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Storage After Arrival
Unpack immediately upon arrival, ventilate if not immediately planted. Store at 58-65°F. Do not store with fresh fruit, vegetables or other ethylene producing products.
Valentine and Easter Forcing
This is the most important step and can be done according to various methods:
1. Plant bulbs immediately upon arrival (approx. mid-September) in pots or flats. Place in cooler at 48°F. Bring into greenhouse January 5-10. OR
2. Dry precool bulbs (not planted) at 480F until mid-October in pots or flats and continue cooling at 48°F. Bring into greenhouse January 5. OR
3. Obtain "precooled" bulbs, plant in pots or flats approximately mid-October and continue cooling at 48°F. Bring into greenhouse January 5.
After planting keep bulbs at 48°F until the roots grow out of the bottom of the container. When the roots show, drop the temperature to 41°F. Maintain this temperature until early January at which time, depending on sprout development, the temperature needs to be lowered to 34°F andheld until brought into the greenhouse. If no cooler facility is available, the bulbs can be planted outside under a 6" layer of sand and straw cover. This method is only recommended in the Northern states where outside soil temperature is cold enough to make it possible to do this.
For Valentine - start in greenhouse January 10, grow at 58-65°F.
For Easter - start in greenhouse 4 weeks before Easter, grow at 58-65°F.
Plant bulbs outdoors so that soil is 4-6" above. the bulb nose (ndoor forcing, plant bulbs at soil level) Any commercial soil or soil mix can be used as long as it has good drainage and allows for undisturbed root growth. Soil pH level should be 6-7 and should have a low soluble salt level.
The following soil mixes have shown the best results:
Fafard #2, Fafard #3-B, Fafard #4, Metro 350, Metro 360, Metro 500, and Fison Sunshine #4.
Use 40-100 bulbs per square yard - space bulbs about 3-6" apart. Exact spacing and planting depth depends on the bulb size.
Water every other day. Always make sure that watering is done directly into the container and not over the crop.
Fertilize in the greenhouse only - not in the cooler. Use calcium nitrate at a rate of 2 lbs per 100 gallons of water.
Generally this is not a concern for Valentine forcing, however, for Easter a spray application of 500-2000 ppm Florel may be needed to control height or a drench with topflor when grown in the greenhouse. See Cornell Hort website for details and application rates.