Bollenpellen—An Appeeling Job

Discussion in 'Flower Gardening' started by Sjoerd, Jul 30, 2023.

  1. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    upload_2023-7-30_16-39-53.jpeg

    One thing Nederland is known for are tulips. But how are they grown and how do they get to the shelves in the garden centres?

    The bulbs are planted and in the early Spring they bloom. As soon as the fields are remarkable with hectares of colour, they are decapitated, left to grow and strengthen the bulbs and eventually the foliage dies.

    The next step is to harvest the bulbs from the ground. It was once back-breaking work, but now there are machines to do the work.

    The next step is pellen, or peeling.
    882F99AB-E4A0-4360-A141-CECA35CCE9DA.png
    foto taken from the internet

    It was a job typically for school-aged children and sometimes older folks from the region. You would sit at these conveyer bands, remove dirt, plant debris and the outer skin of the bulbs with your thumbs, also small bulblets and smaller than normal bulbs.

    The bulbs that were too small would be planted in the ground again the following season.
    E3AB3D30-031B-4CFE-8F95-A09D379CF95F.jpeg
    Foto taken from the internet.

    The work makes for blisters, soreness and backache; however, there is loud music (Work Vitamins, we call it) on while you work. Lots of cajoling and beer after work on Friday. Everyone has a good time, but the next day you can tell that your preceding day had been anything but inactive.

    *An earlier piece on the tulip fields: https://www.gardenstew.com/threads/bulb-fields-in-the-netherlands.42762/#post-395467
     
  2. marlingardener

    marlingardener Happy

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    School children having beer after work on Friday? Why didn't someone tell me about this when I was a child? I'd have made tracks to the Netherlands!
    Are those bulbs shipped all over the world?
     
  3. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Ha ha ha. Yes those bulbs are indeed shipped all over the world.
    Where I live is one of the areas where the bulbs are grown for export.
     
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  4. Logan

    Logan Strong Ash

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    Thanks for this Sjoerd, last month I already ordered my tulips and hyacinths for the beginning of September.
     
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  5. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    You’re welcome Loggie. Glad to hear that you have already ordered.
     
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  6. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    Thanks for the explanation. Interesting!

    Here, tulips are glorious but tend to peter out after a year or two. I suppose not quite the right conditions in the US?
     
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  7. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Well Cayu— I do not know; however I can tell you that if you leave tulips in the ground and do not lift them at the end of the season they will not survive more than two or three years. I used to lift mine.
     
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  8. Willowisp0801

    Willowisp0801 In Flower

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    That's very interesting, Sjoerd. In Washington State there's a place called Skagit Valley. They have a huge tulip festival every year. I wonder if it's on about the same latitude as you? Another place, Sequim, has a lavender festival. I've been to both and they're very pretty seeing all the lavender and tulips growing. I bet it's beautiful where you live as well.
     
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  9. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    That could indeed be close to the same latitude as us. I know that Norfolk in Britain is close to the same latitude, but I do not know about North America.

    You are right, it is lovely here when the fields are blooming and there are even driving/ bicycling routes to follow to look at the colourful patchwork of fields. I have written about this subject on here a couple of times.

    Lavender is another wonderful thing to see (and smell).
     
  10. Melody Mc.

    Melody Mc. Young Pine

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    I always wondered about this. :) This is a great post Sjoerd.
     
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  11. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Ta Mel, glad you liked this one. Good to see you again.
     
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  12. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    Interesting that the bulbs have to be lifted at the end of the growing season.
     
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  13. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Cayu— I suspect that it has to do with our normally wet climate. I suspect that they simply rot or freeze…but rats and voles eat them as well.
    Lifting dahlia bulbs is another thing that can better be done for safety sake. I lifted mine as well, then decided not to…and they perished that winter.

    So then, I suspect it is our climate here and our “rules” do not necessarily apply elsewhere in the world…even on the gardening complex. I know of two stands of dahlias on the complex that stay in the ground over winter and come back each year.
     
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  14. Logan

    Logan Strong Ash

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    Sjoerd with dahlias if left in the ground it depends on if they get too much wet in winter. On the complex they could have a lot of drainage in that area.
     
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  15. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Loggie, I am sure it is the wetness over here. After all where our complex is was once a morass, you know.
     
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