A Quick Trick for Planting Bulbs

I plant a lot of bulbs. At least 100 every year, often more, occasionally a lot more. And I’ve been doing it for over 25 years. The thought of all my bulbs blooming help me to keep my spirits up during winter and mud season. The light at the end of the tunnel.

Daffodils in my shade garden. I planted these with a shovel last fall. 

By now it’s hard to find a place to plant more bulbs. I remember, in general, where bulbs are going to come up, but it’s tough to know exactly where there is a place where I won’t damage existing bulbs if I start digging. One way to know is to put in plastic tags, another is to plant a grape hyacinths (Muscari spp.) bulb in each group. They send up greenery now, so you can spot them.

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My general approach to planting bulbs is to dig a hole two or three feet wide and plant a lot of daffodils or tulips in it. But this year I’ve tried something else: using an auger. This helps me to dig holes without disturbing perennials or the roots of decorative trees or shrubs the way I would if using a shovel. 

An auger is my new weapon for planting small quantities of bulbs in between plants.

The auger I have is designed for planting bulbs; it makes a hole 3 inches wide and up to 8 inches deep. It needs a good strong cordless drill to drive it. My Milwaukee drill has an 18 volt battery and some serious oomph. It has 2 speeds, and in low speed it has a lot of turning power – which is needed to go down 6 to 8 inches through hard packed soil and sometimes tree roots. You can overheat and damage your drill, so let it cool off if you notice it is getting hot. 

The auger is good for planting a few bulbs in amongst perennials where there is not room for a big planting. One here, one there. The hole is big for my hand to go in and clear soil if needed, and to push the bulb in.

The holes are big enough for my hand to get in them.

I don't know where my auger came from. I got it from Santa Claus a couple of years ago and never used it until recently. I've found them on the internet, and some good garden centers will have them, too. 

 Want to see what is in bloom at my house now? Click here.

Want help in your garden? I make house calls - consultations - to help you plan and improve your gardens. Call me at 603-543-1307 or e-mail me at henry.homeyer@comcast.net 

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Visit my personal website by clicking here  I'm the author of 4 gardening books.  

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