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2023 Winter Tulip Season

The excitement of year one winter forcing.

So how do we get tulips through the winter?

Well..... it's complicated, labor-intensive, and just downright crazy! 😣 But as you see, it's possible and incredibly rewarding.

Here's a brief overview of how we're "forcing," the term used by the flower farming industry, tulips through the winter.

~ Plant bulbs in soil-filled crate.

   *This year we did dabble in hydroponic, aka water grown, tulips. More of that to come next winter. ,

~ Provide the optimum cold weeks by storing crates in our walk-in cooler

~ Bring crates into a mild environment with lighting once the cooling weeks for that variety have been achieved

That all sounds pretty straightforward, right..... Well....not! So many factors affect the successful growth of tulips. Cooling weeks, root development, humidity, temperature, and the amount of light all play a role in what should be perfect harmony. When growing outdoors, nature takes care of everything for us, but when growing in a controlled environment, we humans are much less attuned.

Failure is inevitable. Even though this is the third year I have forced tulips through the winter; and 2023 is the first winter tulip season for Blooms in the Burbs, this year I still have had 6" stems due to not providing enough cooling weeks; I have had buds that rot when first forming due to not providing enough water while they were receiving their cooling; and I have had stems fail right at the moment I thought a variety was ready to harvest due to too much humidity during the growing process.

The process of growing or "forcing" tulips during the winter months pushes a grower to the limits of possibilities. It is one of the hardest processes of growing cut flowers. Even though it can be upsetting when failures happen, it forces you to learn, explore and try again. It is also the most rewarding! When your succeeding more than failing, you have a cooler full of beautiful cut flowers in the dead of winter.

And in the end......

Success for 2023 Winter Tulip Season!


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