Cameron & Rhoda McMaster's

General Cultivation Instructions

The main soil requirement is excellent drainage. Mix loam, compost, coarse sand and composted pine bark in equal quantities. 20 ml general bulb
fertilizer can be added to a 10-litre bucket of mix. For winter-growing bulbs, add an equal portion of really coarse sand, and leave out the fertiliser.
Make sure the drainage holes at the base of the container are large, and place some large pieces of bark or stones (or broken styrofoam packaging to reduce weight) at the bottom of the container, then fill with the mix. We pour
boiling water into the pots to kill off most of the weed seeds. Every grower has a different recipe! A lot depends on whatever is available to put in the mix, and on costs, but do ensure it is a loose coarse mix. One successful grower used broken peach pips (without the kernel) to improve texture for winter growing bulbs. For deciduous bulbs, water the container once after planting, and then not again until a leaf has appeared. Evergreen species need to be kept just slightly moist until established.

Sow seeds in a similar mix with a cupful of palm peat mixed into the top 4 cm, in a box approximately 25 x 35 cm, 12 cm deep. This is a useful size that does not dry out as fast as the smaller containers. Sow seeds in rows and
2-5 mm deep, and put very different species together, to avoid confusion when lifting, such as one row Eucomis, one row Tritonia, one row Arums.  Small stones about 3mm diameter sprinkled on the surface help prevent the seeds being moved around when watering.