fall bulb planting.

It seems as though my Sunday morning garden posts aren’t terribly popular so far, so I’ve decided to re-evaluate.  I’m guessing that many of you spend time with family and friends on Sunday’s, rather than reading blogs.  In addition, I’m finding it a little challenging to pull together four blog posts every week.  It’s really cutting into my actual gardening and/or painting time!

I’m not ready to give up garden posts entirely though, even though gardening season is going to be wrapping up here soon.  So I may throw in a few here and there on a weekday rather than waiting until Sunday.

If any of you want to provide feedback on that, feel free to leave me a comment.

That bring me to today’s post, where I want to share a huge q tip on fall bulb planting!

Over the past five years or so, we’ve developed a bit of a deer problem in our garden.  They like to come and munch on my tulips as they come up in the spring.  Add to that how stressed and busy I was during my last several years of working a day job, and you might understand why I’d pretty much given up on bulb planting.

But this past spring a bunch of tulips came up in my garden that I hadn’t seen in years.

I’d forgotten how fabulous it is to see these early flowers in the garden after a long winter.

Now that I have a little more time on my hands, I decided to do some more significant fall bulb planting.  Back in July I placed an online order with Longfield Gardens for tulips, daffodils and three varieties of allium, and my order arrived this week!

It was perfect timing because we had some gloriously sunny days, and some much cooler temps at night.

You’ll know it’s a good time to plant tulips when you’ve already had your first light frost (ours was on Tuesday) and your nighttime temperatures are between 40 to 50 degrees. In my zone 4 garden, that’s usually late September to early November.  I have to admit, I may have jumped the gun slightly here.  I probably should have waited another couple of weeks to plant my bulbs.  But it’s so much more pleasant to plant bulbs when it’s 60 degrees and sunny rather than 40 degrees and blustery, right?

I had a lot to plant, so I thought it best to strike while the iron was hot.

At this point you might be wondering, what is the huge q tip?

Today’s q tip; fall bulb planting is SO much easier with a garden auger!

OK, so I don’t actually own a garden auger, but my neighbor nnK got one for Christmas and was generous enough to share it with me.

This post isn’t sponsored, and I am far from being any kind of an expert on power tools.  So I can’t really help you figure out what brand to buy or any of that stuff.

However, I will say that you might be tempted to think you want a smaller auger for planting bulbs.  And sure, if you are someone who puts each bulb in its own hole, each spaced precisely 4″ apart like the directions say, then you might be happy with the smaller auger.

But I used that big honkin’ 6″ one shown above.  I like to plant tulips and daffodils in clumps.  They look so much more natural that way.

Depending on the bulb size (those above are daffodil bulbs that were quite large), I can get 4 to 6 bulbs in each 6″ wide hole made with the bigger auger.

The process is super simple.  Dig the hole to the appropriate depth with the auger (one thing to note, the one I used is quite heavy, so bear that in mind).  Add some bulb tone to the hole …

Plop in your bulbs, pointy side up, then cover them back up.  Water them in well, and you’re done.  Easy peasy.

And hopefully next spring I’ll have lots of lovely tulips and daffodils.

And I won’t have to buy so many to stage my photos!

How about you?  Are you going to be planting any bulbs this fall?  Or have you ever used a garden auger?  Leave a comment and let us know!

20 thoughts on “fall bulb planting.

  1. Thanks for the tips…..lots of critters have eaten my bulbs each year so I stopped planting them and yes every year a stray daffodil pops up or a tulip. Daffodils were native in Scotland and they self propgated amongst the bluebells so I never had to plant bulbs there. Here in Canada bulbs are not as prolific and I have never had great success getting the display I want.


    1. Those darn critters! I may have some trouble with squirrels digging up my bulbs too, I’m going to try to keep an eye on that. As for those bluebells, I saw them when we were in Scotland in 2017 (here’s my post about that). They were so lovely! I didn’t know that they also had daffodils, how perfect!


      1. Pointy side up? Wish someone had told me that years ago when I tried planting some. Apparently, I had planted them upsidedown…never did get any blooms. I did not inherit my Mom’s green thumb, but love someone else’s efforts!


      2. Theoretically, even if you plant them upside down, tulips will still grow. They just have an easier time of it if you plant them the right way around 😉 Maybe voles ate your tulips Terri!


  2. Now you have inspired me to buy bulbs again and start over! We also have deer that eat my flowers/shrubs in the front of our house. But, thankfully our backyard is fenced. I am going to buy a garden auger as you suggested. As I age it’s getting to be more “work” and less fun when planting. I hope to bring my enjoyment back to gardening. Thank you for your tips!


  3. Yes! Bulbs are going in the ground this weekend. Daffodils abound on our property, so I’m concentrating on tulips this fall. Your post gives inspiration to paint a tool carrier mouldering in the garage. I think a creamy white with transfers would show case all the lovely colors nicely…Thank you!
    I enjoy your garden posts. Perhaps one every other week?


  4. I have lots of daffodils and they do well. I’ve had tulips which I love. The moles ate them so last spring no tulips. ☹️ I need to figure out how to plant so the moles can’t get to them. Ive never used an auger. Looks cool!


    1. So, after a quick little research, I’m guessing you have voles rather than moles. Moles are carnivores (they eat insects, grubs and worms). You probably have voles though, which do eat tulip bulbs. And apparently voles love tulip bulbs, but don’t really care for daffodil or allium bulbs (thank goodness, I planted a bunch of those!). One possible option is to add gravel or grit to your hole while planting tulip bulbs to discourage the voles from chewing past the grit. Another more dramatic version is to dig a 6″ trench all the way around your tulip bed and fill it with gravel. That sounds like a lot of work. Another option? Get a cat 😉 Our Lucy has done a good job of keeping the vole population somewhat under control in my garden.


  5. I truly enjoy your gardening blogs. Not only do you have a beautiful garden, your tips have helped me to plant the right plants in the right locations in mine. I’ve never planted bulbs before even though I love the flowers but our ground is so hard, I didn’t want to deal with digging holes for them. However, I’m going to check into the auger and give that a try. Thanks for the great tip! By the way, I would read your gardening blogs any day of the week!


  6. I love your gardening Sundays. You have such wonderful ideas and are so gardening savvy. Because of all your Hosta pictures and advise, I decided to give Hostas a try. Now I have a lovely shade garden. There’s a lot of us Sunday gardeners out there. Thank you for your posts


  7. I love your gardening posts, whether you do them on Sundays or another day. Please keep them up! We’ve always had trouble with squirrels but the last couple of years, the rabbits have decimated my garden. But as any good gardener knows, there is always next year!


    1. Those wascally wabbits! I have quite a lot of rabbits in my garden too. I’ll walk out at dusk and they’ll be calmly munching away on something. One ran off the other day with a hosta flower hanging from its mouth like it was a flamenco dancer. I do plan to spray my tulips with some sort of critter deterrent next spring.


  8. Oh my your bulb information is greatly appreciated. I am looking at planting tulips and daffodils next fall and have no clue what to do, until I read your post today. The auger sounds like the perfect tool to me. Bet my husband will love to do that part of the planting processes and then I can do the planting. Thank you, thank you, thank you! BTW, I read your Sunday garden posts every single week. Well to be honest, I read every single one of your posts. Thanks for all you share with us!!


    1. Your husband will love the auger! And that part goes so fast he’ll hardly be able to complain about having to help in the garden (or wait, is it just Mr. Q that feels that way?). Thanks for your comment Deborah!


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