You can purchase bulbs that will produce spring flowers and others that will come up in the fall. Tulips, daffodils and grape hyacinths are some of the more popular bulbs. Bulbs should be purchased fresh and when you are ready to plant. Check for soft spots, mold or bruising to make sure you are only purchasing healthy bulbs. The larger ones will produce bigger flowers and sooner. Some bulbs that are very small may not bloom the season you plant them.
Till compost, bonemeal and fertilizer into the soil to a depth of 12 to 18 inches about one month before planting. The amounts of the amendments will depend on the size of the bed you are preparing. The flower bed should not be in an area that holds water. Plan to plant the bulbs in the fall.
Dig holes to a depth of 2 1/2 times the diameter of the bulb. Place the bulbs in the holes and fill each halfway with soil. Bulbs should be placed with the pointy side facing upward. Water thoroughly to settle the soil around the bulb and continue to fill until the soil is level with the surrounding ground. Spacing will depend on the individual bulb.
Cover the ground or bed with a 3-inch layer of dried leaf mulch. This will help to retain the moisture and keep weeds from growing in the bed while you are waiting for the spring temperatures to become warmer and steady.
Remove the mulch when all chance of frost is over for the spring. Water the bed thoroughly to encourage bulbs to start to sprout if they haven't already. Irrigation will be needed if there is little or no rain during the spring.