can be done any time between September and November.
For best results, plant bulbs as soon as possible after you purchase them. Your bulbs need to establish strong root systems before the frosts of winter set in and the bulbs enter a new cycle in preparation for spring blooming.
If you must store the bulbs before planting, keep them in a cool, dry place, such as a garage or basement. Warmth and moisture will signal the bulbs to start growing. Check on them occasionally to be sure they aren’t getting moldy or soft and plant them as soon as you can.
Carolyn Bow, Nanuet, master gardener, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland