I have two comments re mulches. I told Shirley Pope in Maine (Currier McEwen
named the lovely Siberian iris of the same name in tribute to her) that I was
cutting back on bearded irises because I could not keep up with weeding.
Beardless irises can be mulched and this cuts down on weeding considerably.
Shirley told me that in the last couple of years she has found she can mulch
her bearded irises without rot. She uses buckwheat hulls. She says this
mulch is considerably more expensive than other mulches, but worth it. I am
going to try it out this coming year.
Second mulch item. That wonderful horticulture magazine published by the
Royal Horticultural Society THE GARDEN recently had a small news item:
Researchers at the Univ of PA have found that colored polythene mulches
result in higher crop yields than the black polythene. The yield of
cucumbers with a red mulch was increased by 18 %. Peppers planted through a
yellow or silver mulch produced 22 % more. Tomatoes mulched with brown
polythene produced 15% more. Vegetables were also larger with the various
colors. The one problem was with yellow polythene which attracted various
insect pests (My wife, Suky, told me long ago that yellow anything in the
garden attracts insects...seems she is right!). I know nothing else about
this so can't answer any questions. But I thought this might be useful to
some list members. Clarence Mahan in VA