Planting bulbs in the fall creates a gorgeous display of blooms in early spring. Tulips, crocus and daffodils appear with delightful blooms to herald the arrival of warm weather. Planting spring bulbs needs to be timed carefully to allow enough time for the bulb to go through a full cooling period. Bulbs require this cooling period to produce spring buds. The key to planting bulbs in November lies in placing the bulbs when the soil temperature rests at 60 degrees F. Gardeners in hardiness zones 6 and 7 can generally plant spring bulbs in November. Other zones can plant in November as long as you can till the garden soil.
Choose a sunny location for planting spring bulbs with well-drained soil. If the soil needs improvement to encourage better drainage, take care of this chore before planting the bulbs. Mix up to 50 percent peat moss or compost and soil mixture to promote proper drainage.
Create a plan for planting your bulbs. Bulbs look beautiful when planted in masses or when paired with different varieties of flowers. Deciding on the number and style of planting will help with planning the digging of bulb holes.
Use a trowel to dig holes three times as deep at the length of the bulb. For mass plantings, dig a trench or a wide section of soil to speed up the planting process.
Add a 1/4-inch layer of peat moss to the bottom of planting sites. Mix additional peat moss into the loose soil that will be used for filling in around the bulbs. Don't add extra peat moss if you've already amended a heavy soil garden with organic matter.
Plant bulbs with the pointed side up, and allow 3 to 6 inches between bulbs. If you cannot locate the pointed side of the bulb, look for the rounded area indicating dried roots to find the bottom of the bulb. If you still cannot locate the top or bottom of the bulb, place the bulb sideways in the hole. Make sure bulbs do not touch other bulbs in the planting hole.
Pour amended soil into the planting hole until halfway full. Water generously to compress the soil.
Fill in the remaining conditioned soil until the hole reaches level with the surrounding garden surface. Water again deeply to soak the soil around the entire planting area.
Add a 4-inch layer of mulch to insulate the bulbs and to encourage soil retention in the garden.