Planting Bulbs in the Fall for a Vibrant New England Spring

As the leaves begin to change colors and the air turns crisp, it’s time to think ahead to the next gardening season. Fall is the perfect time to start planning for a vibrant spring garden in New England. One of the most satisfying ways to usher in the beauty of spring is by planting bulbs such as daffodils, crocuses, and tulips. In this guide, we’ll take you through the steps to ensure your spring garden is a colorful and deer-resistant masterpiece.

Step 1: Selecting Your Bulbs

Visit us in early fall for a stunning array of bulbs for your garden. This is when you’ll find the widest variety and freshest selection. Look for daffodils, crocuses, tulips and more in various colors and sizes to create a visually stunning display.


Step 2: Preparing the Soil

Before planting, take the time to prepare your soil. Bulbs thrive in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Add compost to your garden bed and work it into the soil to create a loose, nutrient-rich environment for your bulbs. This preparation will make it easier for you to plant and ensure your bulbs receive the nutrients they need.

Step 3: Timing is Crucial

While it’s tempting to start planting bulbs immediately, try to exercise a little patience. Wait until late autumn (after the first frost) when rodents are hibernating and the soil has cooled down a bit. This will help protect your freshly planted bulbs from becoming a tasty snack for underground critters.

Step 4: Planting Your Bulbs

Now, it’s time to get your hands dirty. You can either dig individual holes for each blub or dig a larger hole for a mass planting and thrilling spring show! In general, plant daffodils and tulips at a depth of 6 to 8 inches, while crocuses should be planted at around 3 to 4 inches deep. Watch Luc’s tips below for creating a stunning display using a mass planting technique!

Step 5: Fertilize with Espoma Bulb Tone

To give your bulbs a strong start, apply Espoma Bulb Tone when planting. This organic fertilizer is specifically formulated for bulbs and provides essential nutrients to promote healthy growth and vibrant blooms in the spring.

Step 6: Deer and Rabbit Resistance

One of the benefits of planting daffodils is that they are unpalatable to deer and rabbits due to their toxic compounds. To protect your tulips from these garden visitors, consider planting daffodils and tulips together. The presence of daffodils will deter animals from munching on your tulips, ensuring a colorful display come spring.


Step 7: Extend Your Spring Joy

One of the joys of planting a combination of bulbs like crocuses, daffodils, and tulips is the extended bloom time. Crocuses are often the first to emerge, followed by the cheerful daffodils, and finally, the elegant tulips. This sequential flowering will keep your garden in bloom for several weeks, providing continuous beauty and enjoyment.

Step 8: Protecting Against Rabbits in Early Spring

As the snow melts and spring arrives, hungry rabbits may be on the lookout for tender green shoots emerging from your bulbs. To prevent them from nibbling on your plants, use a rabbit repellent like Rabbit Scram. Applying this product around the garden area in early spring will help deter rabbits and protect your emerging foliage.

Planting bulbs in the fall for a stunning spring display in New England is a rewarding endeavor for any gardener. By selecting the right bulbs, timing your planting correctly, and taking steps to protect against rodents and hungry animals, you can ensure a colorful and vibrant garden come spring. So, get out there, prepare your soil, and start planning your bulb garden now for a spectacular spring season ahead!


Planting a Raised Bed Tomato Garden

Did you know that you can enjoy tomatoes on your patio! Watch as Yvonne plants up a raised bed tomato garden in our Winchester store. For a list of some of our favorite small to medium tomato varieties that are perfect for raised beds and containers check out Uncle Mikes Guide to Tomato Patio Gardening!

Feeling inspired to grow your own food? Check out our incredible selection of homegrown veggie starter plants!

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Uncle Mike’s Guide to Tomato Patio Gardening

There’s nothing like harvesting your own fresh tomatoes! Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can still enjoy this delicious summer staple by growing tomatoes in containers.

Important tips for your patio tomato garden:

  • When choosing your container, bigger is always better. The larger the container the better the plant and harvest will be. You’ll also see fewer problems with blossom end rot, lack of water, and overall health from lack of nutrients because more soil will hold more nutrients and water.


  • When choosing your tomato varieties bigger is NOT always better. Try to grow the medium to small size tomatoes instead of the large ones. Large tomato varieties like big boy or beefsteak are less forgiving with lack of water.


