We would not suggest using this tool to lift bulbs as the root system may be larger than the planter. Damaging the root system can cause the bulb to die. Follow these step-by-step instructions for removing bulbs from the ground without damaging them so you can successfully store them for replanting later. 1.Push a garden fork into the soil around the periphery of the bulbs and pry up gently on all sides. Some bulbs are buried up to 8 inches below the surface, so it may take some work to loosen the soil to an adequate depth. The goal is to lift the bulbs to the surface without cutting into them, so it's usually best to sift through the loose soil with your hands to find them all. You could also use a spade, but you are more likely to cut into a bulb this way. 2.Use garden scissors to trim off the roots and any remaining foliage. 3.Rub off the loose soil by hand and then clean the bulbs with a garden hose. With large quantities of bulbs, it's easier if you spread them on a screen made of hardware cloth so the water can drip through. Or, you can place them in a bucket of water and loosen the caked soil by hand if needed. You can also gently brush off any dried "skin" on the surface of the bulb. Removing the dirt, roots, and outer skin of the bulb helps prevent the bulbs from rotting while they are in storage. Throw away any bulbs that are damaged or diseased. Soft bulbs should not be saved. 4.Divide small bulbs, also called offsets, from the larger bulbs by gently pulling them apart. If you replant them next year, they will grow larger. Most offsets need two or three seasons of growth before they are mature enough to bloom. 5.Spread the bulbs far enough apart on a drying rack so that no bulb touches another one. A baker's cooling rack, some hardware cloth nailed to a square of 2" x 4" board, or an old window screen set on blocks all make decent drying racks. Let the bulbs dry for a day or two in a well-ventilated area and make sure they don't freeze. 6.Store the bulbs in a cool, dry location. The ideal storage space maintains a steady temperature of about 45°, and many gardeners store bulbs in an unheated basement. You can place bulbs in burlap bags, net produce bags, or even old pantyhose and hang them from the ceiling so they have good air circulation and won't become moldy. Alternatively, you can layer them in dry peat moss, vermiculite or clean, dry sand in a paper bag or a cardboard box. 7.Check the bulbs occasionally over the winter and throw out any that have become soft or moldy. Don't worry if they're shriveled and dry. They'll be ready to plant in the spring.
2 1/2 inches