An Auger, The Best Purchase of 2018

One of the best purchases I made last year was an auger that I could attach to a cordless drill, a thought that hit me as I was dividing abandoned ‘Grand Primo’ Narcissus I discovered on an abandoned backroad.  Two clumps became 107 bulbs in a matter of minutes, and I wanted to get them in the ground as soon as possible. The auger and drill came out, and the task was completed in under an hour.

Narcissus tazetta  ‘Grand Primo’ is one of the few Narcissus that is very persistent in the deep south. Scapes are adorned with over half a dozen petticoat-shaped flowers. Note other attributes like bright orange pollen and the corona that fades from butter yellow to off-white over time.

Narcissus tazetta ‘Grand Primo’ is one of the few Narcissus that is very persistent in the deep south. Scapes are adorned with over half a dozen petticoat-shaped flowers. Note other attributes like bright orange pollen and the corona that fades from butter yellow to off-white over time.

The ingenious idea was from Thomas Rainer.  We both were presenting at the Speaking of Gardening event in Asheville two years ago, and he mentioned getting one for planting the deep-rooted landscape plugs.

Several months later, I remembered browsing Amazon one night to purchase the thing.  When it came, I tried it out, and I was immediately impressed.  As someone who suffers from carpal tunnel in my wrists, using a trowel over and over again leaves my hand in pain after planting.  Now, I hook the auger up to a cordless drill, zip zip zip, and I’m ready to plant 50 plugs! I find that even the three-inch pot size will easily fit into a shallow excavated hole.

We bought one for school, and the students immediately fell in love with it, too.  I also convinced my parents to get one for planting bulbs.  

The biggest problem I encounter using the auger is roots.  In plain soil, it will go down without a problem, but roots often cause it to jerk around or just stop.  Also, safety note:  I find it best to hold it with both hands.  If you’re concerned about it whipping on you, get one of the two-handled drills.  I would especially recommend that option if you use a corded drill.

I know many advise dividing  Narcissus  once dormant, but I’ve had success moving them in the green. In this image you can see the circular holes made by the auger and my attempts to get the bulbs to the same depth. After sticking them in the hole, I use a hoe to replace the soil back.

I know many advise dividing Narcissus once dormant, but I’ve had success moving them in the green. In this image you can see the circular holes made by the auger and my attempts to get the bulbs to the same depth. After sticking them in the hole, I use a hoe to replace the soil back.