  • Always fertilize. Plants in containers use up nutrients more quickly and you’ll need to replace these nutrients by using fertilizer. Uncle Mike plants his tomatoes with an organic granular fertilizer like Espoma Tomato-Tone and adds Neptune’s Harvest throughout the season with every other watering.



  • Tomatoes grown in containers tend to be more susceptible to blossom end rot. Many people don’t realize that blossom end rot is a calcium deficiency not a disease and the cure is calcium, not a fungicide. This makes fertilizing even more important as a preventative step. You could also try adding Espoma Organic Garden Lime or MagiCal for extra calcium. Remember, prevention is better than a cure. It’s best to keep this fertilizer and/or calcium in the soil before you have a problem because if your plants do develop blossom end rot the fruit should picked off and discarded. Don’t wait to feed!


  • Use the proper soil. A typical soilless potting mix could dry out too fast for your tomatoes. Add a little compost to a regular potting mix or use a raised bed mix like Castline Raised Bed Mix or Organic Raised Bed Mix.


Uncle Mike’s Favorite Tomato Varieties for Containers:


Not a generic term but a variety. A dwarf plant with medium size fruit. Great for containers 10 inches in diameter or larger.


Patio tomato

Better Bush

A good dwarf plant with small to medium fruit. Plant in containers that are 10 inches or larger.

Moby Grape

This grape is a determinate variety so the plant won’t get too big and it’s everything you will expect from a sweet grape tomato. Plant in a 10 inch container or larger.


Moby Grape tomato


This is another dwarf plant that stands somewhat vertical and not too wide. The fruit is delicious. Plant in a container 10 inches or larger.

Tiny Tim

A very small plant with small cherry sized fruit. Truly tiny, this one is a great conversation piece as it only gets about 12 in tall! Ideal for a patio table when you have company over. This one can be grown in a very small pot, 6 inches or larger.

Jet Star

Both the plant and the fruit are not too big. Uncle Mike loves this tomato because it’s will be quick to produce nice medium size fruit with a thin skin. It’s also considered to be one of the least acidic tomatoes out there good for pots 12 inches or larger.

Black Krim

This is a nice heirloom variety is a medium-sized plant that produces medium-sized fruit. Purplish in color and very tasty, you can plant it in containers 12 inches or larger. Watch out for heavy watering or rain as they come close to ripening because they crack very easily!


Black Krim tomato



This is medium to large tomato that’s on a determinate vine. If you want to try a large tomato in a container this on is the one to try. It’s crack resistant as well. Use a pot that’s at least 12 inches in diameter.

San Marzano

This is a sauce tomato but most sauce tomatoes are determinate so that means it’s a bush type plant and will tolerate containers. In addition to being great for sauce, these are awesome for salads, salsa, and cooking too!

Celano Patio Grape

This is our first dwarf grape tomato; it’s a semi-determinate hybrid with very sweet fruit. This plant will produce an abundance of grape tomatoes perfect for snacking! Best in containers that are 10 inches or larger.

Little Napoli

A fantastic sauce tomato you can grow right on your patio. Disease resistant, determinate, produces small oblong fruit, delicious in cooking or eating fresh from the vine!


Theoretically, a tomato can be grown in any size pot if you keep the plants watered and fertilized. But following Mike’s recommendations for container sizes will make it easier for you to enjoy the fruits of your labor (and it should mean less labor too!)


Video Inspiration: A Fall Container with Texture

Looking for something unique and different for your planters? We’re loving the subtle color and textures of heather, cabbage and false holly. Add a pop of color with celosia and gaultheria for a fun contrast and a mini pumpkin for extra whimsy! Potted up in a classic terra cotta planter, this look will take you straight through the fall season. Stop in to shop our collection of specialty fall plants unlike anything else!

How To: Cold Tolerant Planters

Looking to create a doorstep planter for the holiday weekend? Stop in to find many cold-tolerant blooms that can be planted outdoors now! See how Julia arranged some of our favorite cool-weather annuals like tulips, hyacinth, nemesia, petunias and more. Our stores are filling up with fresh annuals you can plant outdoors now, and you won’t want to miss our vast selection of beautiful pottery to add a pop of color to welcome your dinner guests!