I'm planting a bunch of bulbs that will bloom in the early spring, things like narcissus, fritillary, and tulips. I'm wondering if I can cover crop over these, since the bed is newly dug and I want to protect the soil over the winter. Perhaps something that would winterkill? Or maybe something low-growing that I can keep as a living mulch once spring comes around? It seems complicated to try to time cutting down a cover crop in the spring before the bulbs bloom.
I would love to hear any suggestions or strategies! I'm in zone 5b. Thanks!
Howdy Sam, welcome to permies. Most of the bulbs that I grow are pretty tough. They seem to come up through almost anything that grows over them. I have some in grass, clover, among other flowers that come up latter. These bulbs have evolved to come up early ,bloom , reproduce, and fade away before most of their competition has a chance to compete. So you can think not only in terms of winter cover but more year round if you would like. Also think about planting other flowers that will grow and bloom in other times of the year so that you have continual blooms.
I am in zone 7 so the the green tops of the bluebells are my winter cover crop. they are planted very thick and when they finish blooming the tops lay down and make the mulch for the summer. Other bulbs come up through them that bloom later then the flowers that reproduce by seed such as calendualas come up and bloom all summer.