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I love tulips and have bought some ready to plant soon; I have always grown them in pots (my garden is small and full!) and because I don't want the bother and expense of buying more compost or using my own small amount, can anyone think of a reason why I can't use the pots and compost where I grew my runner beans and courgettes this year? I realise that I'll probably have to put some grit underneath the bulbs in case they get very wet. Also, is it OK to plant up more veg next year in the same pots and the same compost that the tulips have been in?
The problem with constantly using the same compost repeatedly is that it is obviously short of nutrients-which you have to replace- and you get a build up of pests and diseases
Might work for tulips as the flower embryo is already in the bulb-but after that...........
False economy in my opinion not to replace-I just use old compost as a soil conditioner
I think you need to make your own compost and recycle the old with the new,The bulbs do take a break and like daffodils will "go blind"they will not flower every year if they need to be divided or another thing they are often spent from flowering and the young bulbs have to take over,nothing lives for ever.
Tulips have enough nutrients for one year in their bulbs, so will be OK this year in old compost and flower in the spring. You would need to change the compost after that, and to grow veg in you would need to change the compost for new. Tulips are amazing. When you buy a bunch in the supermarket they have been grown in water! I saw a TV programme where they planted tulip bulbs in water, and cut the flowers for market just six weeks later. Since then I do not worry about how good the compost is for the first year!
But the bulbs that have grown those tulip blooms in water will be discarded as soon as the flowers have been picked.. If you want the bulbs to flower the following season and increase they will need nutrients the previous year.
Thanks, all! That was helpful. I had thought that the compost I was planning to use might be too rich for tulips, because the runners would have left nitrogen in it. I certainly agree that tulips don't need to start off in rich soil, especially if they're going to be discarded the following year. I find it difficult to make a decision on whether to buy new or not each year. I don't like wasting them, but I want them to be utterly their best, too! The profs. seem to be divided on this. When I went to the Eden Project a few years ago, I was surprised to see a mass of them, looking absolutely gorgeous, in the smallest pots you could imagine.
I use fresh tulip bulbs in tubs every winter, but when they've finished flowering and the leaves have died down I plant them out in drifts in the beds of perennials - most of them continue to flower for several years - they may not be quite as splendiferous as they were in the first year, but they still look gorgeous.