Homemade bulb auger

maureen1953(Z4 Central NY)November 4, 2008

I was killing myself trying to get hundreds of large 2 and 3 nosed daffodil bulbs planted on a slope with very stony soil. I wondered about buying a bulb auger, a good one is pretty expensive, and would it work in my stony soil? I mentioned this to my DH and he went down the basement and whipped me up a bulb auger with a 2 1/2" drill bit welded onto a 2 ft section of rebar. He squared off the top of the rebar to fit in the chuck of the portable drill. It worked like a charm! We just finished planting 200 bulbs in 2 hours. He had to work the drill around a bit to get the holes big enough for these monster bulbs. You put the drill on the slowest speed and torque...if he encountered a tough rock, he just put in in another place. I still have about 300 more bulbs to go, but I'm looking forward to it rather than dreading it! Maybe your DH or some other handy person could make one for you too!

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ladychroe(z6 NJ)

How resourceful! And what a lovely and sympathetic husband.

I think I bought mine (auger, not husband) for about $18 or so. I guess that was expensive, but it has saved me so much time. Since I caught MY husband hammering screws into the wall once (he couldn't find the drill- what was he SUPPOSED to do?) I figured it was $18 or nothing! Just be careful that it doesn't dislocate your elbow if it catches on a rock or root. I try to brace it against my knee so it won't twist my arm around.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 10:50AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

I have bought 2 augers but don't use them. They wrench my arm so much it is less strain to just dig the hole. One I ordered online is 3 inches wide. It was a lot more than $18. That is the worst: impossible to control. It jams, it kicks, it hurts. And it doesnÂt even remove the dirt, just pulverizes it in the hole, and I still have to dig it out with a trowel. I bought a narrower diameter one that looks more like a giant drill at the hardware store. That was a little easier to control, but the dirt still stays in the hole when you pull the auger out. I bought a pick mattock to try this year, punch a hole in the ground instead!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 11:47AM
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I must say, with as many as you say you are planting this fall, such power use is probably worth it.
Considering though, when bulb time is nigh, the improving of the area so that the bulbs don't have to be such a bother, should be on the gardener's mind.
Bulbs appreciate not having a hard time to promote its foliage in spring when the ground is yet pretty cool.
I would think a bulb, if encountering a rock or otherwise hard soil to make it through, might ---if its not in the best of shape, give up and not appear like many of its neighbors might. Foliage might appear...yet pay a price of not bearing a good flower.

If we can improve the soil the bulb is put into at planting time, it can I think pay dividends with close to...if not, full 100% appearing.

The bulbs in such hillside, in such hard soil, will have a hard time enough without rocks getting in their way.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 12:29PM
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ladychroe(z6 NJ)

Good point, Jeannie. This year, when I make a hole with the bulb auger, I've been putting the bulb in the bottom and stuffing the hole with a mixture of fallen leaves and the native soil. Don't know if it makes a difference, but I figure the leaves will break down over the winter and, in addition to the 3-4 inches of shredded leaves and then 2" of shredded bark mulch I layer on top, will help to aerate into my hard clay.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 1:28PM
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maureen1953(Z4 Central NY)

At this point I am just anxious to get them planted. I had planned to place them on this hillside, which turned out to have more stony soil than I thought....although the top few inches of soil is loaded with humus, broken down leaves, etc. I will continue to enrich this soil with compost. To improve each planting hole (hundreds!) would have been impossible for me, and I hope for a good show in spring...and to get even better each year as they settle in. Maybe I'll post pics!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 12:26AM
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ladychroe(z6 NJ)

Do! We love pics!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 10:01AM
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