Tulip-Forcing Trial and Error

The past few months have been a big learning experience for me in growing tulips in crates for the second time ever. For one, my focus on the crate-grown tulips has been..... less than stellar. I've missed planting deadlines, I've missed ordering things on time, I've ordered the wrong types of soil, I've missed watering on time, I've had trouble with temperature controls and disease. The list goes on.

The biggest challenge I've had is the fact that all this responsibility lies on me. And I'm not complaining, but its a lot. I'm not the most organized person, so just following general deadlines is a big enough challenge. And then there's making all the purchasing decisions on top of that. It is extremely intimidating to spend a large chunk of money when there is absolutely no guarantee that I will get any of it back. So many things can go wrong with growing tulips this way, and therefore, a lot of money can be lost. Part of the missed deadlines for ordering were solely based on my fear of ordering them! 

The second biggest challenge has been the time I've had to focus on them this year. I'm a dreamer. For better or worse, I tend to have a lot of ideas going on at once. I am working on remodeling our house, adding built-ins, shelving, etc. And I mean actually building these things and installing them. I have dragged these little projects on and on and on since we moved into this house, and we are all tired of living with half-built things. So a lot of my attention needed to be switched to that. And I'm still far from being done.   

And my two oldest children started attending school this year (vs. homeschooling). And although it would seem that that would give me more time, it has actually been much more time-consuming than homeschool. The homework, the driving, and mostly the ILLNESSES that they have had all year has been overwhelming. All the germs that were missed from preschool-2nd grade have been passed on to them in this one year. It's been quite the learning curve for us all. I've actually felt like I am in school again right along with them! 

And on top of those things, I tried to change a *few* too many variables in my growing routine this year. Instead of sticking with the very smart method of changing one thing at a time to see how that changes everything else, I changed several. NOT smart. Part of the changes were not my choice, and just based on the ever-present and far reaching challenges that COVID brought to us all. Another part were new methods (hydroponics), different growing spaces (cooler), different growing mediums (soils), that I wanted to try. And like I said, I'm dreamer. And like I said, all these decisions lie upon me. So, instead of reeling myself in, I went ahead and dreamed, made a lot of decisions, and then tried them all at once. I'm kind of amazed that I actually have tulips growing! 

Alas, nature has shown its kindness and resiliency to me. Despite my challenges, I have been gifted with the first of many gorgeous crate and hydro-tray grown tulips this week. They are an absolute feast for my very sore eyes. 

Hydroponic Tulips