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Grow with KARE: Growing 5 million tulips in Plymouth

Automation allows Len Busch Roses to grow millions of tulips in Minnesota. They gave us a fantastic tip for after you bring home a bunch.

PLYMOUTH, Minn. — We are at Len Busch Roses surrounded by a million tulips. Len Busch will grow five-million tulips this year from Valentine's Day to Mother's Day.

Tulips are a sign of spring that provide a breath of fresh air into yours house. Jake Ziebarth of Len Busch Roses explains to us how an automatic grading machine has revolutionized how the spring staple is grown and harvested. 

After they come in from the semi truck they are planted into individual trays and moved into the rooting cooler where they are watered. This is where the roots really start to come out of the bulbs of the tulips.

From the rooting cooler they are brought out into the green house.

Once they are harvested they are placed on a trolley system that brings them to the grading machine.

The machine removes the bulb. A Len Busch employee places the blooms along a laser line so the machine can cut the stems to an equal length.

The machine counts out ten stems and bundles them, puts them in a sleeve and finally places them into a bucket of water. 

From here they are shipped to retail outlets that you get your tulips from!

Jake's dad has been growing tulips at his home for more than 60 years. He has a trick for keeping your tulip stems standing upright in the vase.

With a sharp knife, poke a hole in the center of the stem of the tulip, right below the bloom. 

The theory is that instead of water flowing straight up into the bloom, it will be directed around from each side to make support for the bloom to stand straight.

In an experiment, it worked for us! 

Skip this trick, of course, if floppy tulips are your goal. 

Upright or cascading over the vase, tulips are a sure sign of spring.

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