Although bulbs can bloom at just about any time in the growing season, the most popular bulbs are spring bloomers, such as tulips, crocus and hyacinths. These bulbs need to be planted in the fall. After wintering over, they pop up in the spring to greet winter-weary gardeners. Once you have planted the bulbs, they will continue blooming every year. If you notice that they are becoming crowded, dig them up in the fall, separate them and replant the excess in another area of your garden.
Use your shovel to dig up the planting location, about 18 inches deep. Break up any compacted soil. Remove twigs, roots, weeds and rocks. Rake the area even.
Add a 2-inch layer of compost to the top of the soil. Sprinkle phosphate (found at garden centers) over the top. Work the two new ingredients into the soil. Rake again.
Use your trowel to dig a hole to the depth of three times the length of the bulb. The planting depth is different for each type of bulb.
Put a bulb in each hole, pointed side up. Push soil over the bulb.
Water the planted area once. Water the area again when you start to see the sprouts coming through the soil, unless the ground is wet. As soon as the temperatures warm, and the soil begins to dry, water the bulbs weekly.
Give the bulbs a round of bulb fertilizer in the fall. There is special fertilizer for bulbs. If this is not available, choose a fertilizer that has equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The packaging will read something like 10-10-10. All the numbers should be equal.