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How tulip growers ensure flowers are ready for Easter

Crop covers commonly used by produce farmers are becoming popular with outdoor flower growers in cool climates.

“Floating crop covers keep cold temperatures from penetrating the soil but expand, allowing the stems of plants,” said Netherlands native and tulip grower Jeroen Koeman. “The tulips expand as they break the surface, so they get a head start toward early spring maturity.”

Greenhouses accommodate a year-round growing, but Koeman likes the hardiness of outdoor plants. Regardless of how they are grown, flowers take center stage in family gardens, nurseries, and farm stands when spring arrives.

Koeman and his wife, Keriann, own Wicked Tulips, the largest pick-your-own outdoor operation in New England, with farms in Rhode Island and Connecticut. They planted 1.5 million bulbs in the fall.

Getting the bulbs to mature outdoors for early spring is a combination of science, experience, new techniques, and a little luck. The Koemans are experimenting with floating crop covers on some acreage to protect tulips from frost, birds, and insects.


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