Trench planting is a quick, easy way to plant large quantities of bulbs, to create a big statement in the garden. Instead of using a bulb planter or spade to plant single bulbs, dig a large hole in the garden, place the bulbs, and bury them. Voila!
Many gardeners meticulously plant bulbs in an exact pattern, making sure the proper colors are coordinated and each bulb is placed just right. We think this is a wonderful way of gardening and love seeing the results, but sometimes there just isn’t enough time or there are hundreds of bulbs involved. This is where trench planting comes in.
Stylistically, flowers like Tulips, Daffodils, and Hyacinths will make a bigger impact when planted in larger swatches, instead of placed in single spots throughout the garden.
First, select your bulb varieties. Mike “The Seed Man” chose to do a trench planting in his front garden with hundreds of Tulip bulbs. You can easily do the same with Daffodils, Hyacinths, Crocus, and other spring-blooming bulbs.
After you have your bulbs, dig a large trench to the depth you need to plant the bulbs. A large shovel should suffice for this step, although if you’re doing smaller trench plantings you could use a spade as well.
Once you’ve dug the hole, drop the bulbs in and arrange them so the correct side is facing up. Typically, the pointy end of the bulb should face upward.
Carefully cover with soil.
Water thoroughly to get rid of any air pockets.
Sit back and wait for a huge burst of color in the spring!
Lay out the bulbs close together, with the pointy sides up. Bulbs thrive when planted under most trees, unless they are very acidic evergreens.
Cover the bulbs back up and give the area a good watering to remove any air pockets. You can cover the area with mulch, or even replace any grass that you may have dug up!
Trench Planting: The Results
Mike planted 500 mixed Tulips in five separate trenches throughout his yard and gardens. With a little help from his daughter Sadie, he managed to plant all of these bulbs in under two hours.
Mike was extremely happy with the results of his fall trench planting. That spring almost every Tulip came up and bloomed, creating an awesome show of color in the front of his home. Neighbors walking by frequently stopped to comment on the gorgeous blooms. Since he planted a variety of Tulip mixtures, he had a nice diversity of shapes, colors, and sizes in his planting.
The hundreds of Tulips bulbs planted en masse also made it easy (and guilt-free) to cut dozens at a time to bring indoors for bouquets.
Plus, since Mike chose mostly Darwin Tulip varieties, which are perennials, they come back year after year.
One of Mike's Tulip trench plantings in bloom.
Try Trench Planting This Fall!
If you’re looking for a quick way to add a huge statement of color to your spring garden, trench planting is the easiest, most efficient way to do it.