The life cycle of a tulip
We import tulip bulbs in large shipping containers from the Netherlands. They get to Canada by way of ocean freightliners. The tulip bulbs arrive at our farm in late September – and we begin planting them in the field at the beginning of October.
During the winter months, the tulip bulbs lay dormant in the field. Their only protection from the elements being the furrowed row of soil and a layer of straw. However, the bulbs are susceptible to damage if planted in a poorly drained field. Which explains why we take great care in protecting our bulbs from unfavourable weather conditions, by monitoring the field drainage, the slope of the land, and choosing the optimum soil type for a successful flower season.
We harvest tulip flowers during the month of April. The flowers are hand picked by a group of dedicated workers before being carefully bunched and packaged for distribution.The flowers that we don’t pick, become the eventual canvas for the brilliant display of color that is Bloom.
Once the tulip flowers have completed their flowering cycle, a specialized piece of farm equipment removes the petals from the stem, which allows the bulb to mature. (Bulb growth continues even after the flower has been picked.) By the second week in May, the tulips have completed their blooming cycle.
Approximately 8 weeks after the flowers have bloomed and the bulbs have matured, we harvest the bulbs. A modified potato harvester digs the bulbs in mid-June, which are then transported by large wagons to the farm. The bulbs are then unloaded via a hopper, then moved through a tank of water which washes away any excess soil. The clean bulbs are then dried, graded and placed in wooden crates. We then store the bulbs in temperature controlled rooms over the summer, waiting to begin the tulip bulb’s next life cycle.