Tulips for cutting in the veggie beds?
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- May 15, 2008 at 9:04 am #27830
I do not till my raised or in-ground beds, and simply cultivate by hand normally. The raised beds, in particular, stay really friable by nature, so not much cultivating is needed–and that cuts down on weed-seed germination. I even leave my mulch (chopped straw) in place year to year, and just top it up.
I use half each of two of my raised beds for cutting tulips (and one long, wide row in another in-the-ground vegetable area for alliums to cut). I plan around those spaces each year, reserving something for them that goes in pretty late (like your heat-lovers, those solanaceous guys you mention, or beans), when the tulips and alliums are already starting to ripen.
So even though the bulb foliage is still intact, I insert the young tomato or pepper plant right among the withering tulips, or sow a row of bush beans…say late May or June 1. By the time the food crops get going in earnest a month later, the bulb foliage can be dispensed with (I tolerate it no longer than July 4th as a personal rule–that’s when I mow my daffodil drifts and so on).
By July 4, you can use the bed for most anything–more beans, summer greens, whatever you like, and you don’t have to work around foliage (though obviously a crop with a lot of digging involved like potatoes and tulips wouldn’t mix).
I get about three years from cutting tulips grown this way, even more if you don’t mind some erratic performers by then. You could dig in lots more compost when the tulips are changed out. If you want to plant your tulips in a pattern that strategically leaves room for veggies between them, that would be even better I suppose…but I never met a tomato plant that wouldn’t just grow up and over anything and everything given some heat and sunshine.
By the way, the bulbs really enjoy the raised beds’ high-and-dry spot in the winter, I think, and also the generally good drainage all the time. Never suffering from wet feet makes a happy bulb.
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