Bulbs to force in the greenhouse can be brought in now from the pit where they were buried if you planted “prepared” bulbs. Ordinary bulbs should be left for another two weeks or more so that they can build up a stronger root system. Put the bulbs into the dark for a week to compel them to make longer growth. Greenhouse owners create dark areas to put the plants in the darkness. This also helps hold the warmth that encourages faster growth.
Give hyacinths the light when three inches high and tulips when they are five inches. The first lot of narcissus can be treated in a similar manner, although later batches may be put on top of the bench in the light. Bring in a few pans at a time so that there will be a continuous succession of bloom. Forcing bulbs requires lots of water to build up good stems and a seeding of liquid food is a good idea. When they show their flower buds, finish them off in a cool house.
Lily-of-the-valley forces very nicely and takes about four weeks from time of planting. Do not attempt to force pips from your own yard. The results will be unsatisfactory. Buy the pips from a reliable store – the best pips come from Germany. The pips force in any kind of medium that will hold water, such as sphagnum moss, sand, vermiculite or soil. Plant with the top of the pips showing and place them under the bench to start them quickly. When there is five or six inches of growth bring them into the light. Water copiously.
Amaryllis bulbs are potted in December. Plant only one bulb in each pot. Five- or 6-inch pots are large enough. Pot firmly leaving one-half of the bulb exposed in three parts screened soil, two parts humus and one part cow manure. Established amaryllis should have the top inch or so of soil around the bulb scraped away and replaced with a good compost soil to which bone-meal has been added at the rate of a handful to each half dozen pots.
Easter Lillies can be planted this month. There are several types that flower well 100 days from planting in an 80-degree house. Pot them into 5-inch pots and place them under the bench until they make two or three inches of growth. Then they go on top of the bench in full light. Water sparingly until growth starts in earnest. Then water heavily.