Every year, we receive a flood of questions about tulip bulbs, especially when we post pictures of us harvesting tulips. People often ask us if we can replant those bulbs next year, or if they can buy them from us. We understand the curiosity about the process, so here's an explanation of what we do with the bulbs.
It's important to know that we grow tulips as cut flowers, not as perennials for gardens. This means that we harvest the entire plant, including the bulb, stem, leaves, and future bloom, to ensure that the flowers are fresh, beautiful, and have big blooms. When we harvest a tulip stem, we need to take the leaves too, because they are crucial for the bulb to regrow for the next year. The leaves and stem regenerate and feed the bulb, providing it with the necessary nutrients to grow again.
Over the winter, the large bulb planted in the fall splits into smaller bulbs called daughter bulbs. It can take several years and the perfect conditions for those daughter bulbs to grow into a healthy tulip bulb that is ready for cut flower production. Therefore, we leave it to expert tulip bulb growers in Holland to grow the bulbs for us.
On our farm, we only use the bloom and a few leaves for bouquets, so we snip off the bulb and bottom leaves. If we are not using the blooms right away, but the tulips are ready to be harvested, we store them in our cooler.
So, what happens to the thousands and thousands of tulip bulbs we collect each year? We compost them. Although some people ask to take them home or offer to buy them, the truth is that those bulbs are four or five years away from producing beautiful tulips again. By composting the bulbs, we're making way for new plants and flowers to grow and thrive. It's a natural cycle of renewal and growth that we're happy to be a part of.
It's like baking a delicious cake with all the ingredients, including the eggs. Once you've finished enjoying the cake, you're left with the eggshells, which are no longer useful. You could try to use them again, but they won't produce more eggs for the cake. Similarly, once we've harvested the beautiful tulip blooms, we're left with the bulb, which has served its purpose and won't produce another flower for cut flower production. So, we compost them, just like we would the eggshells. Their nutrients are recycled and contribute to the health of the soil for future plant growth.