Bulb planter?

casi(5)September 20, 2009

Has anyone tried any of the bulb planters? I was thinking of buying one but I can't decide which one would be the best. I have one of the little hand held ones but they don't go deep enough and I'm wanting something a little easier to work with. I like the idea of the kind that attach to the electric drill!

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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I have a heavy duty bulb planter that has a spade length handle on it, and which you use like a spade. As I recall, I got it from White Flower Farm. It's all made of heavy duty metal and will cut down pretty deep in mighty tough ground. I like it, especially if I have a planting buddy, so that one of us digs and one of us plants. I tend to dislike power tools in general, so I am somewhat prejudiced. You need to remember that this tool cuts out a plug that is 8 to l0 inches deep. In my part of the country, that is too deep for most bulbs, so I crumble up part of the plug and mix in some compost or bulb food before putting it in the hole and planting on top.

I have also used the kind that attaches to a drill. There are some things to consider with this. First, depending on where you are planting your bulbs, you may need an extremely long extension cord for your drill. Second, if you are digging tough ground, it can burn your drill up.
Third, you either have to work on your knees, or you have to do alot of fairly deep bending (and pressing), which can be pretty hard on the lower back after awhile. Honestly, I don't think this tool requires any/much less labor than my hand tool, at least not in my clay soil. On the other hand, assuming you already have a drill, this attachment would be considerably less expense than the big spade length tool.

If you're working in reasonably well drained soil, the easiest way to plant bulbs I have found is to use a long skinny hand trowel. Stick the trowel straight down into the ground, pull the earth back, drop in the bulb and push the earth forward. Done!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 12:46PM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

I have used different bulb planters over the years.
bulb planters

Many years ago, I bought a tubular bulb planter. It is easy to use if the soil is relatively moist and loamy. If the soil is clayey, it is very difficult to remove the chunk of soil from the tube.

I bought the other flat red planter a few years later.
It is very good for planting bulbs in tough, uncultivated soil. This planter has also become a favorite heavy duty digging tool. Love it.

I don't like to use a drill bit to plant bulbs, because it usually kills too many earthworms and I always drill into existing bulbs and pulverize them. The drill handle can lash back at me if I drill into clay soil if I don't grip the drill very firmly.

In tight spots, I usually insert a trowel gingerly to pry open the soil then insert a bulb. :-)

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 9:23PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Yes, pitimpanai, that's the tool I have too (the tubular one). I like it for other things too, such as transplanting grass or ground cover plugs. I garden in extremely heavy tight clay, and as long as the soil is somewhat moist, this tool cuts right through.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 1:37PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

That drill bit one is a big waste of time! I used it with a cordless drill first and it burned up the drill and ruined it. Then I tried it with an old corded drill and it worked but was very hard to control, pulling out of my grasp and hurting my hand. When it hits hard ground or clay it stops dead and jams.

But it was not a complete loss. I found it worked pretty well for mixing a big batch of mortar or grout!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 5:50PM
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newbie_in_nj(6b E/Central NJ)

I got a step on planter last year but quickly tossed it aside because it was a real pain to try and get soil plug out of planter.

I end up kneeling on the ground digging individual holes with a long, narrow hand spade. It's even got inches marked on it.

Not recommending it because the back strain resulting isn't pleasant. I should get a walker to haul myself up after crawling along the ground when finished with an area!

Where I'm still trying to figure out just where in the garden bed schemes I can place a number of bulbs where they'll stay relatively dry over summer I'm still digging whole sections, placing bulbs and putting soil back.

Once I get right perennials in right places (ever?) like so many of you it'll be back to carefully digging holes among other things.

Brent & Becky's is sold out of the red bulb planter. Pooh!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 5:26AM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

newbie, White Flower Farm carries it too, but itÂs a lot more expensive than B&B.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 7:58AM
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Wow! I'd say they are higher. Thanks for everyone's input. Now I know what I want for Christmas. That red jobie looks like it would do the trick. I've seen a lot of others made similar but not as sturdy. Guess I'll be down on my knees again this year. I wanted to do some naturalizing and thought how nice it would be to use one of those planters!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 12:05PM
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I like a dibble for small bulbs and tulips if I need to get around other bulbs. The pointed tip slips between bulbs then I go round and round to make a hole.

My favorite hand tool for bulbs is a pointed trowel too! Favorite of all is a flat edge shovel so I can make big swaths, dump in lots of bulbs, then shovel the soil over top.

The bulb tools I have long since forgotten in a corner of the garage: the cylinder that you push into the soil by standing on the feet and holding onto the top handles...its little friend and the one you attach to an electric drill.

We have lots of tree roots and they can send the gardener's shoulder to another county. Plus, the roots go flying along with anything that I forget that still lives under there.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 4:39PM
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