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Drilling for bulbs? A brighter idea than you'd think.

It's an unlikely tool for planting bulbs. But that didn't deter Mary Putnam of Sacramento from using an electric drill to tackle garden soil that was rock-hard. She used an aptly named 1 1/2-inch spade bit to plant 200 tulip bulbs (see photographs at left and above). New drill bits are designed specifically for this purpose.

These auger-like bits let you easily remove dirt from the hole. The bits drill a 2- to 2 3/4-inch-diameter hole and have shafts ranging from 15 to 24 inches long. They cost from $10 to $40 and are available in some nurseries and by mail through many bulb catalogs. Normally used to drill large holes in wood, the less expensive spade bit can be found in any hardware store for about $5. The only disadvantage is that the bit tends to leave loose dirt in the hole. Either bit will have trouble in rocky soil.
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Date:Oct 1, 1989
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